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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

World's Largest Animals

Well, in my last blog post, I talked about the world's smallest animals. Now, I'd like to talk about the world's largest known animals. I may decide to cover dinosaurs too. But it is so far highly debatable what the largest known dinosaur is. New species are always being dug up. Anyways, I love animals, as most people who know me already know. I normally really love smaller animals. Or at least the smallest of their kind. But I do love some large animals too. They aren't really "cute", per se. But a lot of large animals are very highly majestic. I will cover those in here.

World's Largest Reptile
The world's largest reptile is the Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), with a full adult length of about 30 feet long at times. Although the largest reliably measured specimen was about 27 feet long. They inhabit the Australasian regions and as their name implies, they live almost exclusively in the ocean and estuaries. A lot of people are terrified of crocodiles, but I have always found them to be fascinating. They are loving parents, and gently tend to their young like birds. They are superb survivors, and they can kick the asses of any type of panther you can imagine!

World's Largest Spider
Well I, as an arachnophobe, don't really want to see this, let alone discuss it, but to be fair, the largest spider in the world is none other than the Goliath birdeater (Theraphosa blondi). This spider is actually a species of tarantula, and it lives mostly in the Amazon jungles. As their name implies, these monster spiders feed on birds, small reptiles and small mammals. But their main prey is large insects. People often keep them as pets, they are very popular in the pet trade, but I don't even want to think about that!!!

World's Largest Invertebrate
Right now, the largest invertebrate animal is believed to be the Colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni). This creature was recently discovered in 1925, known by fragments of tentacles found inside the belly of a sperm whale. In 2007 the heaviest known specimen was captured and it weighed over 1000 pounds and was 15 feet long, but they have been known to reach over 20 feet in length. They are found mostly in the Southern ocean, particularly around Antarctica.

World's Largest Fish
The largest fish known today is the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) they measure about 40-45 feet long and can weigh 20 tons. They can be found in all tropical and temperate oceans. They are not vicious like other sharks, and feed almost exclusively on plankton. It feeds by filtration, using up to 10 filter pads located in the mouth, designed to keep plankton in and filter water out. On top of that, they are also equipped with 350 rows of small teeth to also aid in this process.

World's Largest Amphibian
The largest living amphibian is the Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus). Historically, this creature has grown up to 6 feet in length. Though today, specimens that large are hard to find. These salamanders are hunted because it is believed they have medicinal properties. Pollution and habitat destruction also takes a toll. They are blind, and use sensory folds in the skin to help them find prey.

World's Largest Bird
The largest living bird is the ostrich (Struthio camelus) though the now extinct elephant bird (Aepyornis maximus) is the heaviest known bird at an estimated 800 pounds, and the giant Moa (Dinornis robustus) at 18 feet tall, is the tallest known bird. Ostriches reach a maximum height of about 6 to 7 feet tall, and can run as fast as 60 MPH. Ostriches also lay the largest eggs of any modern egg-layer, with one egg weighing as much as 3 pounds.

World's Largest Mammal
The largest mammal in the world is the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus). They are said to reach 100 feet in length, although some have reported much larger specimens. Like all whales, they are graceful animals, swimming rather slowly and deliberately through the water. Being as large as they are, they don't have many predators as adults. Only the killer whale is really the only known possible predator of these giants. Blue whales feed solely on plankton, and are now critically endangered.

Largest Known Dinosaur
Discovered just last year, the largest known dinosaur to date is believed to be Dreadnoughtus, which was a large sauropod from Argentina that lived about 77 million years ago. It fed on plants and similar matter, and probably had no predators as an adult.
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