The Earth has animals whose size is incredibly imposing. Some of them weigh several tens of tons! In America, we do not have the opportunity to come across them often in their natural environment. At most, we can count on zoos, animal parks, and aquariums, allowing us to observe some of them. Zoom on ten mastodons to discover absolutely.
1- The blue whale
Also called the blue whale, the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is a cetacean that belongs to the Balaneopteridae family. It is an aquatic mammal. The whale in adulthood displays extraordinary measurements that elevate it to the largest animal in the world living today. Its length can reach 30 m and its mass 170 tons; its liver weighs 1 ton and its heart 600 kg. The male sports a penis of 2.40 m long.
After a gestation period of 10 to 12 months, the calf is already 7 m in length and weighs 2.5 tonnes at birth. The speed of his growth is impressive since he takes 90 kg every day. He is breastfed by his mother for about eight months, during which time he swallows up to 570 liters of milk daily.
The sexual maturity of the whale (male and female) is not sufficient until the age of 5 to 15 years. As for the longevity of this cetacean, it is estimated at 80 years by scientists. The species has come close to extinction due to intensive illegal hunting. However, it is on borrowed time today and has unfortunately joined the long list of endangered animals. Pollution also has a severe impact on the acidification of the oceans due to global warming.
2 – The whale
It is a cetacean that ranks just after the blue whale in terms of size and mass, second among the largest animals on our planet, at least according to current knowledge. The fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) measures 27 m in length and reaches 70 tonnes. In addition to being among the largest animals globally, it ranks first among the loudest marine mammals.
The gestation period lasts seven months, at the end of which usually only one minke whale is born out of the five or six fetuses in each litter. A female whale can carry single debris to term approximately every three years. It is at the age of 6 months that her baby is totally weaned. He is still very young but still measures a good dozen meters in length!
The fin whale, having been classified as an endangered animal, it has been the subject of protection. As a result, since 2018, its status has changed from “threatened” to “vulnerable.”
3 – The Whale Shark
A unique representative of the genus Rhincodon, the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is a cartilaginous fish that can be distinguished from other shark species thanks to its checkerboard lineage. It measures, in adulthood, 20 m in length for a weight of around 35 tons, impressive measurements that allow it to hold the title of the largest fish on the planet currently alive. It is a shark that is entirely harmless for humanity and shows no signs of aggression.
Scientists estimate the life expectancy of the whale shark to be between 110 and 150 years. But what we are sure of is that this species is endangered.
4 – The Excellent Sperm Whale
It is also called macrocephalic sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus or P. catodon) or simply sperm whale. A unique representative of the genus Physeter, this toothed cetacean recognized as being the largest predator on the planet currently alive can apnea reach depths of 900 m. It measures between 20 and 25 m long, and its weight can be around 15 tons. Its longevity is about 70 years. The species is classified as vulnerable.
5 – The African Elephant
The African elephant (Loxodonta) is a mammal that belongs to the Elephantidae family. Today it is divided into two species, the African forest elephant (with small circular ears) and the African savanna elephant (with more extensive and more prolonged ears). With 7 m in length, 3.50 m in height, and a weight of about 7 tons, it is the largest land mammal currently living.
Highly sought after by poachers, the African elephant is an endangered and protected species.
6 – The Elephant Seal
It forms the genus Mirounga and belongs to the Seals’ family (Phocidae), of which it is currently the largest living representative. This genus has two species, the northern elephant seal and the southern elephant seal. The latter is the largest with its 6 m length and its mass of 4 tonnes. In terms of threat, the concern is minor.
7 – The White Rhino
The white rhino (Ceratotherium simum) is currently the only species representing the genus Ceratotherium, but it is the largest of all species’ rhinos. It measures 4 m in length, 1.80 m at the withers, and can weigh up to 3.5 tonnes, which does not prevent it from reaching peaks of 50 km / h due to its impressive musculature. It is now an endangered species, in part due to poaching.
8 – The Hippopotamus
The hippopotamus is the term for several species of mammals forming the Hippopotamidae family. The common or amphibious hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) has an average length of 3.50 m, a height at the withers of 1.75 m and can reach a weight of 3.5 tons. Classified among the most dangerous animals in Africa, it is incredibly aggressive, and it is impossible to anticipate its reactions. Its longevity is more or less 40 years. A serious threat hangs over the species today.
9 – The great white shark
The only representative of the genus Carcharodon, the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), belongs to the Lamnidae family. This ovoviviparous fish displays in adulthood a length of 6 m and a weight of 2 tons. Steven Spielberg introduced the general public to this species through his film adaptation of the tale “Teeth of the Sea” by writer Peter Bradford Benchley. This fish is dangerous but is not necessarily a “man-eater.” Moreover, shark attacks on humans being sporadic; we cannot determine the exact cause.
10 – The Giraffe
The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is an ungulate ruminant mammal that belongs to the Giraffidae family. It reaches 6 m in height in adulthood and weighs 1.5 tonnes. Her baby, the giraffe – which we can also call giraffes – comes into the world after 15 months of gestation. At birth, he weighs 80 kg and still measures 2 m high! The giraffe is one of the vulnerable species; its numbers have fallen by more than 40% in a few years.
There are many other impressive animals, including the sunfish. It is 2 m in length and weighs 1 ton. And among the bears, we can not forget the Kodiak bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi). It is the largest of the terrestrial carnivores and the white bear or polar bear (Ursus maritimus). The first is 3 m in length, 1.50 m at the withers, and weighs 850 kg. The second reach 3 m long, 1.50 m at the withers for a relatively moderate weight of 700 to 800 kg, but at present, the enormous mass observed in a polar bear is 1.10 tonnes.