These are the largest living animals today as defined by volume, mass, height or length.
Blue Whale: Largest Animal
The blue whale is the largest animal to have ever existed. This marine mammal can be over 32.9 m (108 ft) in length and more than 172 metric tons (190 short tons) in weight. The heart can be as huge as a Volkswagen bug. These giants used to abound in all the world’s oceans but for more than 40 years they were hunted to extinction by whalers until protected by the international community since 1966. Today, the blue whale is facing a very high risk of extinction.
Colossal Squid: Largest Mollusk
With a length that can be over 14 m (46 ft), the Colossal Squid (also called Antarctic and Giant Cranch Squid) is both the largest mollusk and largest of all invertebrates. Unlike the giant squid whose arms and tentacles only have suckers lined with small teeth, the Colossal Squid’s arms and tentacles are also equipped with sharp hooks. This Southern Ocean inhabitant is also the proud owner of the largest eyes in the animal kingdom.
African Bush Elephant: Largest Terrestrial Animal
The African Bush Elephant, also called Savannah Elephant is the largest and heaviest land-dwelling animal. Its length can reach up to 7.3 m (24 ft), stand at 3.5 (11.5 ft), and can weigh up to 9,000 kg (19,843 lb). The largest on record was shot in Angola in 1955—a bull weighing 12,274 kg (27,060 lb), standing 4.2 m (13.8 ft) high. The Bush Elephant normally moves at a rate of 6 km/h (4mph), but can reach up to 40 km/h (25 mph) when frightened or upset.
Eastern Lowland Gorilla: Largest Primate
The Eastern Lowland Gorilla found in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo is the largest primate in the world. Its maximum size can be more than 225 kg (500 lb) and 1.83 m (6 ft) in the wild, with much heavier weight records in captivity. Some males can even weigh up to 338 kg. The heaviest on record is named Phil which lived in the St. Louis Zoo in 1941-1958 with a weight of 388 kg. The Eastern Lowland Gorilla is listed by the IUCN as an endangered species.
Saltwater Crocodile: Largest Reptile
The largest reptile is the saltwater or estuarine crocodile found throughout the waters of Southeast Asia and Northern Australia. An adult can weigh up to 1,360 kg (3,000 lbs) and length can be over 6 m (19 ft). This species have a tendency to travel long distances at sea sometimes reported to be sighted at sites thousands of miles from their native territory including New Caledonia and Fiji.
Ostrich: Largest Bird
The ostrich not only holds the record as the largest living bird, it also owns the largest egg among living animals, and with its ability to run up to 74 km/h (46 mph) has the top land speed among birds. This flightless bird with its distinctive long neck and legs can weigh up to 155 kg (340 lb) and stand up to 2.8 m (9.2 ft).
Chinese Giant Salamander: Largest Amphibian
The Chinese Giant salamanders are the largest living amphibians known today. These river-dwellers from China can weigh up to 64 kg (140 lb) and be as long as 1.83 m (6 ft). They are critically endangered due to habitat loss, pollution and over collecting as they are a delicacy and used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Japanese Spider Crab: Largest Arthropod
The Japanese spider crab is the largest known arthropod having a leg span of 4 m (13 ft), a body size of 37 cm (15 in) and can weigh up to 20 kg (44 lb). Its natural habitat is at the seabed of the Pacific Ocean in the waters of Japan. This 10 legged crab is believed to live up to 100 years. It is often eaten salted and steamed and is also grown in an aquarium.
Goliath Beetle: Largest Insect
The Goliath beetles are among the largest and heaviest living insects on Earth. They can measure up to 110 mm (4.3 in) and can weigh over 100 g (3.5 oz) in the larval stage. This species (Golianthus)are native to Africa. It was named after the Biblical story of David and Goliath as it can carry loads many times its own body size.
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