23 of the Biggest Living Animals in the World
There’s big and then there’s really big. Here are the largest, heaviest, and tallest animals to ever live on the land and in the sea.
Of the three species of cassowaries, the southern cassowary is the biggest weighing a total of 125 pounds. Although the bird is known for being the second-heaviest bird on Earth, they’re more so known for their hot tempers. In an article on Smithsonian.com, it’s said that cassowaries occasionally get into kick fights with inanimate objects.
Saltwater crocodiles can weigh up to 1,000-pounds and measure up to 17 feet long. The carnivores prowl beneath the water before attacking water buffalos, monkeys, and even sharks. No one seems to mess with the powerful strength of their tails and jaws, which could be what helps them stay at a low risk of extinction. Saltwater crocodiles might be easy to find because of their large population size, but these are nocturnal animals that hardly anyone ever gets the chance to see.
Killer whales show no mercy to penguins, sea turtles, or even sharks when they get hungry. An average-sized orca can eat about 500 pounds of food a day—this is probably why they can weigh up to 12,000 pounds. Orcas are the largest dolphins swimming in the freezing waters near the Polar Regions and the equator. Did you know there’s a scientific reason why so many animals are black and white?
One of the best ways to recognize a sperm whale in the ocean is by their massive heads. Though they do have the largest brains of any living thing on Earth, it’s the fact that their heads are filled with spermaceti that makes their biology so fascinating. To this day, scientists only theorize that spermaceti help sperm whales stay buoyant. There has to be something that keeps all 35 to 45 tons of sperm whales afloat!
Japanese Spider Crab
Under the sea, or well under the Pacific Ocean, live a species of crabs much larger than The Little Mermaid’s Sebastian. Japanese spider crabs can grow up to 12 feet wide, supporting a body that’s barely longer than one foot long. Crawling around with 44 pounds of meat makes this crustacean a dinner favorite in Japan. And you would never believe that these weird animals actually exist, but they do!
Southern Elephant Seal
Tipping the scale at 8,800 pounds, the name of the largest seals in the world comes from their trunk-like snouts rather than their mammoth bodies. Find out about the oldest animals that have ever lived.
Dalmatian pelicans aren’t your average beach bird. In fact, they’re much larger than average birds because they can grow up to 70 inches in height, weigh up to 33 pounds, and can have a wingspan of nine feet. Dalmatian pelicans are one of the few birds that are this heavy and can still fly. Check out these adorable animals that might just love the beach more than you do.
If Big Bird from Sesame Street had a real-life equivalent, it would definitely be an ostrich. They are the tallest and heaviest birds of all time. Their 350-pound bodies make them unable to fly, but they can still outrun you at 43 miles per hour. Even an ostrich egg is big: they can even weigh up to three pounds!
While under the sea there are some pretty large animals, the tallest land animal in the world is the giraffe. Full-grown adults can grow up to 19 feet tall. To get blood pumping from their hearts all the way to the top of their brains, giraffes have a heart that weighs about 25 pounds. You also can’t forget about their 21-inch long tongue that they use to eat hundreds of pounds of leaves every week from the tallest trees in the African savanna.
Now, this is a fish you probably won’t pick up at the pet store anytime soon to add to your at-home salt-water aquarium, no matter how big your tank is! In the category of fish with bones (sharks have skeletons made up of cartilage, not bones), sunfish are the heaviest of them all. Like sharks, though, they have a dorsal fin that often gets mistaken for a shark fin when they swim near the top of warm, tropical oceans. Can you tell the difference between these nearly identical animals?