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:
16. Japanese Spider Crab
Biggest specimen recorded: 18 ft leg span
One of the biggest animals in the world found alive, at least concerning the leg span is the Japanese spider crab. It is found in waters around Japan, and it is the largest of anthropoid species. Probably the largest specimen ever recorded had the leg span of 18 feet, as was published in Popular Science back in 1920.
Biggest specimen recorded: 20ft
Tallest giraffe ever recorded was George, a huge Masai male who lived in Chester Zoo in Kenya, who died in 1969. He was 20 ft tall (19ft tall with 1 ft long horns). World’s biggest living giraffe is named Zulu; he lives at Folly Farm Zoo in Pembrokeshire, Britain, and he is 19 feet tall.
14. White Shark
Biggest specimen recorded: 20.3 ft
However fearsome they might seem, one of the biggest animals in the world found alive are actually endangered more by us than we are by them, of course. Great white sharks are vulnerable, endangered species thanks to overhunting by humans. According to some sources, the biggest white shark (confirmed) was caught in 1983 on the shores of Canada being 20.3 feet long.
13. Saltwater Crocodile
Biggest specimen recorded: 23 feet
According to Guinness World Records, saltwater crocodiles living in Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary in India are the largest reptiles in the world, and the largest of them being over 23 feet! As the name says, they inhabit both fresh and brackish water of India, Australia, and Southern Asia. They are often seen swimming far off shores.
12. African Elephant
Biggest specimen recorded: up to 24 feet length and 11 ft height
The African elephant is one of the biggest land animals in the world found alive. It’s one of the largest land mammals. As far as it was recently recorded, Satao, the largest African tusker was killed in 2014. He was one of the largest specimens with largest tusks in the world, which were more than 6.5 feet long! He lived in Kenya and was around 45 years old.
Biggest specimen recorded: 26.2 ft
Once, a python named Medusa held the trophy of the largest captive snake alive, being 25 ft 2 in long. But only last year, an even bigger specimen was found. The snake was 26.2 ft long, and it was found on a construction site. Unfortunately, the snake died 3 days after it was found while laying an egg.
Biggest specimen recorded: 28
Anacondas became famous and fearsome animals since they have been popularized in literature and film as monstrous and unbelievably giant killers. Since they are quiet and solitary animals, yet powerful constrictors, it is no wonder they awaken awe and imagination. Among anacondas, green anacondas are the largest. The biggest anaconda ever said to be recorded was 28 feet long, and weighed over 500 lbs, according to Extreme Science. It was one of the longest animals in the world.
Biggest specimen recorded: 32 ft
Orcas are one of the most skillful ocean hunters. They are also known as killer whales because they successfully hunt many of the sea creatures like seals, but also large prey such as whales or sea lions. Orcas are the largest of the dolphin family animals, and the largest specimen ever recorded was 32 feet long.
8. Whale Shark
Biggest specimen recorded: 41 ft
Whale sharks rank 8th on our list of biggest animals in the world found alive. They hold the title of the largest fish in the world. While the word shark and its looks might awaken different thoughts, this shark feeds similar to fin whales, for example, filtering the water through its massive jaws, and eating plankton and other small ocean organisms. Biggest of the biggest fish holds the Guinness World Record, being 41 ft and 6 inches.
7. Giant Squid
Biggest specimen recorded: 43 ft
Mighty Kraken, giant sea monster attacking ships, has fired the imagination of many generations; many myths were created about it, and it still awakens awe and fear in those who still hope it is still out there somewhere wandering the cold northern seas. It was probably inspired by a real thing, which is among the biggest animals in the world actually found alive – the giant squid. Giant squids are rarely seen, and the first one caught alive on camera was recorded only in 2006. Since this is a legendary, there are many claims of the monstrous size of specimens. But, the largest recorded one was “only” 43 feet long.
6. Giant Oarfish
Biggest specimen recorded: 56 ft
Giant oarfish is the largest species of bony fish. There are some rumors that this deep-sea giant can reach even up to 110 feet. Anyhow, this is a species living in depths about 650 feet and even deeper. Sometimes they get washed on shores and scientists are not quite sure why this happens, since they are deep water creatures.
5. Northern Pacific Right Whale
Biggest specimen recorded: 64.9
Northern Pacific right whales are one of the most endangered whale species, due to massive hunting. There are just around 500 specimens of these giant creatures today. For example, in 1963 112 whales were killed in Alaskan waters, most of them pregnant females, among which the largest recorded specimen of the northern Pacific right whales.
4. Sperm Whale
Biggest specimen recorded: 60 ft
Apart from being among the top biggest animals in the world found alive, sperm whales are also the largest toothed whale species. They are recognizable by their huge heads, as they are species with the largest brains that have ever lived. It is believed that sperm whales’ greatest enemies, and favorite food, are one of also the biggest animals we have seen earlier – giant squids since many sperm whales were recorded with scars that could have come from these animals. Interestingly, males can grow as much as twice the size of females, being up to 60 ft long and weighing around 40 tonnes.
3. Fin Whale
Biggest specimen recorded: 89.6 ft
We are continuing our list of biggest animals in the world found alive with Fin whales, which are second biggest animals in the world. These whales are also known as the greyhound of the sea because they can develop a speed of 40 km/h. Although they inhabit waters of every ocean, there are only around 50 – 90,000 living specimens today, as they are hunted by humans, and around 750,000 of them were killed between 1904 and 1979. Female fin whales are slightly larger than male, and the largest of them reach up to 89.6 ft and up to 120 tons!
2. Lion’s Mane Jellyfish
Biggest specimen recorded: 7 ft bell and 120 ft tentacles
Lion’s mane or giant jellyfish is the biggest of its kind. Although not being the most massive as we have seen until now, these animals are among the most robust ones. The largest specimen recorded had 120 ft long tentacles! What makes this jellyfish a real giant are its tentacles: it has 8 clusters with around 150 tentacles in each that are usually of up to 100 ft in length! One more amazing feature about this animal is that it can produce its own light.
1. Blue Whale
Biggest specimen recorded: 112 ft
So, we have finally come to the number one of the biggest animals in the world found alive, and also the largest animal in the world ever recorded. Yes, bigger than any dinosaur ever. These amazing animals can live up to 90 years, and weigh up to 200 tons. The blue whale is also the largest mammal in the world whose calves are about 25 feet long and weigh around 3 tons. But these huge animals only feed on krill, and they need up to 4 tons of food daily! The largest specimen recorded was 112 feet long, and the heaviest one weight 245 tons. With this largest sea creature ever we are finishing our list.