Here are five of the largest living animals on earth, broken down by taxonomic group:
LARGEST MAMMAL: Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus)
Not content merely to be the largest mammal, the Blue Whale is also the largest organism ever to inhabit the earth. Their average length is around 85 feet, with the largest individual on record roughly 110 feet in length. No slouches in the weight department, the heaviest Blue Whale came in at almost 210 tons.
LARGEST BIRD: Ostrich (Struthio camelus)
Largest bird, fastest bird, and arguably silliest-looking bird: the ostrich is at home on any list of extremes. No other birds stand 6.5 feet tall, and no other bird can sprint at 40 mph.
LARGEST FISH: Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus)
Whale Sharks are also the largest polka-dotted animal. These gentle filter-feeders reach around 65 feet in length, putting them well inside the league of most actual whales.
LARGEST REPTILE: Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)
The saltwater croc’s ancestors watched the dinosaurs come and go – and probably ate more than a few of them. Today, rare males can hit 20 feet in length and weigh more than a ton and half. Rumors abound of individuals approaching 25 feet abound, though convincing evidence is lacking.
LARGEST AMPHIBIAN: Chinese Giant Salamander (Andrias davidianus)
Most salamanders are only a few inches long. This isn’t most salamanders. The Chinese Giant Salamander can reach 6 feet in length, and lives in isolated, rocky mountain streams and lakes. Sadly, it’s as endangered as it is enormous, and is considered in critical condition by the IUCN.
LARGEST ARTHROPOD: Japanese Spider Crab (Macrocheira kaempferi)
With a leg span of almost 13 feet and a max weight of over 40 pounds, this deep-sea crustacean looks like the antagonist in a sci-fi film. It has a rival in the good ol’ American Lobster, with weights recorded up to almost 50 pounds and a body length of roughly 4 feet. The Spider Crab, in contrast, is mostly leg. To further slake your thirst for gigantic animals, check out Wikipedia’s summary of largest organisms.
CITATIONS: Animal Diversity Web Wikipedia IUCN
PHOTOGRAPHS: Blue Whale | Ostrich | Whale Shark | Saltwater Crocodile | Chinese Giant Salamander | Japanese Spider Crab
The largest dinosaur is thought to be the Argentinosaurus, which scientists think was about 130 feet long and weighed up to a 110 tons.
There is some question on what the biggest snake in the world is. Many think it’s South America’s ananconda. This is part true. The anaconda is the heaviest snake. However, the longest snake is the reticulated python of southeast Asia.
The Caulerpa is the world’s largest single cell organism, occasionalyl growing up to a meter in length.
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