Massive Animals That Actually Exist

As the world has evolved and changed, modern humans have become used to being the largest creatures around. Except for the odd cow, horse, or elephant at the zoo, most of us have never seen truly giant beasts. We know what you’re thinking: whales are the largest mammal, right? Yes, that’s true, but what about giant bugs? Enormous sea creatures? What are the largest animals you can think of? There are all sorts of real-life "monsters" you can run into on this planet. How about a moth with a wingspan bigger than your hand? Or a rodent that stands two feet tall and weighs 150 pounds? Would you be startled to realize that in Florida you could find a crab as big as a trash can just outside your door? Do you consider yourself an expert when it comes to animal facts, or just a casual observer? We've narrowed it down to the 50 most shockingly large animals. How many have you heard of before?

The White Witch Moth

This lichen-style camouflaged moth has a wingspan of up to 12 inches, making it the largest moth in the world. It roams Southern Mexico and most of South America but has been seen up as far north as Texas.


The Irish Wolfhound

This is the largest breed of dog — even larger than the Great Dane. Wolfhounds are an ancient line, with ancestors dating back to 7000 B.C.E in Ireland. They were bred down from war dogs to chase wolves and protect herds.

St Patrick's Day Parade Marches Up New York's Fifth Avenue

The Whale Shark

The biggest fish in the sea is the whale shark, but don’t let its name scare you. This gentle beast can grow to 62 feet long, but it is a filter feeder who eats only plankton and small fish.

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The Goliath Birdeater

This tarantula takes the cake for the largest spider, and it would eat the whole cake, too. This beast lives in the Amazon rainforest and is the size of a dinner plate, with fangs strong enough to pierce skulls. It hunts birds for food, hence its ominous name.


The Chill Capybara

This friendly beast is actually a rodent — the largest rodent in the world. They grow to stand about two feet tall and are known as “living chairs” because so many birds, monkeys, and other animals like to perch on them.

Squirrel monkey and capybara

The Wandering Albatross

This sea bird has the largest wingspan of any bird, averaging 12 feet. They are also the longest airborne birds; some have traveled about 10,000 miles over the sea before landing.


The Giant Gippsland Earthworm

This Australian worm averages at three feet long, but due to its expansion and contraction, it can stretch to almost ten feet. It’s so large, you can hear it making gurgling or sucking sounds as it moves in its underground tunnels.


The Blue Whale

The blue whale is indeed the largest animal in the world by size. It can grow to nearly 100 feet long, and the largest weighs in at 190 tons. These behemoths of the sea eat mostly the itty bitty crustaceans known as krill.


The Stick Insect

This insect may not be the heaviest bug in the world, but it sure is the longest! The longest recorded stick insect was found in China and measured over two feet long.


The Ostrich

This is the heaviest bird alive today, weighing in at an average of 250 pounds. It may be flightless, but it’s quite deadly with a powerful kick and top running speed of 43 MPH.


The Komodo Dragon

Not only is the Komodo dragon the largest lizard in the world, but it is also pretty dangerous. Scientists have discovered glands in the huge lizard’s mouth that secrete toxins that cause shock and paralysis in it's victims.


The Grauer's Gorilla

The largest ape (and that includes humans) is the Grauer’s gorilla, weighing in at 460 pounds and standing at 6’ 1”. As big and powerful as these apes are, they eat primarily fruit, vegetables, and sometimes insects.


The Giant Anaconda

The largest and heaviest snake on the planet is the green or giant anaconda. It can get as large as 17 feet long and 215 pounds and has the ability to swallow animals as large as a jaguar whole.

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The Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing Butterfly

This Papua New Guinea native has the largest wingspan of all butterflies, just shy of ten inches long. They tend to feed off of large flowers like hibiscus plants.


The Japanese Spider Crab

This beast holds the record for longest legged arthropod — it can span 13 feet from claw tip to claw tip. They can also live to be 100 years old.


The Shire Horse

The British shire horse is the largest of its species — up to 17 hands high — and can weigh as much as 2400 pounds. It is draught-horse, traditionally used for farmwork and to haul ale from breweries to public houses.


The Giant Coconut Crab

These terrestrial hermit crabs are the largest land crabs in the world. Not to worry, the massive arthropods eat mostly fruits, nuts, and seeds, but they may try to look for their food in your trashcans.


The Flemish Giant

This domestic rabbit is quite large, sizing up at 22 pounds and 4’ 3” long. It is an unusually docile breed and are popular pets, though they were originally bred for fur and meat.


The Giant Panda

Though not the largest bear in the world, the Giant Panda certainly has the largest appetite, eating up to 40 pounds of bamboo every day. For a long time, experts thought the Giant Panda was not a bear at all, but a relative to the raccoon.


The Colossal Squid

This squid has the largest eyeball of any creature on the planet, measuring in at just over two feet in diameter, as well as the largest beak of any squid. They also have rotating hooks on the ends of their tentacles to help them grab and hold prey.


The Giant Weta

This giant insect is the largest cricket in the world and is native to New Zealand. Its name comes from the Maori language, and means “god of ugly things.”


The Galapagos Tortoise

The largest living tortoise is the Galapagos tortoise. They can weigh up to 919 pounds and live as long as 170 years, making them also one of the longest-lived vertebrates in the world.


The Saltwater Crocodile

The largest of the crocodilians is the saltwater crocodile, which can weigh up to 2200 pounds and reach 17 feet long. It’s an apex predator, meaning it is at the top of the food chain. Crocs have been observed hunting and eating sharks.


The Giant Clam

This clam is the largest living bivalve mollusk. It stays in the same spot for its entire life — up to 100 years — and can grow up to four feet long. Giant clams absorb nutrients from the algae living within their tissues.


The Giant African Snail

This huge land snail is often seen as a pest and voracious eater. It happens to be a vector of many plant pathogens and can ruin entire crops, as well as spread human diseases.


The Golden Eagle

This beauty is the largest bird of prey in North America, with an average wingspan of over six feet. Once they spot their next meal by soaring high in the air, they use powerful talons to snatch up hares, marmots, and ground squirrels.


The Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox

This megabat is of the largest bat species in the world, with a wingspan of 5.6 feet. Though huge, this flying mammal feasts primarily on fig fruits and leaves.


The Killer Whale

This black and white beauty is the largest dolphin in the world, growing as big as 26 feet long and 12,000 pounds. Its unique coloring acts as camouflage, allowing it to sneak up on prey.


The Giant Eland

The largest antelope in the world is the giant eland; adults reach up to 8.3 feet long. These large creatures are excellent jumpers and can clear a six-foot fence with ease.


The Moose

The largest deer in the world is the moose, sized at 6.9 feet tall and 1500 pounds. Their antlers alone can span up to 5 feet and weigh 65 pounds, yet they can still run at 56 mph if threatened.


The Giraffe

The giraffe holds the record for the tallest terrestrial animal, as well as the largest ruminant. To compensate for its height, the giraffe’s heart is two feet long and weighs 25 pounds.

Switzerland Endangered Species

The Red Kangaroo

This powerful kicker is the largest marsupial in the world, and the largest mammal native to Australia. Due to the position of its eyes, this kangaroo’s range of vision is a whopping 300°.


The Siberian Tiger

The largest cat is the Siberian tiger. These fearsome hunters stalk prey ranging in size from salmon and hares to brown bears, if available.


The Chianina Cow

The largest domesticated cow today is the 3300-pound Italian Chianina cow. It is one of the oldest breeds and was once used as a draught animal, but is primarily bred for meat, today.


The Leopard Slug

This slug’s Latin binomial or scientific name, limax maximus, literally means “biggest slug.” They can reach up to eight inches and though native to Europe, have been accidentally introduced to many other places in the world.


The Giant Burrowing Cockroach

This cockroach is the largest in the world and is actually not considered a pest. It lives most of its life buried underground, eating dead leaves and being a vital part of the Australian ecosystem. It can reach more than three inches in length.

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The Ocean Sunfish

This aptly named fish is the largest bony fish in the world. They can grow up to 10.5 feet high and weigh up to 2200 pounds. It also produces the most eggs of any vertebrate animal at one time, as many as 300,000,000.


The Goliath Frog

The Goliath frog is the heaviest living frog in the world, growing up to a foot long and weighing in at up to seven pounds. Goliath tadpoles and eggs are, surprisingly, the same sizes as other breeds of frogs, even though the adults are vastly larger.


The White Rhinoceros

This rhino is the biggest of its species in the world. Its name is a mistranslation from Dutch to English; wijd actually means wide, describing the large, square-like shape of this rhino’s mouth.


The Great Bustard

This bird looks more like a runner, but it is actually the heaviest flying bird. Adults can grow up to 44 pounds, though it didn’t use to be this way. Sexual dimorphism developed in these birds due to females selecting the heaviest males for mating.


The Alligator Tick

These are the largest water bugs in the world, growing as large as 4.5 inches. They are also skilled predators, hunting crustaceans, snails, and even fish.


The Short-Tail Stingray

Reaching 6.9 feet long and 770 pounds, this ray is the biggest stingray in the world. Though it is larger than any other breed, its tail is the shortest in comparison to its body.


The Kodiak Bear

This is the largest brown bear in the world. The average brown bear weighs 800 pounds, but the Kodiak can easily reach 1300-1500 pounds. These bears are naturally active during the day but can become nocturnal if their food supply demands it.


The Mekong Giant Catfish

These fish have scored records for being the largest catfish in the world, reaching lengths of 9.8 feet and 770 pounds. They grow so big so quickly by cannibalizing other young catfish in the first year of their life.


The Asian Giant Hornet

This massive hornet is about the size of your thumb, and they make their nests in tunnels underground. Multiple stings from these hornets can kill a human, and at least 30 lives are claimed in China each year by these territorial creatures.


The Chinese Giant Salamander

The largest amphibian in the world is the Chinese giant salamander. It reaches up to 5.9 feet long and 110 pounds. The Chinese call it “infant fish” because it has a habit of making crying sounds that eerily resemble human children.


The African Elephant

This truly massive creature is the heaviest terrestrial animal in the world. The heaviest recorded elephant was 13 feet tall and weighed in at 23,000 pounds. African elephants form matriarchal groups that are lead by the eldest female.


The Lion’s Mane Jellyfish

This jellyfish can grow even larger than a blue whale. The largest recorded Lion’s Mane was found in 1870 and had a bell that measured 7.5 feet in diameter, with 119-foot-long tentacles.


The Titan Beetle

This big boy is the largest insect in the Amazon rainforest. It can grow up to 6.6 inches long and has mandibles strong enough to snap a pencil in two. It’s impossible to miss them on a walk: they can hiss quite loudly when threatened.


The Liger

Hercules is a liger, a hybrid of a tigress and lion. He is 11 feet long and weighs more than 900 pounds, making him the largest cat in the world. Hercules roams the TIGER wildlife preserve in South Carolina.

Haven, Heywise Staff

Article WriterHaven, Heywise Staff

As a child, Haven enjoyed learning everything they could about many subjects, though the best resource was her grandma’s old stack of encyclopedias in those days. Today, Haven still likes to know a bit about everything. When they're not researching information for their posts or flexing that history degree, Haven's going through the quizzes of other authors on the site - because this is where the facts are found! Visitors to our site turn to Haven's fun and factual articles to learn about all kinds of things, from do-it-yourself ideas to the wider world. Those who prefer to get their facts in article format can find Haven all across the web, as well.

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