Bigger Really Does Mean Better

Hi guys! For today’s post I am going to focus on the giants of our planet. When I say giants, I don’t mean I’m going to rank them in any particular order, as that would mean that this post might as well be completely about whales. No, I am going discuss the largest animals in specific groups such as land animals, reptiles, fish, etc.

What is the biggest animal?

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It should come as no surprise that this mantle is taken by the largest animal of all time, the blue whale. Reaching a weight of 180 tonnes and a length of 98 ft, these magnificent creatures are truly ginormous. Their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant and their hearts are so big that it is possible for a small child to swim inside of the arteries (see the model of one below)!

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It’s almost ironic that these colossal animals are so huge and yet their diet consists of some of Earth’s smallest animals, plankton.

What is the largest land animal?

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The African elephant is the largest living land animal and can weigh up to 7 tonnes as well as grow up to 35 ft from trunk to tail and have a shoulder height of 13 ft. These giant animals aren’t the largest land animals ever, but certainly rank high on the list. These animals are also exceptionally powerful, being able to move trees and rocks with nothing but strength and those trunks. They also rank as one of the most intelligent animals on Earth. Their brain is the largest of any land animal and their cortex fires just as many neurons as a human.

What is the tallest animal?

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The tallest living animal on Earth is the giraffe, their necks alone reaching a height of 6 ft. These creatures, like the African elephant are natives of grasslands of Africa (specifically East Africa in their case). They adapted their legendary necks to reach leaves and shoots on trees and are also equipped with prehensile tongues to do this job. After a 15 month gestation period, babies are born 2 metres tall and fully capable of walking and running!

What is the largest land carnivore?

The position of largest land carnivore is a tough call between the polar bear and the Kodiak bear (a subspecies of brown bear), but the polar bear is generally considered larger. The reason for this uncertainty is the vagueness of the word largest. What does that mean? Heaviest? Longest? Largest ever recorded?

The following data, taken from Gary Brown’s Great Bear Almanac (New York, 1993), compares the average measurements of these two giant ursines.

Polar Bear Brown Bear
Average Weight of Mature Male 900-1,500 pounds 500-900 pounds
Heaviest Recorded 2,210 pounds 2,500+ pounds
Average Length of Mature Male 8-8.4 feet >7-10 feet

Source: The Great Bear Almanac by Gary Brown

However, if we want talk about a truly giant bear then it is worth mentioning the ancient ancestor of both these bears, the Arctotherium angustidens, an ancient South American giant short faced bear, the largest on record weighing up to 3,500 Ibs!

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What is the largest bird?

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The ostrich is the largest living bird, reaching a height of 9 ft and a weight of 344 Ibs, and at 1.9 inches, their eyes are the largest of all land animals. They can survive without water for days and can reach speeds of up to 45 mph! This makes them the fastest animal on 2 legs! Take a look below.

What is the biggest reptile?

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That title belongs to the saltwater crocodile. Although it worth mentioning other largest of their species in this category such as the leatherback sea turtle, the green anaconda and the komodo dragon. Saltwater crocodiles can grow to an average length of 21 ft in length and can weigh up to 1,900 kg! They are widely distributed across parts of India, Asia, Australia and can eat virtually anything! In fact, due to their ability to survive in saltwater, it isn’t uncommon to see one of these ancient beasts feasting on shark meat!

What is the largest fish?

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The ocean has a tendency to make giants doesn’t it? The whale shark is the largest living fish, reaching a length of 40 ft and can weigh up to 22 tonnes. Like the blue whale, these majestic giants feed on plankton and these fish are present in tropical seas around the world. However, whale sharks are considered vulnerable and are even hunted in some areas.

What is the largest amphibian?

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The largest amphibian is the Chinese giant salamander. This species of salamander can weigh up to 140 Ibs and can grow to a length of 6 ft! These bizarre and fascinating creatures are known as living fossils, much like the crocodile on this list, having changed very little from their ancient ancestors. These creatures are endangered and rare to find in the wild.

What is the largest invertebrate?

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Both ranking as the largest mollusk and the largest invertebrate, the colossal squid has knocked down the great giant squid off of its throne! Current estimates put its maximum size to between 39-46 ft long and 1,650 Ibs. In 2007, authorities in New Zealand announced the capture of the largest known colossal squid specimen (please note that the previously mentioned statistics are estimates), which was measured at 14 ft long and 1.091 Ibs in weight. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that record broken.

What is the largest Arthropod?

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Before I tell you about the largest of arthropods, the Japanese spider crab, I must say what an arthropod is. An arthropod is an invertebrate animal (this means it lacks a back bone) of the large phylum Arthropoda. Examples include inscets, arachnids and crustaceans. Considered a delicacy in Japan, these crabs have the largest leg span of any arthropod, which can reach up to 18 ft from claw to claw. The body may grow to a size of 16 inches in carapace width and the whole crab can weigh up to 42 Ibs. The only arthropod heavier than this crab is the American lobster.

So there you have it, a small selection of giants that roam our world. I do apologise for missing out so many other creatures and I do recommend that you not only look into every animal I have mentioned in this post, but also the following animals:

  • the liger (a crossbreed between a male lion and female tiger, the largest on record being a male named Hercules, currently housed at Myrtle Beach Safari in a wildlife reserve in South Carolina).
  • the southern elephant seal.
  • the eastern gorilla.
  • the goliath birdeater spider.
  • the giant weta.
  • the capybara.
  • the moose.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Please keep an eye out for my next post, which will not be about all of Earth’s smallest animals (I will only do that post if enough people ask) but will instead be all about one of my personal favourite animals, the emperor penguin.

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