The 8 Tallest Animals in the World

Written by AZ Animals Staff
Published: June 14, 2021

Whether you’ve been on an African safari, taken a walk around a zoo, or just looked through some nonfiction books, you likely know that there are a number of animals on this planet that are tall—much taller than us humans are! Which animals are the tallest, though and just how tall are they? Keep reading, and you’ll learn about some of the tallest land animals that share our planet with us.

#8 Tallest Animals: American Bison

Tallest Animals: American Bison
American Bison, the largest mammal in North America help to maintain a healthy and balanced ecosystem by aerating the soil with their hooves and disperse native seeds.

If you’re looking for tall animals, look no further than the American bison. Their height can range from about 5 feet 6 inches to 6 feet 1 inch when measured to the top of their shoulders. In addition to their height, Bison are just large in general; they can weigh up to 2,000 pounds.

While American Bison were once abundant across parts of North America, due to hunting, viruses, and other threats, their population significantly decreased during the 19th century. While they still have a near-threatened conservation status, the American Bison population is growing some. There are over 30,000 located in various United States preserves and National Parks. The American Bison even became the national mammal of the United States in 2016 when Barack Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act into law.

You can find American Bison in different zoos including the Minnesota Zoo, Oakland Zoo, and Buffalo Zoo.

#7 Tallest Animals: Shire Horse

Tallest Animals: Shire Horse
Despite their size, Shire horses are a perfect example of gentle giants. They are known for being docile, laid-back and easy to train.

While most horses you’ll find are relatively tall, Shire horses are the tallest. They can be about 5 feet, 7 inches tall to the shoulder blades, also called the withers. If you’re familiar with horse heights, this is about 17 hands tall. Don’t forget, there is still additional height beyond the shoulder blades, with the horse’s head and neck. Shire Horses typically weigh between 1,870 and 2,430 pounds.

Shire horses were descendants of the English Great Horse. Used in battle to carry men in a full suit of armor, these great horses clearly were very strong. The same is true of the powerful shire horse.

Sadly, there aren’t as many Shire Horses remaining, and the breed as a conservation status of critical according to the Livestock Conservancy. You may be able to visit a Shire Horse at a few zoos, including the Saginaw Children’s Zoo and the Colchester Zoo.

#6 Tallest Animals: Dromedary Camel

Tallest Animals: Dromedary Camel
The dromedary camel is capable of drinking 100 L (30 gal.) of water in just 10 minutes and can tolerate water loss equal to over 30% of their body weight.

Camels can also be amazingly tall. The Dromedary Camel, also known as the Arabian Camel, is the tallest of the camel species. These camels have just one hump, compared to their two-humped counterparts. The males of the species can have a height between about 6 feet and 6 feet six inches when measured to the shoulders. Add in some of the additional height from the hump, and they can be even taller than this!

Dromedary Camels weigh between 660 and 1,320 pounds. Dromedary Camels are semi-domesticated; they are extinct in the wild but are typically kept under the watch of a herdsman or used by individuals for travel or other needs. Want to see a Dromedary camel in person? Schedule a visit to the San Diego Zoo or Louisville Zoo.

#5 Tallest Animals: Alaskan Moose

Tallest Animals: Alaskan Moose
Moose are powerful swimmers. A moose can dive 20 feet underwater and stay underwater for up to 30 seconds!

As if the first few animals on our list weren’t tall enough, now we’re getting into some really tall animals. The Alaskan Moose can reach up to 7 and a half feet tall when measured to the shoulders. Then, you still need to add on the height of the neck, head, and, of course, antlers.

It’s no wonder the Alaskan Moose is so big; it can eat up to 70 pounds of food each day and weighs up to 1,600 pounds. However, even with their large size, Alaskan Moose are vegetarians and only eat moss, pinecones, aquatic plants, and bushes. The number of Alaskan Moose out in the wild is declining, and they sadly have a conservation status of near threatened. You can see a moose in person at various zoos around the country, including the Columbus Zoo and Minnesota Zoo.

#4 Tallest Animals: Brown Bear

Tallest Animals: Brown Bear
Alerted Eurasian brown bear standing on hind legs on a rainy day in a Finnish forest. The brown bear is the largest predator still living on the continent of Europe.

You’ve probably heard people say that they wouldn’t want to come face-to-face with a bear. And, for good reasons, when standing on four legs, Brown Bear is about 5 feet tall at the shoulders. However, they’re even tall when they stand up and can reach a height between about 8 and 9 feet! These large animals generally weigh between 500 and 900 pounds. However, the largest bear ever weighed was over 2,500 pounds!

Brown Bears may also be referred to as Grizzly Bears, particularly in North America. They can also be found in areas of Eurasia. Currently, this species is not endangered and has a conservation status of least concern. Visit the Maryland Zoo, Alaska Zoo, or other zoos across the country to see just how tall a Brown Bear really is.

#3 Tallest Animals: Ostrich

Tallest Animals: Ostrich
Female and Male Ostrich at an Ostrich Farm in Oudtshoorn in the semi desert Little Karoo Region Western Cape Province of South Africa.

You’re probably not going to be surprised to see that the Ostrich made this list. They are known for their very long legs and long necks. Ostriches can reach heights between 7 and 10 feet as a fully-grown adult. Their long legs do more than just make them the tallest birds on the planet; they also allow them to run as fast as 40 miles per hour, making them slower than only a Cheetah!

Ostriches are found in many countries in Africa, Asia, and Australia. They are currently not endangered and have a conservation status of least concern. You can find ostriches in many zoos including Zoo Atlanta and the San Diego Zoo.

#2 Tallest Animals: African Bush Elephant

Tallest Animals: African Bush Elephant
Elephants communicate in a variety of ways – including sounds like trumpet calls (some sounds are too low for people to hear), body language, touch and scent. Sadly, about 90% of African elephants have been wiped out in the last century due to poaching.

On to the second tallest land animal, the African Bush Elephant. African Bush Elephants are between 10 feet 6 inches and 13 feet tall! No surprise to find out that they are also quite heavy, and weigh around 13,400 pounds!

These large animals can live up to 70 years and, due to their large size, don’t have many predators once they are fully grown. However, sadly, African Bush Elephants are still hunted by poachers. This combined with the fact that pregnancies last around 22 months means that the population isn’t being replenished quickly enough and African Bush Elephants currently have a conservation status of critically endangered. See an African Elephant at the Oakland Zoo or Zoo Atlanta.

#1 Tallest Animals: Giraffe

Tallest Animals: Giraffe
Giraffes are the tallest mammals on Earth. Their legs alone are taller than many humans—about 6 feet. Over short distances, giraffes can run at speeds up to 35 mph.

You knew giraffes were tall but did you know giraffes are the tallest animal in the world? A Giraffe’s neck alone can be nearly 7 feet tall! Their overall height is normally between about 14 feet and 19 feet. They are also very heavy animals and may weigh between about 1,750 and 2,800 pounds!

The Giraffe uses its long neck to eat leaves on high trees. Their long necks are also very useful for helping them look over the land to identify predators. Giraffes have a conservation status of vulnerable. You can find them in many zoos across the country and world including National Zoo in Washington DC and Columbus Zoo.

Wow! There certainly are some really tall animals here on Earth! Which one are you most impressed or amazed by? How do you think you’d feel coming face to face with one of the tall and majestic creatures that made this list?

Next Up: Extinct Animals: 12 Species That Are Gone Forever