Most school kids will be able to tell you that the heaviest animal in the world is a blue whale… and probably that the elephant is the heaviest animal on land. But what about the second heaviest animal in the world? Or the heaviest bird?
In the article below we look at the heaviest animals in the world by category: The all time top 10 heaviest, the heaviest land animals, the heaviest birds, and the heaviest animals by category (mammals, reptiles, rodents etc.)
The 10 heaviest animals in the world
The heaviest living creatures are all whales (and so also the heaviest mammals in the world). The below measurements are for the largest specimen of each species ever found. Interesting fact, as there are no scales large enough to measure these huge animals, most whales have actually been weighed in parts!
1. Blue Whale: 190 tons
In terms of absolute size, the blue whale is the largest animal alive today, and the largest that has ever lived, reaching a body length of around 30 meters, and an average weight of around 180 tons. Blue whales are, of course, also the heaviest mammal.
Their heart alone can weigh as much as a car, and their tongue as much as an elephant. Newborn blue whales weigh around 3 tons, and the largest known blue whale ever recorded was an astonishing 190 tons!
2. North Pacific right whale: 120 tons
3. Fin whale: 120 tons
4. Bowhead whale: 120 tons
5. North Atlantic right whale: 110 tons
6. Southern right whale: 110 tons
7. Sperm whale: 57 tons
8. Humpback whale: 48 tons
9. Sei whale: 45 tons
10. Gray whale: 45 tons
The 1o heaviest land animals in the world
The below list details the 1o heaviest land animals in the world, which (as with the whales above) are all mammals. Six of the 10 heaviest land animals are found in Africa.
1. African elephant: 12.25 tons
The largest land mammal and biggest living animal on land is the African bush elephant (one of three African elephant species, along with the savanna elephant and the forest elephant), which can grow to 4.5 meters tall at the shoulder, six meters long, and weigh up to 12 tons. These enormous beasts are currently listed as venerable in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
2. Asian elephant: 8.15 tons
Not sure of the differences between African and Asian elephants?
3. African forest elephant: 6 tons
4. Hippopotamus: 4.5 tons
5. White rhinoceros: 4.5 tons
6. Indian rhinoceros: 4 tons
7. Black rhinoceros: 2.9 tons
8. Javan rhinoceros: 2.3 tons
9. Giraffe: 2 tons
10. Bison: 1.8 tons
The 10 heaviest birds
These 10 birds are the heaviest of all living bird species, with the weight based on the maximum reported weight for each species.
Although only around 2% of bird species are flightless, all except one bird on this list (the wild turkey) is unable to fly. This is because flightless birds have evolved to have denser bones and larger, heavier bodies than those that can fly. Read about the biggest birds in the world.
1. Common ostrich: 156.8 kgs
The common ostrich is the tallest and heaviest bird in the world, with an average height of over 2 meters (sometimes as tall as 2.7 meters) and a weight of up to 160 kg. At this size, the ostrich is, of course, flightless, but can outrun plenty of animals with its top speed of 69 km per hour. Their long, powerful legs double up as defensive weapons which pack a powerful kick to would-be predators.
Fun ostrich fact – these heavy animals are able to survive without water for days, generating water internally and extracting water from vegetation.
2. Somali ostrich: 130 kgs
3. Southern cassowary: 85 kgs
4. Northern cassowary: 75 kgs
5. Emu: 70 kgs
6. Emperor penguin: 46 kgs
7. Greater rhea: 40 kgs
8. Wild turkey: 39 kgs
9. Dwarf cassowary: 34 kgs
10. Lesser rhea: 28.6 kgs
Heaviest animals in the world, by type
Here are the top weights of various categories and animal families:
Heaviest animal: Blue whale, 190 tons
Heaviest fish: Whale shark, 20 tons
Heaviest land animal: African bush elephant, 6 tons
Heaviest seal: Elephant seal, 4 tons
Heaviest reptile: Saltwater crocodile, 2 tons
Heaviest bear: Polar bear, 900 kg
Heaviest bird (flightless): Common ostrich, 156 kg
Heaviest snake: Green anaconda, 98 kg
Heaviest rodent: Capybara, 91 kg
Heaviest penguin: Emperor penguin, 45 kg
Heaviest flying bird: Wild turkey 22 kg
Heaviest crustacean: American lobster, 20 kg
Heaviest bird of prey: Andean condor, 15 kg
And that’s your lot for the heaviest animals in the world. What do you think – did any of these world’s heaviest animals surprise you? Or have you met any of these enormous animals in the wild? Please do share your experiences in the comments section below!