This time we will check out the biggest animals in the world found alive. So, if you came here for another Loch Ness story or other cryptozoology discoveries, you are at the wrong place, because here we will deal with some real facts.
It maybe sounds weird to know that we live in the age together with the biggest animal in the world ever. But let’s not spoil all the fun now, you will see which one it is further down on our list. On the other hand, concerning the biggest animal on land, scientists have recently discovered one new species. That is a dinosaur which lived during the Cretaceous period in Patagonia region of Argentina. That is magnificent Patagotitan mayorum, or, titanosaur, a long-necked sauropod. It has just recently been discovered, and you can see the full reconstruction of it in the National Museum of Natural History in New York since 2016 as a part of a permanent exhibition. It is so large that it couldn’t fit in the single room, Its head and the tip of the tail are sticking out! Anyway, compared to the species living today, titanosaur weighed as much as 12 African elephants (which is around 69 tons) and was more than 120 feet long.
On the contrary, let’s see which the smallest animal in the world is. Concerning mammal species, the tiniest of all is the hog-nosed bat (Craseonycteris thonglongyai) popularly called the bumblebee bat. It grows only 22-26mm and weighs as little as 2 grams. Among the smallest insects are the thrips, growing up to just 1 mm. Discover Magazine gave a nice scale comparing Megaphragma mymaripenne, one of these thrips to the amoebas and paramecium, as you can see here.
Of course, with the mention of the biggest animals in the world found alive, everyone wants to see the proof. Probably the animals whose sizes became more myth than reality are snakes. Maybe that’s because snakes are the easiest to fake on videos and photos, so no wonder you will find a lot of those “biggest snake in the world videos” on YouTube or wherever else. Or maybe because large snakes are one of the most fearsome animals because they can eat large prey, and therefore humans as well. And, yes, there have been many snake attacks on people (primarily pythons, as you can also see on 20 Most Deadliest Snakes in the World). But even though, some snakes overestimate themselves, such as one of the largest snakes in the world which was found dead because it was trying to eat an alligator and burst after swallowing it! On this matter now, you can also check out some of the 11 Countries with the Most Dangerous Animals.
But, let’s leave snakes aside for now and get back on the issue of biggest animals in the world found alive. Now, what do we mean when we say the biggest animal? We focused our research on large, huge animals, comparing not only their length but also mass and volume. In case we focused on the length as the primary criterion, we would have gotten the bootlace worm (Lineus longissimus) ahead of everyone on the list of biggest animals in the world found alive. This animal is a part of a huge family of ribbon worms and lives in the waters of North Sea. It can reach up to 197 feet in length, but, as their name says, they are around an inch thick. It is surely not the largest sea animal but surely is the longest.
So, back to our criteria. Having in mind length, volume and mass, we have turned our search towards that direction. We got some of the guidelines from LiveScience, National Geographic, and BBC Earth. Then we have checked some other resources such as DinoAnimals and Ocean Portal, to name a few. Of course, some of the largest animals were also included in Guinness World Records, so we have also taken that into account.
You are probably curious to see the biggest animals in the world found alive now, so let’s go and see some of the Earth’s biggest giants: