Scientists have recently estimated that there are approximately 8.7 million species on Earth, 6.5 million species on land, and 2.2 million in oceans. They believe that 1-2 million of those species are animals. The same study estimates that 86% of all land species and 91% of all sea species have not yet been discovered or described! Sticking to the species we do know about, let’s look at some amazing members of the animal kingdom. OppTrends made a list of 10 incredible animals you should definitely know about.
African Elephant – Largest Land Animal and Strongest Mammal
African elephants are the world’s largest land animals, and the strongest mammals, able to carry up to 9,000 kg – the weight of 130 humans! It’s not just their size (up to 4 meters tall and weigh up to 7 tons) that makes them the most powerful animal on the planet – their trunks contain 40,000 muscles and tendons, and can carry 300 kg. On top of this strength, African elephants are known for their long tusks, growing to over 2 meters and used for digging, defending themselves aggressively from predators, and fighting between males. The average lifespan in the wild is up to 70 years.
Bee Hummingbird – Smallest Bird
The world’s smallest bird, the bee hummingbird, usually grows to be about 2.2 inches (5.6 cm) long. It is native to Cuba. The bird weighs less than a dime and can beat its wings up to 200 times per second. Females weigh 2.6 g (0.092 oz) and are 6.1 cm (2.4 in) long, and are slightly larger than males, with an average weight of 1.95 g (0.069 oz) and length of 5.5 cm (2.2 in). The bee hummingbird is endemic to the entire Cuban archipelago, including the main island of Cuba and the Isla de la Juventud in the West Indies.
Blue Whale – Biggest Animal
Blue whales are the largest animals ever known to have lived on Earth. These magnificent marine mammals rule the oceans at up to 100 feet (30,5 m) long and weigh up to 200 tons. Their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant. Their hearts, as much as a car. The average lifespan in the wild is estimated at around 80 to 90 years. Blue whales live in all the world’s oceans, except the Arctic.
Cheetah – Fastest Runner
The cheetah is the world’s fastest land mammal. They can accelerate from standing still to over 60 mph (97 km/h) in just 3 seconds, or as fast as a car on some highways. The average weight is about 77 to 143 pounds (35-65 kg). The average life span in the wild is 10 to 12 years. Most wild cheetahs are found in eastern and southwestern Africa.
Cuvier’s Beaked Whale – Deepest Diver
Cuvier’s beaked whales are the champion divers amongst whales – they hold the record for the deepest and longest dive for any mammal. 10,000 feet (9,724 feet) is the deepest that a whale has ever been recorded diving. At the same time, Cuvier’s beaked whale has an amazing record of staying underwater for great periods of time; the longest time it was recorded as being underwater was close to four hours –– which is a world record.
Emperor Penguin – Largest Penguin
Emperor penguins are the tallest and heaviest of all penguin species. They may grow to approximately 130 cm (about 50 inches) long and weigh 25 to 45 kg (55 to 100 pounds). They feed on fish, squid, and krill. Emperor penguins are fantastic swimmers and skillful divers. They can reach depths of over 500 m and stay underwater for up to 22 minutes! Underwater, they can reach speeds of up to 15 to 25 miles per hour. The penguin colonies in Antarctica usually consist of thousands of penguins.
Peregrine Falcon – Fastest Sky Diver
When hunting prey, a peregrine falcon can dive through the air at speeds reaching 200 mph (320 km/h), as fast as a race car. At this point, the peregrine falcon is the fastest animal. According to a National Geographic TV program, the highest measured speed of a peregrine falcon is 389 km/h (242 mph). The body of a peregrine falcon is 14 to 19 inches (36-48 cm); the wingspan is 3.3 to 3.6 feet (101-110 cm). They weigh 18.8 to 56.5 ounces (0,5-1,6 kg). The average lifespan in the wild is up to 17 years. Peregrine falcons are among the world’s most common birds of prey and live on all continents except Antarctica.
Sailfish – Fastest Swimmer
Sailfish is the fastest marine animal found in warmer parts of the five oceans of the world. There are two species of fish and both grow quickly, reaching 4-5 feet (1.2-1.5 m) long in a single year. Their color varies from dark blue on top, brownish on the side, and silvery underneath. A sailfish can reach speeds of up to 68 mph (110 km/h), or about as fast as the world’s fastest sailboat.
Scarlet Macaw – Biggest Parrot
The scarlet macaw is the largest parrot in the world and one of the most amazing animals of the tropical rainforest
The body of the scarlet macaw from beak to tail can be as long as 32 inches (81 cm). The average weight is about 1 kg (2.2 lb). Many macaws have vibrant plumage. The coloring is suited to life in Central and South American rainforests, with their green canopies and colorful fruits and flowers. The scarlet macaw can live up to 75 in captivity, although a more typical lifespan is 40 to 50 years.
Snow Leopard – Longest Jumper
Snow leopards have powerful legs and are tremendous jumpers, able to leap as far as 50 feet (15 meters). These big cats use their long tails for balance and as blankets to cover sensitive body parts against the severe mountain chill. The average size is 4 to 5 feet (1,2-1,5 m) with a tail up to 36 inches (91 cm). They weigh 60 to 120 pounds (27-54 kg). Snow leopards live across a vast area in northern and central Asia’s high mountains, including the Himalayan region.