15 of the Largest Animals in the World

From the tiniest single-celled organism to the mighty whales that swim in our oceans, the planet is full of unique animals of all shapes and sizes. It is fascinating to look at these creatures and realize the beauty of nature and the world around us.

The following animals all have one thing in common: They are the biggest of their kind. Whether they swim, fly, crawl, or slither, these hefty animals will surely make you say wow.

1. Blue Whale

Blue Whale
Image Credit: NOAA Photo Library/Wiki Commons.

The title of the biggest mammal on land and in the ocean goes to the massive blue whale. An adult blue whale can reach as long as 100 feet and weigh as much as 420,000 pounds.

To put that in perspective, blue whales are so big that their hearts are the size of a cow, and a human could swim through their arteries. Despite their size, these elegant giants glide through the water with such grace it is remarkable to watch them in the wild.

2. African Elephant

Image Credit: GFDL 1.2/Wiki Commons.

The mighty African elephant is the largest standing mammal that is not an aquatic mammal. These ginormous creatures can stand 13 feet tall and weigh as much as 14,000 pounds. In addition to their sheer size, they can grow their imposing tusks to lengths of almost 8 feet.

Their massive presence has made them sacred in religions like Buddhism and Hinduism. Both practices consider them symbols of power, loyalty, fertility, and wisdom.

3. Salt Water Crocodile

Saltwater Crocodiles
Image Credit: Fabian Roudra Baroi, Own Work – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

The largest living reptile on Earth is the saltwater crocodile. These predators that live in the saltwater marshes of Australia, Southeast Asia, and India can grow up to 23 feet and weigh over 2,000 pounds.

In addition to being massive, these aggressive monsters are elite hunters. They are equipped with the strongest bite in the animal kingdom. Their jaws can chomp down on their prey with a staggering psi rate of 3,700 psi.

4. Ostrich

Image Credit: Christiaan Kooyman, Own Work – Wiki Commons.

Even though they are considered flightless birds, the ostrich is crowned as the largest bird alive. These impressive birds stand 9 feet tall and weigh well over 300 pounds. Their powerful legs also make them the fastest bird on land, helping them reach running speeds of 43 mph in short sprints.

5. Whale Shark

Whale shark
Image Credit: Arturo de Frias Marques, Own Work – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Don’t let the title of shark fool you. These gentle giants spend their days swimming in warm waters, feeding on plankton, krill, and small fish. With one of the most enormous appetites in the sea, they eat any small creatures in their path, and their mouths can open as wide as 5 feet.

You can spot these sharks by their distinctive spotted patterns, broad, flat heads, and imposing statures. Whale sharks can grow as long as 70 feet, earning them the title of the largest fish species in the sea.

6. Giant Huntsman Spider

Female Giant Huntsman Spider
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

The giant huntsman spider is the largest spider on Earth based on leg span. This creature can strike fear into the bravest of humans due to its speed, agility, and legs that can stretch to almost 12 inches long.

If you fear spiders, I advise you not to Google them. Luckily, they are not native to the United States.

7. Green Anaconda

Green Anaconda
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

From one terrifying creature to another, the green anaconda is the largest snake on the planet. This supersized serpent can weigh 550 pounds and stretch almost 23 feet long.

Once again, those of you who are afraid of snakes can remain calm. Their habitat is nowhere near the United States. The behemoth snakes live in the murky waters of South America, where they feed on animals like tapirs, capybaras, deer, and sheep.

8. Komodo Dragon

Komodo dragon
Image Credit: Mark Dumont – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

The Komodo dragon looks like a living dinosaur wandering around the islands of Indonesia. These massive reptiles are the largest on the planet, with a head-to-tail length of 10 feet and a body weight of over 300 pounds. These deadly predators use their keen sense of smell, sharp claws, and venomous bite to make them the apex predators in their habitat.

9. Capybara

Capybara
Image Credit: Wilfredo Rafael Rodriguez Hernandez, Own Work – CC0/Wiki Commons.

You might find it hard to believe that these cute, cuddly creatures are actually part of the rodent family. These rodents beat out the New York subway rat to win the world’s largest rodent title. At 140 pounds, these social animals spend their days hanging out on riverbanks and marshes with their friends. They are known for their calm demeanor and ability to co-exist with the other animals in their habitat.

10. Polar Bear

Polar Bears
Image Credit: CC BY 4.0/Wiki Commons.

The massive Arctic polar bear is the largest bear species on the planet. These majestic bears can stand as tall as 10 feet and weigh over 1,500 pounds. Despite being one of the most feared and dominant apex predators, they are considered vulnerable due to climate change, habitat loss, and poaching. Hopefully, we can help these species regain their home and keep these beautiful bears around for many years.

11. Eastern Lowland Gorilla

Silverback Cimanuka of Kahuzi-Biega National Park
Image Credit: Joe McKenna – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Found in the jungles of Africa, these imposing primates stand over 5 feet tall and weigh over 500 pounds. That sheer size makes these primates the largest of their species. Despite their size and power, they generally live peaceful lives with their troop of other gorillas.

Like the polar bear, gorillas face challenges due to habitat loss, hunting, and civil unrest in their homes. Many African conservatories are committed to helping these animals flourish and thrive.

12. Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing

Queen Alexandra's birdwing
Image Credit: Peter Wing – CC BY 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Deep in the rainforests of Papua New Guinea lives the Queen Alexandra’s birdwing, the largest living butterfly species. These incredible butterflies can have a wingspan of almost 12 inches. They got their name from the Queen of Denmark and are sadly listed as endangered today. Those looking to catch a glimpse of this rare specimen need to book their trip to Papua New Guinea ASAP.

13. Lion’s Mane Jellyfish

Lion's mane jellyfish
Image Credit: W. Carter, Own Work – CC0/Wiki commons.

Jellyfish can range from as small as half an inch to as large as 6 feet. The lion’s mane jellyfish is on the larger side, making it the biggest jellyfish in the ocean. Reaching a diameter of 6 feet, they can grow their tentacles to over 45 feet.

The scary thing about these unique creatures is they can give off a painful sting. There is a story that one of these jellyfish stung anywhere from 50 to 100 swimmers off the coast of New Hampshire.

14. Chinese Salamander

Chinese giant salamander
Image Credit: Petr Hamerník – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

The Chinese salamander is the largest living amphibian, weighing around 66 pounds, though some can grow to 132 pounds and stretch to a length of 6 ft. These ginormous creatures live in dark waters and are extremely rare.

The salamander has been noted as a ‘living fossil’ due to its existence of over 170 million years, where it once lived in the Jurassic period.

15. Giant Squid

Giant Squid
Image Credit: Stephane Martin – CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

The giant squid observed by marine biologists had a body of over 6 feet, with tentacles stretching to 59 feet. That massive size earned the giant squid the largest cephalopod (squids, octopus, cuttlefish) in the ocean.

This is another reason I refuse to go into the ocean past my waist. Can you imagine that thing swimming up beside you?

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