Nature’s Giants: The world’s biggest critters

Meet the world’s biggest critters — a surprisingly diverse array of the largest beasts on land and beneath the seas. From apes to spiders to really huge birds, we grow ’em big here on Earth. 


The reportedly largest pig ever (nicknamed “Hogzilla II”) was killed by an 11-year-old Alabama boy while hunting with his father. The boy’s father claims the pig weighed 1,051 lbs and was 9-foot-4 from the tip of its snout to its tail. That would make it roughly 250 pounds larger than the original Hogzilla, a wild hog killed in Georgia in 2004.

Gigantic goldfish, like this one held by University of Nevada, Reno, researcher Christine Ngai, have been found in the waters of Lake Tahoe.

The largest squid and invertebrate is the colossal squid. And the largest of those, caught in 2007 off the coast of Antarctica, weighed 1,091 pounds and was 33 feet long.

This king of herrings was found in Sweden earlier this year. Measured at 11 feet long, the piece of a king of herrings was the first discovered in Swedish waters in over 130 years. Not actually a herring, nor related to the herring in any way, the king of herrings is actually an oarfish. Found in deep waters, the fish’s longest length was recorded at 55.5 feet. The king of herrings is believed to be the source of some sea serpent sightings.

The African Bush Elephant is the largest animal on land. They’re generally 10 to 11.5 feet tall and weigh 12,000 to 13,000 pounds, although the largest elephant on record was 13 feet tall and weighed 24,000 pounds.

The world’s largest single stem tree, by volume, is the General Sherman tree, a Giant Sequoia in California’s Sequoia National Park that stands 275 ft tall — the trunk alone is estimated to weigh over 1,800 tons.


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