Life's Little Mysteries

What's the Biggest Animal in the World?

Blue whales can grow to 100 feet (30.5 meters) long and weigh about 400,000 pounds (181,437 kilograms). (Image credit: Sburel | Dreamstime)

Diving to depths of 328 feet (100 meters) to munch on millions of krill each day, the blue whale takes the prize for the largest creature alive (and ever to exist!).

These blue-gray giants extend about 80 to 100 feet (24.4 to 30.5 m) in length and weigh about 400,000 pounds (181,437 kilograms). That's equivalent to the weight of 135 Volkswagen Beetles. Its tongue alone weighs 5,400 pounds (2,449 kg), And the heart of a blue whale is about the size of a VW Beetle.

Even at birth, blue whales are quite large and are considered the largest babies on earth. A blue calf is approximately 26 feet (8 m) long and weighs about 8,000 pounds (3,629 kg), according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Polar bears are the largest species of bear and the biggest carnivores on land. Males weigh about 1,300 pounds (590 kg), and females weigh 650 pounds (295 kg). Other gigantic creatures include the African elephant, which weighs about 12,000 pounds (5,443 kg) and extends 20 to 25 feet (6.1 to 7.6 m) in length.

Although now extinct, the Argentinosaurus a plant-eating sauropod was the largest dinosaur ever to exist. The Argentine Lizard, as its name means, measured more than 123 feet (37.5 m) long and weighed 200,000 pounds (90,718 kg), according to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta.

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Michelle Bryner
Michelle writes about technology and chemistry for Live Science. She has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the Salisbury University, a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware and a degree in Science Journalism from New York University. She is an active Muay Thai kickboxer at Five Points Academy and loves exploring NYC with friends.