Elephant? The hippo? The rhinoceros? None of these animals appear in this article, although they are huge. Nor the sea elephant, the bison or the polar bear. Not even the giraffe. Any other ideas or do you give up now?
If you’ve ever wondered which are the biggest animals in the world, keep reading. Probably, more than one will surprise you, and many of those you expected to find here are not. We move forward, of course, that all but one are aquatic.
We also indicate that in this list we collect them according to their length, because if we took into account the weight, the classification would be a bit different.
The killer whale
We start in reverse order. In tenth place, with up to 9 meters long and 5 tons in weight, the killer whale. It belongs to the dolphin family, being the largest species of it.
Also known as killer killer whale, in its English translation “killer whole”, it is famous for its aggressiveness with other cetaceans, even larger, such as several types of whales. With humans, however, there have been no attacks to date.
They live in a group, up to 40, and are known for being able to coordinate hunting tactics, surrounding and stunning their prey. Because of these communication and “teamwork” skills, they are considered very intelligent animals, as well as great swimmers, capable of reaching 50 kilometers per hour. They live in all the oceans of the world, although they prefer warm and cold waters.
The largest snake in the world is the anaconda, although there is some discussion about whether it is the reticulated python. However, we consider the largest anaconda because of its greater weight.
These huge reptiles reach 10 meters, although the usual thing is that they have an average size of about 5 or 6 meters. Its weight can reach 150 kilos. There are a lot of people who claim to have found “monstrous” and colossal specimens, from 15 to 30 meters even, but there is no proven data.
It is a constrictor snake, which kills and eats its prey through asphyxiation, not with poisonous bites. They live in the Amazon jungle in South America, mainly in the rivers, although they also frequent the trees.
anaconda animals big world
We return from fresh water to salt water. The whale shark is the largest fish in the world. The largest specimen ever recorded measured 12 meters and weighed 21.5 tons, although they are usually the average measures. More or less, the dimensions of a standard bus.
Harmless to humans, which is not in their diet, it differs from other shark species in the size of their mouth and teeth. Its mouth is wide, up to 1.5 meters, and its teeth, up to 3 millimeters, do not look as menacing as their peers. However, let’s not be fooled: they have several rows of up to 300 teeth. They mainly feed on smaller fish, which they hunt in large quantities.
They are located in oceans all over the world, although their main location is the Philippines. While it is difficult to spot any. It is also considered one of the oldest animals, as it could take about 60 million years on Earth.
whale shark animals big world
The gray whale is one of the best known types of whale and the third largest. It reaches 15 meters and 20 tons.
They live in very small groups, with 3 to 5 members. They feed mainly on crustaceans (krill) from the bottom of the sea.
Among its most interesting features is the fact that it is one of the mammals that travel the most distance throughout its life, from northern Mexico in winter to give birth to its young to the Bering Sea in summer. Inhabits the seas of the North Pacific Ocean, between America and Asia.
gray whale animals big world
The giant squid
Its average is usually 12 meters, like whale sharks, however, specimens of giant squid of 18 meters have been found. Its weight ranges between 120 and 350 kilos, reaching 750 the largest of them.
As curiosities of the largest mollusk on the planet, it has the record of having the largest eyes: up to 25 centimeters. Its large size and its condition as a superpredator have made it a myth for many sailors: the best known is the Scandinavian legend of the Kraken, a gigantic creature that shattered the ships with its hug.
They live in all the oceans of the world, although it is rare to find them in tropical or polar waters.
giant squid animals big world
The sperm whale
Sperm whales reach between 15 and 20 meters. They weigh up to 40 tons, twice as much as gray whales.
They also belong to the family of whales, although they are easily distinguished from other species by their nose and the bulk of their front. As a curiosity, they can descend to 1,000 meters to hunt. Even more, up to 3 kilometers from the surface. They are, along with calderon zifios and elephant seals, marine mammals that dive deeper.
One of the reasons why you usually do these deep dives is to hunt. One of its favorite prey is the giant squid. Both are the great predators in the area where they live and squid remains have been found inside sperm whales. Also, marks of tentacles and scars, which suggests that both fight intense underwater battles.
They are located in oceans around the world, although they prefer temperate and tropical waters. It is an endangered species.
sperm whale animals largest world
The common whale (fin or whale)
With a similar size, around 18 and 20 meters, 27 in the case of the largest registered, fin whales or whales can reach 48 tons. It is even suggested that more.
As a peculiarity, it is the most symmetrical whale class, in addition to having a striking dorsal fin – which gives it the nickname – and pectoral fins.
They also inhabit all the oceans of the world, although they prefer the tropics and, above all, the colder and polar waters, where food abounds.
It is one of the animal species in danger of extinction, due to poaching during the past decades, which, however, seems to be recovering. In the documentary about Antarctica
The blue whale
The blue whale has, like all species, several subspecies. In any case, it is the largest animal on the planet, not only from the present but from all times that is known, even above, of the largest dinosaurs.
It has an average size between 24 and 27 meters, although copies of 30 meters have been registered. Its weight is between 100 and 120 tons, well above the rest of whales, although there is data of a female who reached 170 tons.
His tongue can weigh between 2.7 tons, like an elephant.
It is distinguished from other cetaceans not only in its length, much more, but in that it does not have such a large appearance.
With these measures we can get a slight idea of its magnitude. Can there be any animal that is its predator? It is known that there have been attacks by killer whales, in groups, and experts believe they can kill them. However, the blue whale is an animal that is hardly hunted. Also in danger of extinction, inhabits all oceans.
blue whale animals big world
The lion mane jellyfish
After the gigantic figures of the body of the blue whale, any animal next to it is insignificant. If we value the space as a whole, length and weight, there is no doubt that no living being can shade it. However, depending only on the length, there are two animals that are ahead.
One of them is a jellyfish. Named for its tangled appearance, its bell is “only” 2 meters, but with its tentacles reach 37 meters. Inhabits the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
lion mane jellyfish animals big world
The “boot cord” worm
We reach the end of the list. Yes, the longest animal in the world is a worm. Named for its appearance, this curious type of earthworm has a width of between 5 and 10 millimeters only, but the largest record dates up to 55 meters long. How is it possible that it extends so much and is, at the same time, so thin?
It is considered a fragile animal, but defends itself from its predators through a neurotoxin found in its mucus. Inhabits the seas of England, as well as on the shores of beaches and rocks.
worm boot cord big animals world
Where to see animals?
If you are interested in the topic of animals, not just the biggest ones, and you want to know more, in Movistar + you have a whole series of documentaries available, “Seven worlds, one planet”. Produced by the BBC, more than 1,500 people participated in their work and traveled to more than 40 countries, including Spain, spread across all continents. The images are unpublished and of high quality. Not surprisingly, it has taken more than five years in its production to achieve such a result.
Header image: National Geographic. Images: National Geographic, La Voz de Cádiz, ScubaCaribe, Conanp, Aquarium Costa de Almería, Oceanwide Expeditions, Whales Wiki, National Geographic, TapasdeCiencia and Toluna.