Although the largest extant animals on Earth are found in the ocean, there are some gigantic land animals that should only be encountered from a safe distance. The following are the top 5 largest extant land animals.
Top 5 largest land animals
Elephants are the largest land animals. Found in Asia and Africa, elephants are herbivore mammals with three extant species- the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant, and the Asian elephant. The largest species is the African bush elephant which can weigh as much as 8 tonnes (17,637 lbs) and is generally over 3 meters tall. Other species also generally weigh over 3 tonnes.
Elephants have large protruding tusks that serve a lot of purposes like gathering food, removing bark from trees, digging the land, and breaking branches. These large tusks are also helpful for self-defense. The large ears of an elephant work as fans and help in maintaining the body temperature.
Rhinoceros are the second-largest land animals. Like the elephant, Rhino is also a herbivore mammal. There are 5 species of Rhino, 2 are present in Africa and 3 in Asia.
- African White Rhinoceros
- African Black Rhinocers
- Indian one horned Rhino
- Sumatran Rhino
- Javan Rhino
The African White Rhino and the Indian one-horned Rhino have similar sizes. Large males of these species weigh around 2,200 kilograms (4,850 lbs). White Rhinos, Black Rhinos, and Sumatran Rhinos have two horns on their snout. Indian Rhinos and Javan Rhinos have one horn on their snout.
The hippopotamus is Africa’s most dangerous large animal. An aggressive mammal, large adult male Hippos weigh around 2,000 kilograms (4,409 lbs). Hippos are semi-aquatic animals that come out of a water body only to graze, usually after dusk. The large incisors and canines of Hippos are used for combat and have a terrifying bite force of 1,800 psi. Even the mighty Nile Crocodile does not mess with a Hippo.
4. Indian Bison/Gaur
The Indian Gaur/Indian Bison is a large muscular Bovidae. (Bovidae are a family of hoofed herbivores mammals like cattle, antelope, buffalo, bison, etc.). Large adult male Gaurs weigh 1,000-1,500 kilograms (2,205-3,310 lbs) and have two large sharp horns. The majority population of Gaurs is present in India. Small populations exist in Southeast Asia, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh.
Endemic to Africa, Giraffes are the tallest land animals with a typical height of 4-5.5 meters. The large males weigh around 1,200 kilograms (2,645 lbs). There are 8 subspecies of Giraffe. There are some rare instances when large carnivores like lions and hyenas try to prey on Giraffes.
|Species||Average weight (1 tonne=1000 kilograms)|
|African Bush Elephant||6 tonnes (male)/3 tonnes (female)|
|Asian Elephant||4 tonnes (male) /2.7 tonnes (female)|
|African forest elephant||3 tonnes (male) /2-3 tonnes (female)|
|White Rhinoceros||2.2 tonnes (male) /1.7 tonnes (female)|
|Great Indian one-horned Rhinoceros||over 2 tonnes (male)/1.5-1.8 tonnes (female)|
|Black Rhinoceros||800-1400 kilograms|
|Sumatran Rhinoceros||600-1000 kilograms|
|Javan Rhinoceros||1600 kilograms|
|Hippopotamus||1.8 tonnes (male)/1.5 tonnes (female)|
|Indian Bison||1.1-1.2 tonnes (male)/0.7 tonnes (female)|
|Giraffe||1.2 tonnes (males)/0.8 tonnes (female)|