The 20 Animals with the Biggest Appetites

Bear crouched over eating honey
© ronniechua/ via Getty Images

Written by Stephanie Heath

Published: February 27, 2024

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There are a wide variety of diets in the animal kingdom. Certain animals eat multiple times a day while others eat once every couple of weeks. In this article, we will discuss the 20 animals with the biggest appetites. Some of these animals eat a lot per pound, some eat a lot in comparison to their body mass, and others consume food for extended periods. Regardless, all the animals on this list are hungry and have large appetites.

1. Blue Whale

The blue whale’s diet consists almost entirely of krill.

©Andrew Sutton/

When thinking of animals with the biggest appetites, most people would think of the blue whale. These giants weigh up to 150 tons. Also, the blue whale consumes up to 6 tons, or 12,000 pounds, of food per day.

2. Polyphemus Moth 

Polyphemus Moth, Animal, Animal Body Part, Animal Eye, Animal Hair

The Polyphemus moth doesn’t eat except when it is a




Unlike the blue whale, the Polyphemus moth might not be the first creature you think of having a big appetite. Although Polyphemus moths cannot eat or bite as adults, when they are caterpillars they can consume 86,000 times their weight.

3. Giraffe

In general, giraffes eat between 1.6% and 2.1% of their body weight per day.

©Miroslav Duchacek (from Czech Republic) / CC BY-SA 3.0 - Original / License

Weighing up to 3,000 pounds, the giraffe is the eighth heaviest land mammal. Giraffes are considered browsers because they mostly consume vegetation that grows at a higher level. Their tall height, long tongue, and other adaptations allow them to eat over 75 pounds of food a day! 

4. Bee Hummingbird

The bee


makes it on the list of animals with the biggest appetite because they eat half their body weight in sugar daily.


Despite their small size, these hummingbirds can eat half of their body weight in sugar daily. Additionally, they can store up to 17% of their body weight as fat. Also, these birds have a large appetite and crave a meal every 15 minutes. 

5. Hippo

Compared to its wild diet, captive hippos in zoos eat a larger range of food.


This giant consumes about two percent of their body weight in food each day. Since hippos weigh between 2,800 and 10,000 pounds, that means they are eating between 30 and 150 pounds of food daily.

6. Pygmy Shrew

Pygmy shrews have one of the fastest metabolisms in the animal kingdom.


Another potential surprise on our list of animals with the largest appetites is the pygmy shrew. This forager consumes 125% of its body weight daily. Also, they consume their meals every 180 minutes or less.

7. Rhinoceros

Half of the time a white rhino is awake will be spent grazing and digesting.

©Volodymyr Burdiak/

There are two types of rhinos when it comes to dining, grazers and browsers. Grazers have certain adaptations that allow them to consume large amounts of food at once. The African white rhino is the largest grazing species and can require over 100 pounds of food a day to sustain its appetite.

8. African Elephant

Male African


weigh between 4,000-16,000 pounds.

©Volodymyr Burdiak/

Although these elephants only eat between 1% and 1.5% of their body weight, their massive size makes that a substantial amount of food. Male elephants may need to consume up to 528 pounds of food a day. Female elephants can eat up to 480 pounds of food a day.

9. Giant Pandas

The giant panda’s diet is 99% bamboo.

©Chen Wu from Shanghai, China / CC BY 2.0 - Original / License

Giant pandas feed for 12 hours a day and feast on 26-84 pounds of bamboo daily. However, their gut bacteria is not equipped to process all of the plant matter properly. Furthermore, the majority of their energy goes to excreting those pounds of undigested bamboo. Due to their need to excrete this waste, the giant panda poops around 40 times a day!

10. Desert Locust

A large swarm of desert locusts can contain as many as 80 million individual members.

©Revilo Lessen/

Next is a creature you may have never expected, the desert locust. Located within northern Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, this insect is capable of eating its body weight in food a day. With each insect doing so, a swarm of these eats about 423 million pounds of food every day.

11. Tasmanian Devil

Tasmanian devils eat frogs, birds, fish, and insects.

©Oleksii G/

Although these marsupials only eat every 3-8 days on average, they don’t skimp on the portions. An average adult Tasmanian devil can fill up its stomach to 40% of its body weight in one meal session. This helps prevent them from getting hungry quickly.

12. Grizzly Bear

Contrary to what many people assume, a grizzly bear’s diet consists of about 90% vegetation.

©Jacqui Martin/

Despite their large size, the grizzly bear’s diet is 90% vegetation. Grizzly bears are grazers, and during the autumn when they are preparing for hibernation, these bears can consume up to 90 pounds of food a day.

13. Great White Shark

Great white sharks

are generalist hunters, which means they eat a wide variety of prey items.

©Terry Gross / CC BY 2.5 - Original / License

The biggest great white sharks can reach up to 20 feet long. Great whites eat around 0.5 to 3 percent of their body weight per day. The average weight of a great white shark is around 2,750 pounds meaning that they eat an average of about 48 pounds of food per day!

14. Polar Bear

Polar bears

eat a varied diet consisting of seals, carcasses, and bigger marine prey.


These bears are the largest bears globally and are capable of eating 10 to 20 percent of their entire body weight. They eat a varied diet and have giant stomachs. They use about 97 percent of the fat they eat to help them survive in their harsh habitat.

15. Gila Monster


Gila monster

stores excess calories in their tails as fat to be used in times when they need extra resources.

©Vaclav Sebek/

Gila monsters primarily eat the eggs of various animals. Including lizards, turtles, birds, and snakes. Although they tend to go long durations without consuming food, when they do eat they can eat up to 35% of their body weight.

16. Lion

Lions can hunt collaboratively or by themselves.

©keith hudson/

Despite only eating every three to four days, lions can consume almost a quarter of their body weight when they do eat a meal. Their sharp teeth help them tear into their prey and they can consume up to 50kg or 110 pounds of meat at a time.

17. Whale Shark

Whale sharks are filter feeders that eat a diet that consists of plankton, krill, and algae.

©Martin Voeller/iStock via Getty Images

Like the blue whale, this massive marine animal eats quite a bit. The whale shark feeds on plankton. They are active feeders and young whale sharks eat around 45 pounds of plankton per day. Adult whale sharks eat even more.

18. Tiger

Male tigers are heavier than females and weigh between 380 – 580 pounds.


Similarly to lions, this apex predator may go a week without hunting. However, when they do eat they can consume as much as 75 pounds of food in one night. Since tigers range from 220 pounds to 580 pounds, that means they consume 12%-34% of their body weight in food.

19. Elephant Seal

The exact diet of an

elephant seal

depends on where it lives.


Next on our list of animals with the largest appetites is the elephant seal. These seals can weigh up to 8,800 pounds and mainly eat squid and fish. On average, an elephant seal eats up to 270 pounds of food per day. However, male elephant seals will eat three times more prey than females.

20. Gaur

Gaurs weigh between 2,200 to 3,307 pounds, depending on their gender.

The Indian guar falls into the group of wild oxen. These animals may not eat as much as some on this list, but they do like to eat. Gaur feed between 10 and 15 hours a day, and in that time they may consume about 44 pounds of food!

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About the Author

Stephanie is a writer at A-Z Animals that primarily covers a variety of animals and unique destinations. Stephanie is a published author and has been writing for many years. With a Bachelor's Degree in English and Elementary Education, Stephanie is familiar with writing for a variety of ages and audience types. As a Virginia resident, Stephanie enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and snuggling up with her beagle named Pooch!

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