Size is an important characteristic of every living entity. In a way, it even defines a lot of its activities. For example, let’s look at mixed martial arts or boxing. In these two sports, there are a number of divisions for athletes to compete in. These divisions are formed on a weight category basis. Now the weight of a person, is proportional in some way or another to that person’s size. That’s an established fact. So you can see how important the size of any living thing is. Focussing on what this article is about now, let’s look at some of the largest living animals on the face of this earth. Keep an eye, you will notice that most of these animals reside at the top of their respective food chain. Any guesses as to why?
13. Japanese Spider Crab
The Japanese Spider Crab: redefining the size that a crab can grow upto. Found in the waters around Japan, the largest living arthropod (in terms of reach) in the world spans approximately 18 feet from one claw to another. The Coconut Crab is popularly known as the largest living arthropod in the world however, the span of it’s claw/legs is not even close to the Japanese Spider Crab, making the latter look bigger. The literal translation of their Japanese name is ‘tall legs crab’.
12. Chinese Giant Salamander
A salamander being bigger than a human child is something straight out of the horror movies. But it’s true. It’s not a fictional concept at all. A Chinese Giant Salamander can grow upto nearly 6ft in length. That’s definitely bigger than a human child, at the very least. These salamanders are the largest of their species in the world and are found in China. Due to loss of habitat, these salamanders are close to being on the brink of extinction. They spend most of their time underwater and according to a lot of scientists, they are prime example of a living fossil.
11. Ocean Sunfish
The Ocean Sunfish literally looks like a living fossil. It’s one of those fish that’s not particularly known for its aesthetic appeal. They follow a special diet, only of jellyfish but they eat tons of it. That’s the only way they can maintain their size and keep the title of the heaviest bone fish in the world. How heavy? On an average, about 250 kgs, however, some of them can even weigh a 1000 kgs. That’s hard to match.
10. Green Anaconda
The movie series Anaconda has immortalised the size this particular species. It’s not as big as shown in the movie but nevertheless, it’s an extraordinary snake and one of the largest species of snake in the world. Officially, they are the known ‘heaviest species’ in the world but the record for the largest snake in the world however, is held by the Reticulated Python. These snakes can grow upto 17ft in length and weigh anywhere between 30kgs-70kgs. They are extremely good swimmers and although, these snakes are found in a number of different places in South America, the Amazon rainforest region and the Orinoco basin are the main areas where this species thrives.
9. Polar Bear and Kodiak Bear
There’s no such thing as the largest bear in the world. The title is shared by two: the polar bear and it’s sister cousin, the kodiak bear or brown bear. But on an average, polar bears have the slight edge. Thankfully, the Brown Bear is a species that’s not particularly threatened in the wild. The same however, cannot be said for the Polar Bear. Due to loss of habitat, Polar Bear’s are now facing a major crisis. Only recently, they have been listed as a ‘vulnerable species’. While the Polar Bear is found in the Arctic Circle only, the Brown Bear is found across a much more scattered geographical range. China, USA, Russia, Romania, Anatolia etc. these are just a couple of countries where these bears are found.
8. Saltwater Crocodile
‘Saltie’, doesn’t really sound menacing, does it? But believe it, they are. The largest reptiles in the world, these saltwater crocodile’s are found in parts of India, Australia and Southeast Asia. The can grow upto 20ft in length and weigh nearly 1200 kgs. Primarily, they are found in saline waters such as, mangroves, swamps, estuaries and the lower regions of rivers. What makes them truly menacing is the way the catch their prey. They are probably one of the best examples of ambush predators in the wild.
7. Southern Elephant Seal
There are two species of elephant seals in the world. The Southern Elephant Seal is the bigger out of the two and in fact it’s the largest living carnivore on the planet. One look at it and you will figure out why the name. The two proboscis, protruding out of the mouth, look very similar to the tusks of elephants, resulting in an uncanny ressemblance of the two. These creatures can end up weighing about six to seven time that of a polar bear’s, that’s approximately 2700 kgs.
6. Whale Shark
The largest Whale Shark in the world was recorded to measure more than 41ft in length and weigh about 21.5 tons. That’s enormous. And according to the locals of the region and some scientists, claims have been made that bigger fish of this species exist. By now you would have almost guessed this fact. It’s the largest fish in the world. Despite their size, they are almost harmless to humans. These fish feed on planktons, just like how a whale does. They can be found in seas with warm temperature and a tropical climate. Few places where they can easily be spotted are: Ningaloo reef, Lakshadweep, Gulf of Kutch, Maldives etc.
The Giraffe is an iconic African animal and one of the most well known animals. It’s taught to us right from kindergarten, ‘What’s the tallest animal in the world?’ And the group of children, answer in unison, ‘Giraffe’. It’s not only the tallest animal in the world however. It has the longest neck and an extraordinarily long tongue as well. They wander about in the savannah in herds, feeding of leaves and fruits. The males are taller than the females but not by too much. While the tallest recorded male giraffe was 19ft, the tallest recorded female giraffe was around 17ft.
4. African Elephant
African Elephants are the largest living land animals in the world. They can be easily identified by their huge size and enormous ears. These large ears have a purpose, though. They enable the elephants to lose heat quickly in the hot, African climate. On an average, these elephants are about 11ft tall, weighing in and around the region of 5000kgs. The tusks itself, of these animals is absolutely huge. On an average, the tusks weigh nearly 35 kgs and they can grow upto 8ft in length.
3. Sperm Whale
All whales are huge, almost. These whales are found in depths in excess of 2000m, making it the second deepest living animal. What it’s not second in is size. It’s the biggest toothed whale in the world and is also. The largest of the species grow upto nearly 67ft in length. A considerable chunk of it can be understood to be occupied by the brain, since it has the largest brain of any living species. These whales have a considerably long life span, one of nearly 60 years in the wild. Due to overhunting, the Sperm Whale is on the verge of being threatened as a species. There’s a particular substance in the whale’s brain that’s a useful raw material in the making of candles and lubricants of different sorts. That’s the major reason for its ‘vulnerable status’ on the conservation chart.
2. Colossal Squid
The Colossal Squid is a somewhat shy species and there haven’t been too many huge specimens caught. However, out of the data that’s available these squids are the largest of all in the family. They grow to nearly 46ft in length and there have been certain specimens that have weighed approximately 750kgs. As a whole, these squids have most often been spotted in the region encompassed by the Southern Ocean.
1. Blue Whale
The largest animal in the world and by a huge margin that is, the Blue Whale. It’s size is so legendary that you could find articles, listed with facts that go on and on about its size. We will give you just a few, the important ones. The largest blue whale ever recorded measured nearly 100ft in length and weighed an astounding 181 tons. According to scientists, it’s the largest animal to have ever existed on the face of earth. These animals were once upon a time, found in abundance throughout the world. Today, due to overhunting, primarily for commercial purposes, the Blue Whale is facing the potential of extinction.
Classifying animals as the ‘largest’ is hard. Some are taller, some are heavier and some are longer. At the end of the day, though, they all have one thing in common. Whenever these animals are seen, in the wild or in captivity, they will all, undoubtedly leave you awestruck.