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Behemoths: The Largest Animals in the World

Animals are cute, fuzzy, intersting, and everything in between, but what of the giants among them? These are 15 of the world's largest animals from nearly every genus that you may or may not have heard of! Can you guess which is the largest of them all?

The African Bush Elephant

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The African Bush Elephant is the heaviest and largest land animal, with males reaching a height of 3.5 meters. They also weigh on average about 6 tons (13,000 pounds). The females are much smaller and weigh about half of the males' weight (3 tons). Due to their colossal size, the African Bush Elephant usually does not have predators, although calves are vulnerable to attacks by other predators, namely crocodiles and lions.

The Giraffe

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The tallest land animal in existence, standing at a height of 5-6 meters (16-20 feet) and weighing in at about 1,600 kilograms (3,500 pounds) for males and 830 kilograms (1,830 pounds) for females. The neck of the giraffe alone reaches a length of over 2 meters (about 6.7 feet). Giraffes inhabit most of Africa and live in savanna, grassland and woodland areas. Despite their large size, giraffes are preyed upon by lions, leopards and other predators.

The Southern Elephant Seal

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The name of this seal most likely gives away its title as the largest carnivora, or meat-eating species. Males can weigh in between 2,200-4,000 kilograms (4,900 to 8,800 pounds) and are between 4.5 and 5.8 meters long (about 15-19 feet). Despite the large size of the males, there is extreme sexual dimorphism, or difference in size, between males and females. The female size is much smaller, and they usually weigh between 400-900 kilograms (880 to 2,000 pounds) and they are 2.6-3 meters long (about 8.5-9.8 feet). The Southern elephant seals dive repeatedly to hunt for their food, for about 20 minutes at a time, which may explain why they need all that body mass to keep them warm under water.

The Polar and Kodiak Bears

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While the Southern Elephant Seal is the largest carnivore in the world, the Polar Bear and Kodiak Bear are the largest land carnivores on the planet. Both kinds of bears have similar body sizes and it is unclear which bear is actually larger. They both reach a length about 3.05 meters (10 feet) and weigh in at 1,003 kilograms (2,210 pounds) and 1,135 kilograms (2,500 pounds) respectively. The major difference between these two bears is the climate they live in, with the polar bear living in arctic and frigid climates and the kodiak bear in forest or tundra climates.

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The Saltwater Crocodile

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This scary beast is the world's largest reptile and habituates areas of Northern Australia, Southeast Asia and the eastern coast of India. The adult male saltwater crocodile weighs in at about 409-1,000 kilograms (900-2,200 pounds) and has a length of 4.1-5.5 meters (13-18 feet). Some mature male crocodiles can even reach an astonishing length of 6 meters (20 feet)! The saltwater crocodile is an exacting and opportunistic predator that can take nearly any animal that enters its territory.

The Chinese Giant Salamander

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Although this creature looks like something out of a horror movie, the Chinese Giant Salamander is the world's largest amphibian that is also, unfortunately, a critically endangered species. Chinese giant salamanders can reach a length of 180 centimeters (about 6 feet) and live in rocky mountain streams in certain areas of China and Taiwan. The species is nearly extinct today due to habitat loss, pollution and its role as a delicacy and use in folk medicine. Hopefully, this giant species will soon be protected so future generations will also be able to stare in wonder that this beautiful giant salamander.

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The Flemish Giant

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If you thought that all bunnies were cute, fluffy and little then you were wrong! The Flemish Giant is a Belgian species of rabbit that is officially the largest rabbit or hare in the world. These furry giants can weigh up to 12.7 kg (28 pounds), and, as evident in the photograph below, can reach the size of a full grown Collie dog! This rabbit is also domesticated and is a popular pet, as well as a show animal.

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The Giant Golden Crown Flying Fox

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The largest bat in the world, the giant golden crown flying fox (that's a mouthful) can reach a maximum size of 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) in weight, 55 centimeters (22 inches) in length, and a wingspan of about 1.8 meters (5.9 feet). These huge bats are gravely endangered and almost extinct and live in rainforests of the Philippines. And don't worry about these megabats attacking you because they are herbivores and consist on a diet of fruit and leaves.

The Capybara

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The largest rodent in the world, the capybara hails from South America and inhabits savanna and forest environments near water sources. Full-grown capybaras can reach a length of 1.5 meters (4.9 feet), a height of 0.9 m (3 feet) and a weight of 105.4 kilograms (232 pounds). This furry and friendly rodent lives in groups as large as 100 individuals, and unfortunately is hunted for its meat and hides. One thing is for certain, these big guys couldn't be cuter!

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The Ocean Sunfish

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The world's heaviest bony fish, the average Sunfish can weigh in at 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) and a length of 1.8 meters (5.9 feet)! These stunning fish are native to tropical and temperate waters, feeding off of jellyfish and other large prey. Female sunfish produce more eggs than any other vertebrate, or species with a spinal cord.

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The Green Anaconda

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The largest living reptile, the Green Anaconda lives in neotropical riverways in South America, usually in the Amazon. They can reach a size of 7.5 meters (25 feet) in length and 250 kilograms (550 pounds) in weight), although there are rumors of even larger anacondas. The Green Anaconda is rivaled in its reptile weight only by the Komodo dragon native to the island of Komodo, Indonesia.


The Dalmatian Pelican

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Officially the heaviest flying bird in the world, the Dalmatian Pelican is over 160-180 centimeters (63-70 inches) in length, weighs between 11-15 kilograms (25 pounds)k, and can still fly impressive distances! The bird breeds in areas of southeastern Europe to India and even in China in swamps and shallow lakes.

The Japanese Spider Crab

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This crab is spectacular! It is the largest arthropod, or invertebrate animal, in the world with legs measuring up to 3.8 meters (12 feet) in length! But if that wasn't enough, these crabs are heavy too and weight about 19 kilograms (41 pounds). The crabs inhabit the waters of Japan and feeds on shellfish and animal carcasses. Some of these species can even live for up to 100 years!

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The Ostrich

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This is one of the more commonly-known species on the list, but don't underestimate the size and might of the ostrich! These birds, however cannot fly, which may be due to their large and hefty size. The birds can reach a height of 2.8 meters (9.2 feet) and can weigh over 156 kilograms (345 pounds), however they are some of the planets fastest runners, reaching ground speeds of 70 km/h (or 43m/h). They also lay the world's largest eggs. As you can tell, these magnificent birds hold a number of superlative titles.

The Blue Whale - The World's Largest Animal

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The Blue Whale is officially our planet's largest animal, with a length of 30 meters (98 feet) and a weight of 170 tonnes (or 190 tons). The tongue of the Blue Whale alone weighs around 2.7 metric tons (5,952 pounds), about the size of an average Asian Elephant. Its heart can weigh up to 600 kilograms (1,300 pounds), the largest known heart in any animal, about the size of a Mini-Cooper. Despite its gigantic size, the Blue Whale feeds on small to miniscule creatures called krill, consuming about 3.6 metric tons (7,900 pounds) of them a day! This giant marine mammal is truly extraordinary!

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