In an earlier post, “15 of the World’s Most Adorable Miniature Animals”, we took a look at some extremely diminutive creatures. Now we’re going to go the opposite direction and showcase 15 of the world’s largest organisms, and one honorable mention. These animals aren’t the type to run and hide when a human being comes along, in fact most of them are absolutely too dangerous to approach at all in the wild, but regardless of their size and strength, they have the unique ability to inspire awe.
King of the Castle
(images via whale info, scholastic, daily mail, ocregister)
Not only is the Blue whale the planet’s largest single living animal, it is the largest animal believed to ever have existed on earth. From nose to the tip of the tail, its length spans over 100 feet, dwarfing every and any other animal it could ever encounter. Weighing in at up to 190 tons, this oceanic beast is simply massive. They are severely endangered due to any number of causes, though chiefly whaling, and can be found roaming nearly every oceanic area the world over.
(images via trek nature, galenfrysinger, wikimedia)
While normally a docile creature, the African Bush Elephant is actually as deadly as it is huge. At up to nearly 20,000 lbs it is the largest and most massive creature living on land, and once fully grown, has no natural predators. When provoked, there is nearly no stopping them, but being hunted by humans has landed these giants in a precarious position population-wise.
The Blubber Comes in Handy
(images via greg lasley, oostwestthijsbest)
Elephant Seals live in one of the absolute coldest regions in the world, swimming in icy water and laying on thick glacial ice all day long. They are massive, with bulls weighing up to 6,000 lbs. They routinely provide entertainment to human onlookers by their constant fighting, as the males are extremely dominant and combative.
They Don’t Look Much Like Horses…
(images via birdsasart, daily mail, al blog)
But they’re named after them. Hippopotamuses look like gigantic pigs that swim, but their name is greek for “river horse” and they’re actually more related to whales like the porpoise. They are considered one of the most dangerous animals alive due to their extreme territorial defensiveness, mixed with raw power and sheer weight. If a hippo charges, not much can stop it.
They Don’t Live with Penguins.
(images via bear club, very very fun, firstpeople, wild life archives)
Polar bears do, however, live in an extreme climate, and are the world’s largest species of bear. They can weigh up to 1,500 lbs and usually spend their days swimming in water below freezing temperature, hunting. They’re in danger of extinction now due to a mixture of hunting and climate changes, which are depleting the glacial ice these animals need to survive.
Every Child Knows them, Nobody Wants to Pet them.
(images via ozhosting, ratemyscreensaver, who zoo, biscottis and kangaroos)
Well, someone may want to pet the White Rhinoceros, but nobody would recommend it. Weighing up to nearly 8,000 lbs, the rhino is a huge, thick-skinned animal with very few natural predators. The Salt-Water Crocodile on the other hand, is not the kind of beast anybody looks at and thinks is cute. At up to 3,000 lbs and 20 feet long, it seems more akin to dinosaurs than anything living today.
In the Great White Hollywood Shadow
(images via luxury property, science blogs, currion, bbc)
Movies like Jaws have brought the wrong animal to the forefront of our imaginations. The 40 foot long, 15 ton Whale Shark easily dwarfs the Great White, though it doesn’t have any teeth. Manta Rays have been found with wing-spans of 25 feet and weights of 5,000 lbs, and recently the Giant Squid was knocked off its throne by the Colossal Squid, measuring in at 46 feet.
Ligers are real, and they’re Huge.
(images via rifftrax, guardian, monga bay travel)
While not common knowledge, the “Liger” is not a mythical creature. It’s simply the product of a male lion and a female tiger, and it can weigh 700 lbs at a 10 foot length. The Wild Boar varies in size and weight but Russian variants of the species have been recorded at over 600 lbs. The fabled Anaconda is also real enough, with reports of snakes prowling jungle rivers at lengths of 60 feet.
No List is Complete Without Them
(images via jacks thought rack, exceptional trees)
While not an animal by any means, the General Sherman tree (above, left) is a beast of a tree; it stands 275 feet high, and it’s estimated to be at least 2,700 years old. Lastly, though largely overlooked and not very glamorous, the Pando colony of Quaking Aspen trees in Utah is actually one single organism, connected by one root system, with each trunk actually being a stem. Pando covers 107 acres of land and weighs an estimated 6,615 tons; it is believed to be over 80,000 years old. An honorable mention needs to be made in this category for the African Baobab tree. The largest and oldest specimen is dated at 6,000 years old, and has a 150 foot circumference.