Smallest animals in the world

Posted on Apr 6, 2012 in Size

© Steve Byland – Fotolia.com

Smallest bird - The bee hummingbird

This tiny bird is from Cuba. It has a length of barely 6 cm when fully-grown and weighs less than the coin in your pocket. They feed by hovering whilst slurping nectar from flowers and, according to some estimates, they can flap their wings over 100 times per second. Unsurprisingly, they also lay the smallest bird eggs.

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Smallest mammal – The Kitti’s hog-nosed bat

This tiny animal is found only in Thailand and due to its small size is also known as the bumblebee bat. When fully-grown it measures about 3 cm long and has a wingspan of 12 cm. Like the hummingbird, it weighs about the same as a coin. Incidentally bats are the only mammals that can fly.

 

© Beth Van Trees – Fotolia.com

Smallest predator – The Etruscan shrew

This little animal is also known as Savi’s white-toothed pygmy shrew. It lives in southern Europe, Asia and North Africa and hunts insects and worms. Fully grown it can measure as little as 6 cm from nose to tail. Although only small, this tiny shrew has an enormous appetite and needs to eat regularly throughout the day to keep warm and survive.

 

© Apdk – flickr

Smallest dog – The Chihuahua

The Chihuahua is generally recognised as the smallest breed of dog. At just under 5-inches tall, a short-coat Chihuahua named Ducky (not pictured) is, according to the Guinness Book of Records, officially the smallest living dog in the world. Ducky lives with his owners in Illinois.

 

© Kitch Bain – Fotolia.com

Super small babies – The kangaroo

Kangaroos have very short pregnancies and deliver tiny furless babies. These babies, known as Joeys, crawl into their mother’s pouch when only a month old. Some Joeys are so small they could fit on a teaspoon.

 

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Smallest spider – The patu digua

This tiny spider is no bigger than the full stop at the end of this sentence. It was discovered in the forests of Borneo - goodness knows how.

 

© Isis Ixworth – Fotolia.com

Smallest primate – The pygmy mouse lemur

Discovered in the tropical forests of Madagascar, this tiny lemur grows to about 6-cm in length. In fact its tail is almost as long as its body.

 

Why aren’t insects bigger?

© DeanMurray.com – Fotolia.com

Answer : Whereas humans have lungs, insects breathe using a vast connection of tiny tubes. These tubes deliver oxygen directly to their tissues. However the bigger insects get, the less efficient this method of breathing becomes. Interestingly, thousands of years ago when the atmosphere had more oxygen in it, insects used to be much, much bigger. Indeed millipedes three feet long would not have been uncommon.

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