From a forest ghost rarely seen to enormous snakes escaping from wildfires, here are 11 giant animals you (probably) didn’t know existed!!
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11. Praya Dubia
Commonly called the giant siphonophore, the Praya dubia is a deep-sea invertebrate that can be found in waters throughout the world, with a distribution ranging from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific.
10. Giant Armadillo
Nicknamed the ‘forest ghost,’ the giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus) is the largest living armadillo species, reaching up to five feet (1.5 meters) from snout to tail and weighing as much as 110 pounds (50 kg) -- twice the size of the next-biggest armadillo species.
9. Chinese Giant Salamander
Known as a “living fossil,” the Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) is a member of the Cryptobranchidae family, which dates back some 170 million years.
8. World’s Longest Insect
Discovered in the rainforests of Borneo, Indonesia by a villager in 1989, the Chan’s Megastick (Phobaeticus chani) quickly earned the world record title for the longest insect, with its body measuring up to 14 inches (35.6 cm) alone and its length totaling as much as 22 inches (56 cm) counting its legs.
7. Giant Otter
The giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is found throughout north-central South America, primarily in and along the Amazon River, as well as the Orinoco and La Plata river systems.
6. 30-Foot Wild Snake
Wildfires that raged across parts of Indonesia in 2019 forced wildlife to desperately scramble for safety, with many typically elusive species becoming more visible than usual. Unfortunately, many animals died, and locals combating the fires found their charred remains.
5. Giant Isopod
These giant roly-poly looking things are pretty terrifying close up!
The term “giant isopod” encompasses around 20 “supergiant” isopod species from the Bathynomus genus. It is also used to reference the Bathynomus giganteus species in particular, which is considered the world’s largest isopod.
4. Bootlace Worm
Also called ribbon worms or proboscis worms, the bootlace worm (Lineus longissimus) holds the distinction of being the longest animal on Earth. But not many people know about it. Measuring just 0.2-0.4 inches (5-10 mm) wide, it can grow up to 180 feet (55 meters) long, although specimens typically measure between 15 and 50 feet (5-15 meters) long.
3. Giant Huntsman Spider
The giant huntsman spider (Heteropoda maxima) was discovered in a cave in Laos in 2001 by Dr. Peter Jäger of Johannes Gutenberg University’s Institute for Zoology. It hails from the Sparassidae family of large, fast spiders who actively hunt prey and is considered the world’s largest spider by leg span.
2. Goliath Frog
As its name implies, the goliath frog (Conraua goliath) is huge -- in fact, it’s the world’s largest frog, reaching up to 13 inches (32 cm) long and weighing as much as 7.2 pounds (3.25 kg) -- around the same size as a newborn baby.
1. Chinese Paddlefish
Native to China's Yangtze and Yellow River basins, the Chinese paddlefish (Psephurus gladius), also called the Chinese swordfish, was one of the world’s largest fish species. It spent over 200 million years on Earth, emerging into existence before the dinosaurs and surviving the mass extinction that killed them, ultimately prevailing into modern times.
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