What is the biggest animal in the world?
Whenever we think about the biggest animal in the world, the first thought that strikes our mind are dinosaurs. Right? Well, they were not even close in the race. The biggest animal to inhabit our planet is fortunately still alive, and almost double the size of a dinosaur. So, what is the biggest animal in the world?
The Antarctic Blue Whale is the biggest animal in the world measuring up to 105 feet and weighing 400,000 pounds. That is approximately the weight of 33 elephants. These huge animals are even the loudest animals on the earth and are louder than a jet engine. Blue whales have a heart the size of a small car and can eat 8,000 pounds of fish every day.
The heaviest animals on the planet, the Blue whales are native to Antarctica and migrate between different oceans during the summer and winter months. They are highly mobile species and are usually referred to as ‘hidden giants’. They have a long, slender body that is somewhat grayish-blue in color. Once found in almost all of the oceans around the world, the Blue whales were hunted to the point of extinction. There was almost a 90% decrease in their population in the last century, making them a critically endangered species. There are around 25,000 blue whales left on the entire planet.
There are other species in the animal kingdom that are not far behind the Antarctic Blue whales. Here are some of the biggest animals in the world:
1. Colossal squid
The largest squid species, the colossal squids are native to Antarctica. These largest invertebrates are the second biggest animal in the world measuring up to 46 feet and can weigh as much as 1,500 pounds. These very large deep-sea predators eat large and small fishes as well as other squids. Colossal squids have long tentacles that are covered with suckers that help them in capturing their prey and also to fight off their predators.
Also known as the Giant Cranch Squid, the Colossal squid can be found in the Southern ocean, ranging from South America to New Zealand. They are one of the rarest species and were discovered in the early 20th century. They are ambush predators and trap their prey by their strength and speed. Researchers have very little information about these deep-sea creatures and their behavior. The first largest live colossal squid was captured in 2007.
The largest member of the dolphin family, the Orcas are toothed mammals. They can grow up to 32 feet and can weigh as much as 12,000 pounds. These massive creatures sit on top of the food chain and have a diverse diet. They are apex predators which means that no animal on the entire planet preys on them. Orcas’ diet includes a variety of fishes, seals, squids, dolphins, and they are even known to attack whales. They are the world’s most powerful predator and can be recognized by their distinctive white and black color.
Also known as Killer whales, the Orcas are native to the Pacific Ocean. They are highly intelligent and social creatures, hunting in a group of at least 40 individuals. They use distinct accents and vocalizations to communicate with their family group. Orcas can be found in almost all oceans, but are abundant in colder waters of Alaska, Antarctica, and Norway. There are at least 50,000 Orcas all over the world.
3. Asian Elephant
The biggest living land animal on the planet, the Asian elephant grows up to 22.3 feet and can weigh almost 8800 pounds. These massive creatures can be easily distinguished by their smaller and rounded ears. Asian elephants are native to Southeast Asia and India. They spend most of their time grazing on grass, but their diet also includes tree barks, small stems, leaves, sugarcane, rice, and bananas. You will always find them near a source of freshwater, as drinking at least once a day is an essential part of their routine.
Asian Elephants are social creatures and always live in a group of six to seven members. They are one of the most intelligent animals on Earth, demonstrating a range of behaviors including self-awareness, compassion, and the ability to use tools. They can be found in grasslands, tropical forests, scrublands, and semi-evergreen forests. Asian elephants have seen a 50% decline in their population in the last 75 years. They have been listed as endangered species in the IUCN Red List, since 1986. There are only 20,000 Asian Elephants left in the wild.
4. Saltwater Crocodile
The largest living reptile, the Saltwater crocodiles grow to a length of up to 20.2 feet, weighing almost 2900 pounds. These deadly predators are capable of eating a human and sits on top of the food chain. They have extremely powerful jaws and the strongest bite in the animal kingdom. They are known to drown their prey and swallow them whole. Saltwater crocodiles can feed on anything they get their jaws on including sharks, fishes, wild boars, water buffaloes, monkeys, or other reptiles. They are native to the saltwater habitats of Australia.
Also known as Salties, the Saltwater Crocodile are excellent swimmers and can spend days and even weeks at sea, swimming for hundreds of miles. They are very well adapted to saltwater and freshwater as well and can stay underwater for more than an hour. Saltwater crocodiles are social animals and are seen communicating using different sounds. They can be found across India’s east coast, Southeast Asia, northern Australia, and Micronesia. Even though Saltwater Crocodiles are apex predators, they are threatened by illegal hunting and habitat loss.
These large mammals are native to the Sub-Saharan region of Africa. The hippopotamus is one of the top contenders for the biggest animal in the world due to their barrel-shaped torsos. They can grow up to 17 feet, weighing almost 3,970 pounds. They can be easily recognized by their columnar legs, large size, and nearly hairless body. Hippos spend most of their day submerged in lakes and rivers to keep their massive body cool. They are good swimmers and can stay underwater for up to 5 minutes. They are also one of the heaviest land animals on the planet.
Also known as the ‘river horse’, the Hippopotamus is a herbivorous mammal that emerges at dusk to graze on soft grasses and fallen fruit. Despite their massive stocky structure and short legs, they are capable of running 19 mph. Hippos are one of the most dangerous animals in the world, with jaws powerful enough to bite a canoe in half in a single snap. They were once found all over Europe and North America. However due to illegal hunting and habitat loss they were listed as a vulnerable species by the IUCN in 2006. There are around 125,000 hippos left in the wild.
6. White Rhinoceros
The largest living species of rhinoceros, the White Rhinocerous is native to Africa. They are one of the top contenders of the biggest animal in the world and are the third largest land animal. They can grow up to 13 feet big, and weigh almost as much as 7,200 pounds. These two-horned animals are grazers, and their diet mainly consists of soft grass. They have a squared upper lip that is adapted for feeding on grasses. Along with a squared lip, white rhinos have a longer skull and a less defined forehead.
White rhinoceros are the most social of all the rhino species, traveling in a group of at least 14 individuals. They have two different subspecies, living in two different regions of Africa. The Southern White Rhinocerous can be found in long and short grass savannas of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Kenya. They are one of the most popular species of rhinos. The Northern White Rhinocerous was once found in several countries of east and central Africa. They are now one of the rarest animals on the planet, that are listed as critically endangered by the IUCN. As of March 2018, only 2 female white rhinos are left on the entire planet living in a conservancy in Kenya.
7. Komodo Dragon
The largest living species of the lizard, the Komodo Dragons are native to Indonesia. They can measure up to 10.3 feet and weigh almost 330 pounds. Komodo dragons are also the world’s heaviest lizards. As a result of their massive size, they dominate the islands they live and eat almost anything they like. Their diet can include anything from invertebrates to a large water buffalo. They hunt and ambush their prey using their sharp claws and shark-like teeth. Komodo Dragons can even fatally attack humans. They also have venom glands, with toxins poisonous enough to lower the blood pressure in their prey and induce shock. They can eat 80% of their body weight in a single feeding.
Komodo dragons have a long tail and a strong, sturdy neck. They were first discovered in 1910 by a group of European scientists. These large lizards, surprisingly, can run at a speed of 13 mph. Komodo dragons can reproduce asexually, an advantage bestowed on them by evolution. However, this reproduction process only results in sons. They can be found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Flores, Gili Motang, and Rinca. Komodo dragons are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN.
8. Polar Bear
The biggest bear in the world, the polar bear is a symbol of the strength of the Arctic. These massive creatures can grow up to 10 feet, weighing almost around 1,500 pounds. They are native to the Arctic circle. Polar Bears are strong swimmers, swimming hundreds of miles from land. Their strong, large front paws are slightly webbed helping them to paddle through the water. They spend most of their life in and around the ocean and are also referred to as sea bears. They have a water repellent coat and a thick layer of body fat to insulate them from ice-cold water ad air.
Polar bears are marine mammals, living in one of the planet’s coldest environments. They have fur growing on the bottom of their paws to protect against cold surfaces. They also give them a good grip on ice. They have pure white fur, and black skin underneath. The white fur helps them camouflage in ice, and the black skin soaks most of the sun’s warm rays. Polar bears spend half of their time hunting for food. Their diet mostly includes ringed and bearded seals. Polar bears can be found north of the Arctic circle, Russia, Canada, Alaska, and Greenland. The Polar bears were listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN in 2008. There are around 26,000 polar bears left on the entire planet.
The largest bird in the world, the Ostrich is native to Africa. These big, flightless birds can grow up to 9 feet and weighs more than 320 pounds. The ostrich has quite a few records on its name, including the fastest bird on land, and can run as fast as 43 mph. They have long, thick, and powerful legs adapted to cover longer distances with less effort. Ostriches lay the largest eggs of any land animal. They also have the largest eye of any land animal with long, beautiful eyelashes.
Also known as the ‘Camel bird’, the Ostrich has a long neck, prominent eyes, and a bumpy walk. Similar to camels, Ostriches can survive high temperatures and can live without water for longer periods. They are the heaviest living bird on the entire planet. They are social birds and live in a group of 10-20 individuals. Ostriches are omnivores and their diet includes leaves, roots, seeds, insects, lizards, snakes, and small rodents. These large birds are powerful enough to kill predators like lions and even humans. Ostriches can be found in savannas and desert regions of Africa.
10. Cape Buffalo
One of the prized possession of hunters, the Cape buffalo is native to Africa. They are one of the top contenders for the biggest animal in the world measuring up to 8 feet. They are also one of the heaviest land animals and can weigh more than 1800 pounds. They can be easily identified by their curved horns. Cape buffaloes are herd animals that can vary from 50 to 500 in size. These massive creatures are a member of the Big Five Game and are a trophy to hunters.
Also known as the African Buffalo, the Cape buffaloes are one of the most dangerous animals of the African continent. Grass makes 90% of their diet. They can eat a large quantity of grass to sustain their bulk. Cape buffaloes can live in a wide variety of habitats, ranging from semi-arid bushland to coastal savannas. They can be found in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Angola, and Liberia. African buffaloes are considered as ‘Near Threatened’ by the IUCN. There are around 400,000 individuals left on the entire planet.
There are millions of species on our planet, and humans have been able to identify just a tiny fraction of them. Every year, scientists and researchers work together to identify new species of animals inhabiting our planet. Their size, their claws, their eyelashes, or even their behavior, each of their aspects help them survive in the wild.
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