Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Biggest Animals on Earth

In the Animal kingdom, size is a big factor in the battle for survival. For these large animals, predators are scarce but illegal hunting activities reduce their number considerably. Contrary to many expectations, the largest animal on Earth was not a dinosaur. The largest known to man was more than half the size of a blue whale. Here are the superlatives in terms of size for the wild.

Biggest living animal on Earth – The Blue whale
Biggest weight ever recorded for a blue whale was 190 tones and was 30 m (100 ft). Since whaling was banned, a 7.3% per year increase has been noticed since Soviet Union whaling has ended. Sadly, the Blue Whale remains listed as “endangered” on the IUCN Red List of threatened species

Biggest land animal – The African Bush Elephant
The baby elephant at birth weighs an amazing 100kg while the biggest elephant recorded weighed 12,272 kg or 13.5 tons. The African Bush Elephant is found in most African countries excluding the Sahara and tropical rainforest of the Congo. Currently, elephants are endangered and almost exterminated in some parts of the continent by ivory poaching.

Biggest carnivore on Earth – The Southern Elephant Seal
The record for the species is held by an animal having a weight of 5,000 kg (11,000 lb) and a height of 6.9 m (22.5 feet). Inhabitants of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands, hunting led these seals on the brink of extinction in the 19th century, but the total population now reaches 600,000.

Biggest primate on Earth - The Eastern Lowland Gorilla
The Largest living primate is this black gorilla; a male of this species reached over 225 kg (500 lb) and 1.83 m (6 ft) in the wild. Overall, the largest primate ever to walk the Earth was the Gigantopithecus, which, according to estimations, reached 3 m (10 ft), weighing 300 to 550 kg (700 to 1,200 lb). Only found in the tropical forests of eastern Zaire, Africa, fewer than 5,000 gorillas may remain according to the latest estimates.

Biggest rodent in the world - The capybara
If you thought mice and rats were an issue, meet the largest of their kind, the capybara. An adult can reach 80 kg (176 lb), 1.5 m (5 ft) long and 90 cm (3 ft) tall. The population is stable and the capybara is not considered a threatened species.

Biggest reptile in the world - The Green anaconda
Main character for many horror movies, the largest anaconda to be recorded had 9.5 m (31.4 ft) and 250 kg (550 lb), although larger ones do exist. The largest anaconda to be captured, even though it was not weighed because it escaped, was 11.43 m (37.5 feet).

Biggest bird the world – The Ostrich
Related to the extinct Elephant Birds of Madagascar, that exceeded 3 m (10 ft) and 500 kg (1,120 lb), the Ostrich currently has the title for biggest bird. It can reach 2.7m (9ft) and a weight of 156 kg (345 lb). Its eggs are the largest eggs in the world, reaching 1.4 kg (3 lb).

Biggest fish on Earth - The Ocean Sunfish
The Sunfish is the largest bony fish, reaching 3.6 m (12 ft), a height of 4.5 m (15 ft) and a weight of 2,273 kg (5,000 lb). Found in tropical and temperate waters around the globe, the sunfish has few natural predators and are considered a delicacy in Japan or Taiwan.

Biggest insect in the world – Giant weta
If you are afraid of tiny roaches in your kitchen, this can possibly freak you out.The weta is the biggest living insect, weighing 71 grams. Endemic to the New Zealand archipelago, 16 of the 70 species of weta are now at risk of disappearing. To prevent them from going extinct, programs have been implemented since 1970.

credited to flickr users: radek2166, mgsbird, lillianbennett, tut99, lipkee, riordan david, funkenclimb


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