10 animals with long claws that will surprise you

10 animals with long claws that will surprise you

Claws are one of the primary parts of the animal body. Claws not only help them to defend themselves but are also important for feeding and survival.

Long, sharp, and large claws attract a lot of attention. They are used by carnivorous animals to catch and hold their prey. Whereas, herbivores generally use their claws for self-defence, grooming, digging, as well as climbing trees.

Surprisingly, the animal with the longest claws has now been extinct for almost 75 million years now.

The animal with the longest claws of all time is the Therizinosaurus. Also known as the Scythe lizard, Therizinosauras had claws that could reach up to 36 inches long.

Therizinosaurus with long claws

Belonging to the dinosaur family, therizinosaurus were herbivore reptiles, with claws protruding from their front legs. They used their long claws to defend themselves from their predators, and to hold on to the typical vegetation in their habitat, making it easier for them to eat.

Therizinosaurus were found by advanced scientific and fossil research. They had the longest claws as compared to any prehistoric specimen.

In 2013, 17 clutches of dinosaur eggs were found in the Gobi desert. After in-depth research by the Kobayashi University, it was concluded that they were laid by the therizinosaurus millions of years ago.

Here are a few animals with long claws, which will surprise you.

1. Giant Armadillo

The animal with the longest claws currently alive in the animal kingdom is the Giant Armadillo. It is 3 feet long and has claws measuring nearly about 8 inches. Their claws are about 22% of their body length, which is probably the longest claw-to-body ratio of any animal.

Giant Armadillo

Armadillos are long-clawed animals which belong to the central or south America. These insect-eating species, generally use their claws to dig into the earth’s surface and create burrows.

These burrows help them protect themselves from predators and hunters. Giant Armadillos are also known to use their claws to scare away their predators. 

The largest living species of the armadillo, the Giant armadillo is dark brown, which helps him camouflage with the surface of the earth. They use their front claws to dig for prey and open up termite mounds. Their diet mainly consists of termites, worms, ants, and spiders.

However, these insect-eating species have seen a huge decline in their population in recent years. According to The Guardian, scientists believe the populations of giant armadillos have probably fallen by at least 30% in the last 25 years. 

2. Giant Anteater

These toothless species are among the animals with long claws in the kingdom. Giant Anteaters are long bushy-tailed animals that have claws reaching up to 6 inches in length.

Giant Anteater

Anteaters have a long tongue that can catch hundreds of termites and ants at a time. They have five short claws and three long ones. They use their claws to dig up the surface of the earth and to tear apart anthills and termite nests.

Giant anteaters are strong creatures and fierce fighters. Their claws represent 6% of their total body length. They use their claws to survive and defend themselves against predators.

When attacked, a giant anteater can even take down a jaguar. They walk on their fists with their claws curled underneath to prevent its wear and tear.

Giant anteaters have become a vulnerable species, with their population decreasing every year. Scientists believe that there only 5,000 individuals left in the wild.

3. Cassowary

Cassowaries are three-toed species that have the longest claws in the bird kingdom. With claws reaching up to 5 inches in length, the cassowary is one of the most dangerous birds in the world.


Each of their 3 toed foot has a dagger-like claw on the inner toe. Cassowaries have strong and sharp claws which they use as weapons. 

Cassowaries are exotic birds, which are capable of inflicting lethal wounds with their sharp and long claws. Their claws represent 6.4% of their total body length. These strikingly beautiful birds use their long claws to defend themselves from predators and hunters.

Cassowaries are close to becoming endangered due to the loss of their habitat. There are less than 4,600 of these exotic birds left in the entire world.

4. Sloth

Sloths are three-toed animals with long claws, that are strong enough to climb trees. They have curved, sharp claws that can reach up to 4 inches in length.


Sloths live on trees, and their long claws help them hang upside down from branches, without much effort. They also use their long claws to drag themselves along the ground, as sloths cannot walk. 

Sloth is the slowest animal in the world with a disproportionate body structure. Their arms are almost twice the size of their legs. Their claws represent 14% of their total body length.

Sloths use their sharp claws to defend themselves from their predators. Some of the sloth species are critically endangered with a rapidly declining population. The Pygmy sloth, which was discovered in 2001, has only 3200 individuals left.

5. Harpy Eagle

The harpy eagle is the largest raptor found in central and north America. Their claws measure up to 4 inches. These birds have massive and strong claws which they use for grabbing their prey. They are the second-longest clawed species in the bird kingdom.

Harpy Eagle

One of the largest and the most powerful eagle, the harpy eagles use their feet to snatch their prey from the trees. They have an extra-long claw at the back of their feet which they use for stabbing and killing their prey. Their claws represent about 7% of their total body length.

Harpy eagle’s claws are much more powerful than a Rottweiler’s jaw. They use their strong and powerful feet to make a balanced landing while catching their prey.

Harpy eagles are a near-threatened species. According to researchers, there are less than 50,000 individuals left in the wild.

6. Grizzly Bear

Grizzly bears are massive animals with long claws which act as an all-purpose tool. Their claws can reach up to 4 inches in length. Grizzly bears have straight claws that are dexterous and are capable of manipulating small objects.

Grizzly Bear

Grizzly bears also use their claws to defend themselves and fight with other bears and animals. Their long claws help them dig for roots and scoop out hard terrain to construct dens.

Grizzly bears are one of the world’s deadliest mammals. They use their claws to grip salmon from rivers and rip apart old tree stumps for insects. Their claws represent 5% of their total body length.

Grizzly bears always keep their claws extended, even when they are not in use. Also known as the North American Brown bear, the population of grizzly bears is declining every year. There are less than 55,000 grizzly bears left in the world.

7. Golden Eagle

Golden eagles are one of the best-known birds of prey, and are one of the animals with long claws. Their claws measure up to 2.5 inches, which the golden eagles use to snatch their prey while flying. Their strong feet help them grip their prey for an extended period.

Golden Eagle

Golden eagles are the third longest-clawed species in the bird kingdom. The longest claw is the hind claw which helps in stabbing their prey. They are one of the most spectacular birds in the northern hemisphere and are widely distributed all over the area.

Golden eagles have long and straight claws which are much powerful than other eagles. Their claws represent 6.4% of their total body length.

They are one of the largest North-American birds, with strong and massive claws. According to researchers, there are about 170,000 to 250,000 golden eagles left in the world. 

8. Badger

Badgers are nocturnal animals that have strong limbs and sharp claws. Their claws that can reach up to 1.75 inches in length.  Badgers have five toes on each foot, and four of the toes have exceptionally long claws.


Badgers live under the surface of the earth and use their long and strong claws mainly for digging. They can use their claws to dig both in forward as well as in the backward direction.

The fastest digging animal on the planet, badgers are strong animals and can take down their predators when attacked. They defend themselves by using their long claws and digging up holes deep enough to hide.

Badger’s claws represent 15% of their total body length. These carnivorous animals have sharp teeth to hunt down prairie dogs, hedgehogs, and mice.

Badgers have had a stable population for quite a few years. They are listed under the Least Concern category by the IUCN. According to researchers, there are more than 562,000 badgers left in the world.

9. African Lion

African lions are strong-built species and are animals with long claws. They have retractable claws, which can measure up to 1.49 inches.

African Lion

African lions were found in most parts of Africa, Asia, and Europe. They have five toes in the front paw, and four in the back. They extend their sharp claws to hunt and grab their prey. 

Their claws are made of keratin and can be drawn back inside under the fur, where the lions keep it hidden. African lions sharpen their claws by rubbing them against trees. This keeps them pointy and razor-sharp.

The African lions have now disappeared from 94% of their natural habitat. They can now only be found in the Sub-Saharan region of Africa. They have been listed as a vulnerable species by the IUCN, with only 20,000 individuals left in the wild. 

10. Great Horned Owl

The great horned owl is one of the largest and the most common owls found in America. They have strong and long claws, also known as talons. They have talons that can grow as long as 0.5 inch.

Great Horned Owl

Great horned owls are one of the deadliest predators. Along with their keen eyesight and excellent hearing skills, their strong claws help them to catch and grab their prey.

They launch their talons when they are just a few inches away from their prey. These talons can exert a force of up to 28.7 pounds, which is enough to cause serious damage to their prey. This makes it impossible to escape once they are gripped by the great horned owls.

Along with sharp, strong talons, great horned owls also have thick, strong feet. They have a pointed edge and a rough surface so that their prey cannot get away easily. 

Different animals in the animal kingdom use their claws for different purposes. While some use them for catching their prey other animals use them for digging up holes in the earth’s surface. Be it claws, legs, or eyelashes, each part of the animal body helps them survive in the wild.

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