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The Largest Animals in the World
Our world is full of creatures big and small, short and tall. Below the Sifter looks at 15 of the largest animals in the world, classified by various categories such as mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians etc.
The Largest Animal Ever: The Blue Whale
The blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is a marine mammal belonging to the suborder of baleen whales. At 30 metres (98 ft) in length and 180 metric tons (200 short tons) or more in weight, it is the largest known animal to have ever existed. The Blue Whale’s tongue weighs around 2.7 metric tons (5,952 pounds), about the size of an average Asian Elephant and its heart weighs about 600 kg (1,300 lb) and is the largest known in any animal. Not only is the heart similar size to a mini-cooper car but also comparable in weight.
The Heaviest Land Animal in the World: The African Bush Elephant
The African Bush Elephant is the largest living terrestrial (land) animal, with males reaching 6 to 7.5 metres (19.7 to 24.6 ft) in length, 3.3 metres (10.8 ft) in height at the shoulder, and weighing 6 t (13,000 lb). Females are much smaller, reaching 5.4 to 6.9 metres (17.7 to 22.6 ft) in length, 2.7 metres (8.9 ft) in height at the shoulder, and weighing 3 t (6,600 lb).
The Tallest Land Animal in the World: The Giraffe
The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is an African even-toed ungulate mammal and the tallest living terrestrial animal in the world. It stands 5–6 m (16–20 ft) tall and has an average weight of 1,600 kg (3,500 lb) for males and 830 kg (1,800 lb) for females. The giraffe has an extremely elongated neck, which can be over 2 m (6 ft 7 in) in length, accounting for nearly half of the animal’s vertical height. The long neck results from a disproportionate lengthening of the cervical vertebrae, not from the addition of more vertebrae.
The Largest Carnivora in the World: The Southern Elephant Seal
The Southern elephant seal is the largest carnivore living today. This seals’ size shows extreme sexual dimorphism, possibly the largest of any mammal, with the males typically five to six times heavier than the females. While the females average 400 to 900 kilograms (880 to 2,000 lb) and 2.6 to 3 meters (8.5 to 9.8 ft) long, the bulls average 2,200 to 4,000 kilograms (4,900 to 8,800 lb) and 4.5 to 5.8 meters (15 to 19 ft) long. The record-sized bull, shot in Possession Bay, South Georgia on February 28, 1913, measured 6.85 meters (22.5 ft) long and was estimated to weigh 5,000 kilograms (11,000 lb).
The Largest Land Carnivores in the World: The Polar Bear and Kodiak Bear
The largest living land carnivores are the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) and the kodiak bear, a Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) subspecies. Since they have similar body sizes, it is not clear which is definitively larger. In both species, shoulder height has been measured at more than 1.6 m (5.2 ft) and total length at as much as to 3.05 m (10.0 ft). The heaviest polar and brown bear weights recorded were respectively 1,003 kg (2,210 lb) and 1,135 kg (2,500 lb).