15. Goliath Birdeater Tarantula
And mostly, spiders eat flies and in turn get eaten by birds and lizards. Now meet a marvel of nature that lives in the Amazon. The Goliath Birdeater is a member of the tarantula species, so that means it has already gained high levels of creepiness in my books. While I do not exactly suffer from arachnophobia, I am probably tarantula-phobic! Found in the rain forests of South America, it can weigh a whopping 175g or 6 ounces (that is big and heavy for a spider!) and has a leg span of almost a foot. Despite its name, it doesn’t really feed on adult birds but toads, rodents and snakes are a definite affirmative. Just a nature’s tit for tat!
14. Zeus The World’s Tallest Dog
Sadly, Zeus passed away just three days shy of his sixth birthday, a below average lifespan for his breed. Zeus was also a certified therapy dog and to elicit smiles out of people, he would go and sit in their laps. Though at 155 pounds, we don’t know if they were smiles or grimaces!
Before Zeus, the world’s tallest dog according to the Guinness Book of World Records was Giant George – another Great Dane who was just an inch shorter than Zeus and also passed away at just 7 years in 2013.
13. Africa Giant Snail
Slimy and huge, almost the size of a human hand at roughly 8 inches in length and contrary to its name; the African Giant Snail is not geographically limited at all – found in many places, it’s a huge pest problem for crops. Given its size, it has an immense appetite and also multiplies rapidly making it one of the top 10 invasive species on earth.
Considered a pest, it is also capable of aestivating itself – meaning in times of severe drought, it seals itself up in its shell with a calciferous compound and basically takes a very long nap. Big, tough, hardy and slimy – Mother Nature messed up big with this!
12. Darius The World’s Largest Rabbit
Gasp, you say! Well wait until you meet his son Jeff, who still has a bit of growing to do, and yet already measures 3 ft 8 inches. To put it all in perspective, this beastly bunny duo is from a giant rabbit breed called the Continental rabbits which do reach the magnificent length of approximately 4 feet.
The father-son giants tend to chomp through 2000 carrots and 700 apples a year, and feed on a bale of hay each week as well as a bowlful of rabbit food each day; costing their loving owner, 63-year-old Annette Edwards, upwards of 5000 pounds a year.
11. Chinese Giant Salamander
Enter the Chinese Giant Salamander that can grow up to a ginormous 6 feet long. Yep, lizards as long or tall as your next door neighbour. And if one disturbingly big species weren’t enough, you also have the Japanese Giant Salamander which can grow up to 5 feet and the American Hellbender which is smaller at 2-3 feet. For the Chinese Giant though it may soon be curtains for they are on the luxury food list and being heavily poached for their meat, and for their apparent medicinal value.
10. Ludo The World’s Largest Cat
The owners, Kelsey & Mathew Gill from Ryhill, West Yorkshire, UK are themselves surprised at the size of their pet and the fact that despite being bigger, he tends to eat less than their other smaller cats. The world’s longest cat according to the Guinness Book of World Records was Stewie who measured 48.5 inches before finally passing away in 2013 from cancer.
And while these gentle giants of the domestic cat world are very friendly, their larger than average size is often a deterrent for many. Come to think of it, you need to be brave to pet a dog-sized cat.
9. The Goliath Frog
Even if you are not scared of frogs, having this gargantuan croak at you from out of nowhere might just give even the strongest of hearts the heebie-jeebies! The largest frog that I have encountered was about the size of my fist. This goliath here is more than a foot long from snout to vent. With legs extended, it’s even longer! And while they are like other frogs, even their tadpoles being the same sizes as tadpoles of other smaller frog species – they just keep growing a whole lot bigger. Found only in a part of Africa in Cameroon, they are also particularly bad parents. Once the eggs are laid, the parents scram. A whole new meaning to big and mean!
8. Big Jake The World’s Tallest Horse
In horse lingo, this 11-year-old horse is 20 hands; two and three-quarter inches tall and weighs in at an astounding 2,600 pounds. At birth itself, Big Jake weighed in at 240 pounds, which is almost 50 pounds more than the average foal weight of this breed. He was bought to Smokey Hollow Farm in Poynette, Wisconsin as soon as he was weaned from his mother and has been a hitch horse at the farm for a while now.
Despite his big size, Big Jake is surprisingly good with people and has quite the fan following too. And not to be left behind, at the same farm is another big Belgian – Almighty Bruce who is shorter but heavier than Big Jake. Owner Jerry Gilbert is back to doing his Guinness Record paperwork again.
7. Hercules The Liger
Just FYI, the offspring of a female lion (lioness) and a male tiger is called a tigon but tigons are not as big as ligers. Ligers inherit the social nature that lions have, contrary to the solitary nature of their tiger genes. Hercules too is a sociable animal, as much as a wildcat can be, and is the world’s largest non-obese carnivore.
And yet, like with most of the animal world biggies, despite its large and ferocious appearance the spider crab is reported to have a gentle disposition. With its cream body color with orange spots and a rather bumpy appearance, it camouflages well into the ocean floor. To further this illusion, it even decorates its shell with sponges and other sea floor creatures.
Surprisingly, the spider crab is hunted for food and in most parts of Japan, considered a delicacy. Its numbers have been declining due to over-fishing and conservation efforts are on to protect the largest arthropod of the world.
5. Blosom The World’s Tallest Cow
And when it was discovered that Blosom could not bear any calves, her owner Patty Meads-Hanson decided to keep her as a pet rather than send her to the slaughter house. She soon became the official greeter at Patty’s farm – and was soon recognized for her distinctive size.
However, after Blosom seemed to have a fall and damaged a ligament in her hip, she couldn’t stand again. And when no vet could figure out what was wrong with her, she had to be put down.
4. Jeff Corwin Catches Record Breaking Stingray
Not to be left behind, Jeff Corwin, yet another wildlife conservationist and TV personality, caught what is believed to be the largest stingray or perhaps even the largest freshwater fish ever to be caught (on line and reel) from the wild. 14feet, 800 pounds – this aquatic giant was caught by line and reel and it took Corwin and his team over two hours to reel it in – at the Mae Klong river in Thailand.
Several of Corwin’s team took turns slowly, painstakingly reeling this goliath in. The fish was then shifted to a special netted pool to be measured. After that, Corwin tweeted, “Potential world record freshwater fish, giant stingray, 14ft X 8ft! in Thailand filming for ABC’s Ocean Mysteries”…
3. Medusa The World’s Longest Snake
Part of the family of Full Moon productions, Medusa resides as the star attraction of their haunted house exhibit, “The Edge of Hell,” where a common, once-in-two-weeks dinner for her is a 40-pound deer! Before Medusa, the title of the longest snake ever was held by another reticulated python named Fluffy, who measured a respectable 24 feet.
There were also reports of an even longer snake being captured in Malaysia in April 2016, which according to official reports measured over 26 feet and over 550 pounds. Sadly three hours after its capture, the snake died. And so Medusa remains the queen, for now.
2. Lolong The World’s Largest Crocodile
Caught in Bunwan creek in the Philippines province of Agusan Del Sure in September 2011 by a joint co-operative team of the local government unit, local residents and crocodile hunters of Palawan Crocodile & Wildlife Reservation Center; Lolong was hunted over a period of three weeks before he was finally caught. It took almost 100 people to drag him onto land – and Lolong was definitely in no mood to be captured! Estimated to be at least 50 years old, this goliath of a croc was suspected to be a man eater as well as a hunter of water buffaloes. He was named after one of the veteran hunters of Palawan who died of health problems before the actual capture.
At 20 feet 3 inches (6.17m) and weighing 2,370 pounds – Lolong died in captivity in 2013 after suffering from pneumonia and then cardiac arrest.
1. Big Bill The World’s Largest Pig
There were also reports of the Liaoning Provincial Agricultural Museum having appealed to Guinness World Records to recognize a 1984-pound pig which died in February 2009, aged only 5 years, as the biggest pig ever. The pig apparently died because of health problems that originated because he was too big to move – at death, the pig was 2.5 meters long and had a waistline of 2.23 meters! Perhaps the pig got to know about Big Bill…
That said, Big Bill still rules over as the king of all pigs, even posthumously.