Many years before the first human was born, our planet had looked very different. Nature had free rein at that time and so there were all sorts of animals that we no longer know today. Having found relics of them over time, however, we do know that they have lived.
Many animals that live today are descended from predecessors, who often looked different and were much bigger in size than they are today. However, there are still some species today that - unexpectedly - have a considerable length or size. An impressive list can be found on the following pages...
2. German Dog George
The German dog George has the reputation of being the biggest dog for good reason. 'Giant George' weighed no less than 111 kilos, he was 1.09 meters tall and 2.20 meters long. Every month, the giant animal consumed about 50 kilos of food. Since there was no suitable loft for his size, the four-legged friend even slept in a bed. Unfortunately, the huge animal died a few years ago at the age of 8 years...
3. The largest bear
The Kodiak bear is the largest bear species that exists. It is descended from the brown/ grizzly bear and is found exclusively on the islands of the Kodiak Island Archipelago off the coast of Alaska. About 12,000 years ago, the bear was isolated from other bears on the mainland and therefore evolved differently. An adult bear can stand upright more than three meters high. When it stands on four legs, the adult has a height of around 1.30 meters. The bears can weigh up to 700 pounds.
4. The largest animal in the world
The blue whale is the largest animal that lives on earth and is on average about 33 meters long and weighs about 100 tons (!). The huge wale is found in the sea all around the globe. Despite the huge body, the animal lives almost exclusively on small crustaceans that are less than ten centimeters long. An adult blue whale is so large that they have no natural enemies. Humans have nearly killed the whale off, but today hunting it is prohibited, which, fortunately, has increased the population again.
5. The biggest cat
The Maine-Coon cat is the largest existing cat breed. These animals have an impressive appearance, but a calm and stable character. The shoulder height can reach 40 to 50 centimeters, which allows the animal to reach the knee height of a human. The longest Maine-Coon cat of all time (Stewie) was - from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail - 123 inches long. The fur of the cat has mid-length and the animal has a strong skeleton and a long, full tail. After only 3 years, the cat is fully grown and can weigh between 5 and 9 kilos.
6. The largest amphibian in the world
The Chinese giant salamander is the largest amphibian in the world. It lives in cold mountain waters in China and does not come ashore. Its skin is strongly pleated, which means that it can usually absorb enough oxygen from the water without having to breathe air. The largest specimen ever found was no less than 180 centimeters long and weighed 65 kilos!
7. The Australian red kangaroo
The Australian red, muscular kangaroo Roger in the picture above looks like a bodybuilder. The animal - which lived in The Kangaroo Sanctuary Alice Springs - was 2 meters long and weighed almost 100 kilos. With its impressive muscle mass, immense power and broad torso, the kangaroo had grown enough to manage huge jumps. Unfortunately, it died last year at the age of 12...
8. The giant squid
The first giant squid was only spotted on the coast of the Japanese Sea in 2002. It was the first time that such a large squid was seen alive at that location. The animals normally live at a depth of up to 1500 meters below sea level. The invertebrates can reach a weight of 275 kilos. The largest giant squid ever observed even had a length of 18 meters!
9. A pig of 900 kilos
The pig in the photo above weighed no less than 900 kilos. The animal was 2.5 meters long and had a circumference of 2.23 meters. His tusks were 14 centimeters long. The huge animal that lived in the Chinese province of Liaoning died in 2004, but was subsequently dissected.
10. The largest rodent in the world
Melanie and Richard Loveman, a couple from Texas have a special pet: capybara Gary. Capybara's are known as the largest rodents in the world. After the couple saw the animals in the wild during a visit to Venezuela, they decided that they wanted a copy at home. Every day they go for a walk with Gary. In addition, the couple have installed a swimming pool in their backyard especially for the rodent , so that they can cool off.
11. Danish dog Freddy
The Danish dog Freddy is huge. The four-legged friend has already teared 26 (!) couches to shreds in his life, because the dog is always hungry. "Luckily things have been improving lately. Freddy finally knows that benches are not meant to be eaten, but to relax," said his owner Claire Stoneman. The dog eats 1 kilo of mixed meat a day, 250 grams of steak, 300 grams of liver and sometimes roasted chicken and peanut butter on toast: his favorite dish.
12. The largest spider species in the world
The Huntsman Spider is a Chinese hunting spider that is about the size of a human hand. It is - in terms of length (30 centimeters) - the largest spider species in the world. Although it looks frightening, the animal is generally not aggressive and a bite is harmless to (healthy) people.
13. The largest land animal in the world
The African elephant is the largest land animal in the world. Two types can be distinguished: the savanna elephant and the forest elephant. The savanna elephant is considerably larger than the forest elephant and its tusks are bent more. The shoulder height of the animals can be up to 4 meters and the weight of the animals can be 6000 kilos!
14. The largest bird of prey in Europe
This is the largest bird of prey in Europe and one of the largest vultures that exist. Only condors in America are bigger. This bird can reach a wingspan of up to 3 meters and has a weight of between 7 and 12 kilos. They often live alone, but sometimes they do appear in pairs. The bird is found in southern Europe and Asia, from Spain to Japan.
15. The Oarfish
Oarfish occur all over the world in open waters. They can be up to 11 meters long. Because the fish lives in the sea at a depth of 300 meters, relatively little is known about the animal, but some scientists think that the mysterious creature can grow up to 15 meters.
16. A catfish of 293 kilos
In 2005, the largest catfish ever found was caught in northern Thailand. The fish, weighing 293 kilos, had the size of a grizzly bear. The freshwater fish was living in the Mekong River, which is home to more large fish than any other river on Earth. It took fishermen more than an hour to drag the fish onto land.
17. The Bismarck Flying Fox
The Bismarck Flying Fox is a huge bats species, which occurs mainly in the forests of Papua New Guinea. These animals mainly eat fruit, nectar and flowers. On the photo above you can clearly see how large the animal is. It can reach a wingspan of around 1.5 meters. They can live amongst no less than 200,000 other bats in their colonies.
18. Queen Alexandra Birdwings
With a wingspan of 30 centimeters, Queen Alexandra Birdwings are the largest butterflies on earth. Only in 1906, the British naturalist Albert Steward Meek discovered the butterfly in the tropics of Papua New Guinea. the females are generally much larger than the males, which are much more colorful.
19. The Flemish Giant
The Flemish Giant is a Belgian rabbit breed that was first discovered in the nineteenth century. It is the largest rabbit breed, and - compared to other rabbits - very large and heavy. The rodent has ears which are about 20 centimeters long and it can weigh more than 10 kilos. The largest specimen that made it into the the book of records was 1.30 meters long!
20. The largest worm species in the world
The Megascolides australis is the largest worm species that exists. The worm only occurs in a certain part of Australia (hence the name) and can reach a length of around 3 meters. They can also stretch their bodies, making them look much longer!
21. The longest dog tail
The Irish wolfhound Keon has a place in the Guinness Book of World Records because he has the longest dog tail in the world. Its tail is almost 80 centimeters long. "If he is wagging its tail near the car, I am always afraid that he will damage the vehicle," said his Belgian owner.
22. The largest ant species
Ants are the most numerous insects on earth and occupy 20% to 30% of all living beings on earth. The Dinoponer is the largest ant species that exists. The insects live in the Amazon region of South America. You might not expect it, but a bite of the ant can be extremely painful and last for up to 48 hours .
23. The largest crab species
The Japanese spider crab is the largest crab species on earth. This species can grow older than all other crab species and has huge tentacles with strong scissors. The crustacean is found mainly in the depth of the ocean and, despite its enormous size, has natural enemies. However, it has found a special way for this and can camouflage himself. Its legs included, it can grow longer than 3.50 meters and weigh 20 kilos.
24. Freshwater crocodile Brutus
Freshwater crocodile Brutus became famous in 2014 when it was 'caught' in the Kakadu's Adelaide River in Australia after feeding on a bull shark. Despite the fact that the enormous 80-year-old reptile lacks a whole lot of teeth and a leg, the 5.5-meter-long animal devoured the predator entirely.
25. "King" Louie
The giant lobster 'Louie' has the size of a toddler and weighs no less than 10 kilos. That is more than twice as much as the standard lobster, which weighs around 4 kilos on average. It is estimated that 'King' Louie must be 132 years old. Yet he is by no means the largest lobster ever caught. That happened in 1977 off the coast of the Canadian Nova Scotia. That lobster was even 20 kilos in weight.
26. Bandit the raccoon
Bandit the Raccoon won a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest raccoon in the world. The 30 kg animal which suffered from thyroid problems lived with a woman in Palmerton, USA. Until unfortunately it died due to its health problems.
27. The Lion's Mane Jelly
The Lion's Mane Jelly is one of the largest jellyfish that exists. The species can reach 2 meters in diameter and is therefore the largest jellyfish in the world. The record of the biggest jellyfish ever is bizarre. In the year 1870, a Lion's Mane Jelly with a diameter of 2.3 meters and tentacles of 37 meters was washed up in the American Massachusetts Bay!
28. The tallest animal
The giraffe is the world's tallest animal alive and can reach 4 to 5 meters in length. The neck of an adult giraffe is about 2 meters long, making it a great tool to spot danger immediately. The tallest giraffe in the world lived in a zoo in London and reached a height of 6.1 meters high.
29. The Goliath beetle
The Goliath beetle is one of the largest insects in the world. Males can grow up to ten centimeters in size and weigh around 100 grams. The animals mainly live in Africa and become more active as the weather gets warmer. When they feel threatened, they can fly away, the stroke of the wings reminds of the sound of a helicopter.
30. The tallest donkey
When 'Oklahoma Sam' was only 4 years old in 2012, he turned out to have set a world record: With a height of 1.55 meters he could call himself the tallest donkey. In comparison: a 'normal' donkey has an average height of 1.20 meters...
31. The Goliath frog
The Goliath frog is the largest frog species on earth. The beast can reach a length of 32 centimeters, excluding the legs. You can find the 3 kilo heavy amphibian in the rainforests of West Africa, where it mainly feeds on small rodents, insects and lizards.
32. The largest lizard in the world
It looks like a beast from the dinosaur age, the Komodo dragon. The animal can grow up to 3 meters long (because there are no other large predators in its habitat) and is one of the largest lizards on earth. The animal is found in the southeastern part of Indonesia, especially on Komodo Island. The Komodo dragon was only discovered and described by biologists in 1910 .
33. The red Tibetan mastiff
The red Tibetan mastiff is very popular, especially amongst the Chinese people. In China, it is believed that the red color it has brings good luck. In addition, the animal is also a status symbol for wealth. The dog is considered sacred by Tibetans. The most expensive one was sold to a Chinese baron a few years ago for more than 1 million dollars!
34. Greatest Siamese Carp
In Thailand, the heavy Siamese Carp had once been caught. The fish was brought to the surface by the British Tim Webb, whereby the 'fight' lasted no less than 90 minutes. The animal weighed no less than 100 kilos and broke the old record easily. It seems as if carps are getting bigger in Thailand, a few years ago the largest carp caught 'only' weighed 60 kilos.
35. The largest spider in the world
The goliath bird spider is the largest spider that exists. The maximum height of the animal is approximately 12 centimeters. With their legs, however, they can reach a span of up to 30 centimeters. The spiders are found in South America, where they live in swampy and damp areas, mostly in self-dug caves or in abandoned caves by their fellows. They mainly feed on insects, but occasionally eat frogs, lizards or birds...
36. The largest feline
With its length of 3.3 meters and a weight of 419 kilograms, Hercules (see photo above) is the largest feline in the world. Hercules is a liger: a cross-breeding of a male lion and a tigress. Ligers can be twice as large as their parents and do not occur in the wild. They are the result of captive breeding programs. That is why Hercules is completely tame and does not harm a fly.
37. The largest horse in the world
Big Jake has achieved the Guinness Book of World Records with its impressive length. The hoofed animal from Belgium is - with a height of no less than 2 meters and 10.19 centimeters - the world's tallest horse. That made it about 7 centimeters larger than the previous record holder. Big Jake also weighs almost 1200 kilos!
38. Goldfish Big Bob
When the British Anne Cooper bought a goldfish at the local pet store a few years ago, the animal was only one inch long. After that, however, the fish continued to grow to an unusually large size. Meanwhile, Anne had to buy four aquariums, because the fish needed larger glass containers to swim around in. Even the cats in the Brit's house do not like to be close to the aquarium: they are afraid of the huge animal, which has been given the appropriate name 'Big Bob'.
39. The white shark
The white shark is one of the largest predators in the ocean. They mainly occur in the waters off South Africa and Australia, where they can sometimes cause deadly attacks on people. The animals can grow up to 6 meters long and weigh up to 2250 kilos. There are stories that a white shark of 7 meters was caught in 1987, which is a record.
40. The largest predator on land
Polar bears are the largest predators on land, although some brown bears almost reach the same maximum weight. They are very well adapted to the extreme cold of the North Pole. Their fur and fat ensure isolation. Furthermore, they have hairy soles, so that they do not slip on the ice. Polar bears can weigh hundreds of pounds. The record of the heaviest (and largest) specimen weighed no less than 1000 kilograms!
41. The most woolen sheep in the world
The Australian wild sheep 'Chris' is officially known as the most woolen sheep in the world. It was wearing so much wool that people feared for its life. When the soft animal was shaved, 41.1 kilos of wool came off. "It is unlikely that it could survive that way in the outback," said the shepherd who stripped the animal of its wool. The previous record had been broken by a sheep from neighboring New Zealand, which previously carried 28.9 kilos of wool.
42. The giant tortoise
Giant turtles are the largest of their kind. The animals only live in a few places in the world, of which the Galapagos Islands are the ones best known. The turtles can grow up to 250 kilos and also grow very old (at least 150 years). The reptiles are unfortunately a dying species, there are only a few thousand left in the wild...
43. The largest invertebrate land animal
The coconut crab is the largest crab species in the world and is also the largest invertebrate on land. They can weigh as much as a domestic cat (about four kilograms) and their legs span almost a meter. The crabs are known as good tree climbers and coconut lovers (hence their name). The hermit crab has a huge squeeze force - they can squeeze with a force of 300 kilos - comparable to the bite of a large predator such as a lion.
44. The Bathynomus
This giant isopod lives in large numbers in deep, cold parts of the Atlantic. The lobster-like animal can reach a length of 46 centimeters and only occurs at depths between 300 and 2100 meters underwater. These giant isopods feed on fish, shrimp and worms.
45. The longest insects in the world
The Titan Beetle is related to the longicorn and is one of the longest insects in the world. The beetle is found in the rain forests of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Puru, Guyana and Brazil. The huge insects can grow up to 17 centimeters (excluding the tentacles)!
47. The giant 'Moose'
"Windermere's North American Maid", also known as Moose, was a giant horse that won several championships. In addition to its enormous physique, the horse - which died a few years ago - also had talent and participated in various competitions.