The 20 largest animals in the world
With the blue whale as the undisputed queen, planet Earth is inhabited by animals that are true giants. A ranking of the largest aquatic and terrestrial beings in the world.
The animal world is amazing. From hawks capable of flying at speeds higher than a Formula 1 car to frogs as small as 2 inches with enough venom on their skin to kill 1,500 people, nature never ceases to amaze and sometimes terrify us.
In a world where we have registered 953,000 species of animals (900,000 of which are insects) but in which it is estimated that there are more than 7 million, the Earth is home to organisms that have adapted their morphology to their ecological needs.
In this sense, there are many physical characters to play with. And one of them is undoubtedly size. Some animals have chosen, throughout evolution, to be small, like the frogs we talked about at the beginning. But others, for being great. Very big.
So in today’s article, we will embark on a journey across the oceans and continents of the Earth to find the most immense animals in the world, presenting them in the form of ranking until we reach the undisputed king of all giants: the whale. blue.
What are the largest animal species?
If we wanted to develop a perfect ranking, all the positions would be occupied by the different species of whales and other cetaceans. But since we want to give diversity to this list, we will stay with the most representative species but we will introduce others that, although they would occupy positions further back in a real list, deserve to be mentioned.
Goliath Tarantula: 30 cm
A 12-inch animal is not number 20 among all the largest in the world, but we have already said that we want to put size in perspective, covering many different groups. In this sense, the Goliath tarantula is the largest spider in the world.
Native to the rainforests of South America, this huge spider is also one of the most poisonous in the world. Although not fatal to humans, the bite causes a lot of pain, nausea, irritation, burning, etc. As if this were not enough, when feeling threatened, it is quite aggressive.
Ostrich: 2.10 meters
Native to the plains of Africa and Saudi Arabia, the common ostrich is the largest bird in the world. Adults measure, on average, 2.10 meters, although some males can reach 2.80 meters and weigh more than 150 kg.
It is not surprising, then, that they lay the largest eggs in the world (each weighing 1.4 kg) and that they cannot fly. Of course, despite their size, they can run at 70 km / h. The maximum that a human being has reached is 45 km / h and Usain Bolt achieved it.
Polar bear: 3.10 meters
The polar bear is the largest land carnivore in the world. A native of the frozen areas of the northern hemisphere, an adult polar bear can grow to 3.10 meters and weigh up to 680 kg. Despite their incredible size, they are very fast (they easily reach 40 km / h) and are fantastic swimmers, something very important since their diet is based especially on fish, seals, and walruses.
Hippopotamus: 4 meters
Being the animal that causes the most deaths in Africa due to its territoriality, the hippopotamus is one of the largest mammals in the world. It is a mainly herbivorous and semi-aquatic animal whose adult individuals can measure 4 meters in length and weigh more than 1,500 kg. And despite this and their short legs, they can run at more than 30 km / h.
Nile Crocodile: 4.20 meters
Crocodiles could not be missing from this list. And the Nile is the second largest in the world. A native of more than 26 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Nile crocodile is one of the largest reptiles. With an average length of 4.20 meters (some specimens have reached 5 meters) and a weight that can reach 750 kg, it is one of the most dangerous animals, since hundreds of people die each year from its attacks in regions near rivers, which are their habitat.
White rhinoceros: 4.40 meters
Rhinos are among the largest animals in the world. And among the different species (currently there are five different ones), the white rhino is the largest. Adults can measure 4.40 meters and weigh 3,500 kg. Despite this, these giants of more than three tons can run at more than 50 km / h.
Marine crocodile: 4.50 meters
The marine crocodile is not only the largest species of crocodile in the world but the largest reptile on Earth. Native to the swampy areas of Southeast Asia and northern Australia, the marine crocodile has an average size of 4.50 meters, although they can be much larger.
There is evidence of a specimen that measured 8.50 meters and weighed 1,700 kg. They are super predators that hunt absolutely everything (even other smaller crocodiles) and are capable of swimming at more than 45 km / h.
King Cobra: 6.40 meters
The king cobra is not the largest snake in the world, but it is the largest venomous snake. Native to India, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, and southern China, the king cobra is an extremely toxic snake that ranks number 6 in the ranking of poisonous snakes. It is the one that produces the most amount of poison.
As if this, along with its size that can reach 6.40 meters, were not enough, we are dealing with a snake whose diet is based almost exclusively on other snakes, which may even be larger than it.
African elephant: 7.50 meters
The African elephant is the largest land mammal in the world. Inhabiting the forests and plains of more than 37 countries in Africa, the African elephant is a true giant. With a height of 4 meters, a length that can be 7.50 meters, and a weight of more than 10 tons, we are also facing the heaviest mammal in the world.
It is estimated (the last study was carried out in 2016) that there are about 410,000 live specimens, although poaching, diseases (an anthrax outbreak in 2019 caused the death of more than 100 specimens) and the destruction of their habitat make it an endangered species.
Orca: 9 meters
The killer whale is an aquatic mammal that, surprisingly, is part of the dolphin family. It is the largest species within this family that exists. It inhabits all the oceans of the Earth, although it prefers the cold waters near the coasts. In addition, this animal, which can reach 9 meters in length and weighs 5,500 kg, is one of the most intelligent in the world.
Anaconda: 10 meters
The anaconda is, along with the reticulated python, the largest snake in the world. In fact, controversy remains about which species is the largest of all reptiles and, considering that we have already left birds and mammals behind, the largest land animal.
Native to the rivers of South America, the anaconda is a species of constrictor snake (it does not kill through a poisonous bite, but by suffocation due to constriction) that can measure up to 10 meters in length and weigh about 85 kg. Unless it feels threatened, it does not attack the human being .
Whale shark: 12 meters
The whale shark is the largest fish in the world, and its average length is 12 meters. Despite its immensity, this species of shark is not at all predatory, feeding by filtration of phytoplankton, like whales. Inhabits tropical temperate seas near the equator for 60 million years. Unfortunately, climate change has made it a threatened species.
Gray whale: 13.50 meters
The gray whale is one of the whale species that, despite not being the largest, is one of the most famous. Currently only inhabits the northern part of the Pacific Ocean but makes one of the longest migrations in nature, from the north of Mexico where the females lay their eggs to the north of the Bering Sea, where they feed in summer because at its bottom there is the krill (crustaceans) on which it feeds. Adults can reach 15 meters in length and weigh more than 20 tons.
Reticulated python: 14.84 meters
The reticulated python is, along with the anaconda, one of the largest snakes in the world, although the latest research seems to show that, on average, this species has the largest specimens. Therefore, it is the largest land animal in the world. In 2005, in Indonesia, a reticulated python measuring 14.84 meters and almost 450 kg in weight was found, thus becoming the largest snake (and land animal) ever recorded.
Giant squid: 18 meters
Giant squids are a group of cephalopods (some scientists believe that it is a single species) very mysterious, since they inhabit very deep regions in different parts of the oceans at depths of at least 250 meters, although they can reach 1,500 meters below the surface. They very rarely rise to the surface, so their investigation is very complicated.
Be that as it may, we are talking about animals that, on average, are 18 meters long. There is evidence of a specimen captured in 1933 in New Zealand with a length of 21 meters and a weight of 270 kg. And, if this wasn’t terrifying enough, we are talking about a predatory animal.
Fin whale: 19.50 meters
The fin whale is one of the largest animals in the world and competes with the sperm whale for second place (we will see that the first two at the top are a bit of a “trap”). Be that as it may, this is a cetacean that, on average, has a length of 19.50 meters. It inhabits all the oceans on the planet, except the coldest waters, and feeds on fish, crustaceans, squid, etc. Due to poaching, it is an endangered species.
Sperm whale: 20 meters
The sperm whale is an aquatic mammal of the whale family, although it can be differentiated from these by the bulge in the area of the head. It is, again, an endangered species that inhabit the world’s oceans. It is currently considered the second-largest animal, reaching 20 meters in length.
As if this were not enough, everything becomes more spectacular if we consider that one of its favorite prey is the giant squid, being able to dive almost 3 km deep (remember that it is a mammal) to find them. It is believed that judging by the tentacle marks on their skin, these two giants fight intense battles in the deep ocean. To hunt, the sperm whale needs teeth, making it the largest toothed animal on Earth.
Blue whale: 24 meters
We come to the king (later we will understand why he is in third place) undisputed. The blue whale is the largest animal in the world. Adults usually measure between 24 and 27 meters in length, weighing up to 120 tons, although specimens of 30 meters and more than 170 tons have been recorded.
Not only is it the largest animal today, but the fossil record of which there is evidence indicates that it is the largest living being that has inhabited the Earth in all its history. Unfortunately, out of a population of almost 240,000 before the hunting of these animals began, it is currently believed that there are only a few communities left with about 2,000 individuals in each.
Considering that it weighs 120,000 kg (almost like 6 fire trucks), the blue whale needs to ingest, through filtration, more than 3 tons of krill per day.
Lion’s mane jellyfish: 37 meters
As we have mentioned, the last two posts are “cheat”. Well, depending on what we mean by “big”, the blue whale may not be the largest animal in the world. If we consider “large” as a mix between length and weight, it is indisputably so; but if “big” only refers to the length, the blue whale is not king.
In this line, the lion’s mane jellyfish is larger than the blue whale, since these cnidarians are still animals with tentacles that, no matter how thin, can measure up to 37 meters in length, giving rise to a much longer animal (and bigger, if you don’t look at the weight) than a blue whale.
Bootlace worm: 55 meters
There is an animal as long as half a football field. It is a worm that inhabits the seas of England and produces neurotoxins to protect itself from predators that, despite its body being at most 10 millimeters wide, can grow up to 55 meters in length. They are coiled on themselves, but when unrolling, we find what is, in length (pun intended), the largest animal (it depends on what we mean by “big”) in the world.