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Sunday, September 27, 2015

World's Smallest Animals

Hey everyone! I was just watching a video about the world's smallest and I thought I would do a blog post talking about the world of dwarfism in animals. Especially interesting are the animal groups I love. I've done several posts like this before, and I want to keep the tradition. I tend to love the smallest of everything; smallest dogs, small birds, small fish, everything the smallest I can find. They just look so darn cute!! Much cuter usually than their larger counterparts. People may look at me funny, but I don't care. That's just how I am. I like something small, I guess because to me it looks cute and helpless, and something that would be easy to cuddle. Whereas larger specimens aren't usually quite as cute and don't look as easy to cuddle with. Anyways, let's look at some of the smallest animals of their kind from around the world.


World's Smallest Octopus
The smallest of these 8-legged cephalopods is the Star-suckered octopus (Octopus wolfi). They are found mostly in the Indo-Pacific ocean region and measure about 0.6 inches. They are so small, they would be hard to see in a small tidal pool unless you were really looking for them. They were first discovered in 1913, and because they are relatively new, very little is known about them. But it is hard to believe these small octopus are in the same family as the giant pacific octopus (Enteroctopus), which can grow over 30 feet long.


World's Smallest Fish
The world's smallest fish is only known by it's latin name Paedocypris progenetica. It is in the same zoological family as the koi and goldfish. But it is less than 1/2 inch long. It is possibly even the smallest vertebrate animal in the world. They were discovered in 2006 living in the swamps of Sumatra, which is an island in Indonesia.


World's Smallest Frog
The world's smallest "croaker" is known only by it's scientific name; Paedophryne amauensis. It is a very tiny frog that probably beats out the Paedocypris as the world's smallest vertebrate animal. This frog was discovered in 2009, and officially listed and named in 2013. It was found living among the leaf-litter in the jungles of Papua, New Guinea. They were identified by their calls, which resemble insect calls, but were misidentified for many years. Another interesting fact about these frogs is they do not go through the tadpole stage. Instead they are born perfect carbon-like copies of their parents.


World's Smallest Reptile
The smallest of the reptiles is none other than one of my favorite animals, the pygmy chameleons (Brookesia). Like all chameleons, they have a long, prehensile tail, eyes the swivel independently, and a long tongue that shoots out to capture prey. However, as you can see from this pic, it is not much bigger than a thumbnail. They live among the leaf-litter in Madagascar, and were once poached for the pet trade. They are now protected under the endangered species law.

World's Smallest Snake
The world's smallest snake is the Barbados Threadsnake (Leptotyphlops carlae), also sometimes affectionately known as the "Spaghetti snake", since it is not much thicker than spaghetti. Not only is it the world's smallest snake, it also has the world's smallest range of any snake. It's only found in one small stand of trees in the eastern part of Barbados Island. It feeds on tiny insects and are non-venomous snakes. They spend all their time burrowing underground like earthworms, and are completely blind. They are only capable of finding prey by using their flicking tongue to pick up scent particles.


World's Smallest Bird
The Bee Hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae) is the world's smallest bird. It is found on Cuba and some other small islands in the Caribbean. Their nests are so small, that it can sit comfortably on a person's finger. The eggs are so small, a dozen of them could fit into a teaspoon. As adults, these birds are no bigger than the eyes of the world's largest bird, the ostrich. They live mostly in the jungle, but have been known to build their nests in such places as household plants.


World's Smallest Mammal
The smallest mammal in the world is arguably the Etruscan pygmy shrew (Suncus etruscus), though it is a toss up between this tiny shrew and a tiny bat, which I will get to later. They are mostly found in Eurasia and northern Africa. Their metabolism is so fast that their heart rate is 25 beats per second. They are voracious hunters and hunt down any prey up to the size of small mice by using their short whiskers to feel vibrations in the air. Like all shrews, these animals must constantly eat to keep their body temperature regulated.


World's Smallest Bat
This may be dubiously the world's smallest mammal. At least it deserves an honorable mention. The Kitti's hog-nosed bat (Craseonycteris thonglongyai) is indeed the world's smallest flying mammal. They are mostly found in caves in southeast Asia, and may even sometimes fall prey to such predators as spiders.

Well, that's it for this post, I hope you all found this an interesting subject. Maybe my next post will be all about the world's largest of their kind.
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