The 13 Longest Animals Still on Earth in 2024

Written by Laura Dorr
Published: February 17, 2024
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The age of the dinosaurs produced many incredibly infamously lengthy animals, such as Supersaurus, Argentinosaurus, and Diplodocus. But there are still some impressively long animals alive on the planet today. In fact, some are even as long — or longer — than their extinct counterparts! Let’s take a look at the 13 longest animals still on Earth in 2024.

13. Great White Shark

Great white sharks smell blood in the water up to a mile away, which helps them locate prey.

©Ramon Carretero/

The record length of the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) has been debated. While there are reports from the late 19th and early 20th century of sharks over 30 feet long, modern scientists believe these measurements may be incorrect. Today, the biggest great white shark is believed to be a female nicknamed “Deep Blue” that measures 20-21 feet long. Most great white sharks average between 11 and 16 feet in length.

12. Southern Elephant Seal


seals can dive underwater and hold their breath for up to two hours.

©B.navez / CC BY-SA 4.0 - License

In 1913, a 22.5-long southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) bull was shot and killed on the island of South Georgia. This behemoth seal was estimated to weigh over 11,000 pounds — nearly double the average weight of an elephant seal. While most seals don’t reach this impressive weight, adult males average around 13 feet in length, while females grow to about 10 feet long. Southern elephant seals are slightly larger than northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris).

11. African Elephant

The African elephant’s average lifespan is 60-70 years.

©Volodymyr Burdiak/

The largest land mammal, the African elephant (Loxodonta Africana) is tall, heavy, and long. These elephants can reach up to 24 feet in length and stand up to 13 feet tall. They are the largest of all the elephant species and can weigh up to 13,000 pounds. The largest elephant on record was a bull that weighed around 24,000 pounds. This elephant named “Henry” was shot in Angola in the 1950s and is on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.

10. Orca

Orcas are wide-ranging and can be found in all the world’s oceans.


The biggest orca on record was a 32-foot-long male that weighed over 22,000 pounds. This killer whale (Orcinus orca) dwarfed other orcas quite a bit: males typically average 26 feet long, while females measure around 23 feet. In addition to being quite large, killer whales hold several other records. They are the fastest marine mammals and can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour and have the tallest dorsal fin of all cetaceans.

9. Reticulated Python

This python is the third heaviest snake in the world.


Native to south and southeast Asia, the reticulated python (Python reticulatus) is the world’s longest snake. While Burmese pythons and green anacondas can outweigh the reticulated python, the latter’s length puts the others to shame. The longest one on record measured 32 feet and 9.5 inches. Despite being native to Asia, reticulated pythons have spread across Florida, after pet snakes were released into the wild. As a result, the state listed the python as a prohibited species in 2021.

8. Giant Squid

A giant squid’s eyes are the size of beach balls.


Fishermen in Toyama Bay in Japan were surprised in 2015 when they pulled in a record-breaking 43-foot giant squid (Architeuthis dux). While giant squid have been rumored to reach up to 66 feet in length, this is the largest officially verified squid on record. Another squid species, the colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni), is slightly smaller than the giant squid but can also reach up to 33 feet long. While shorter than the giant squid, the colossal is heavier, weighing up to 1,000 pounds.

7. Whale Shark

These cartilaginous fish are filter feeders.


Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are the largest fish in the world. This enormous animal has a cartilaginous skeleton like other shark species. However, unlike other shark species, whale sharks do not bite their prey, but instead use a filter method to pull small zooplankton and other small animals into their large mouths. And they have big bodies to go with their giant mouths: The longest whale shark ever recorded was 61.7 feet long (though they usually average 18-33 feet).

6. Sperm Whale

The sperm whale’s brain is huge and can weigh up to 9.2 pounds.


The sperm whale(Physeter macrocephalus) is the largest of the toothed whales. The longest sperm whale ever recorded was caught in the South Pacific in 1933. It measured 78.7 feet long. However, despite this impressive length, most sperm whales are much shorter. Males average 50-60 feet in length, while females generally measure 33-40 feet.

5. Fin Whale

A fin whale surfacing in Greenland

Fin whales are highly endangered.

©Aqqa Rosing-Asvid - Visit Greenland, CC BY 2.0 - License

While most fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) measure around 65 feet long, the longest one on record was 85 feet in length. The second-largest whale, fin whales can weigh over 100,000 pounds. Sadly, this baleen whale is highly endangered due to extensive commercial whaling and is in danger of extinction. Only around 155,000 fin whales are believed to remain in the world.

4. Blue Whale

Blue whales

can dive down to around 1,600 feet and hold their breath for 50 minutes.

©Andrew Sutton/

The longest blue whale on record was caught at a whaling station in the Atlantic in 1909. While blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) have been known to top 100 feet, this amazing female whale measured an impressive 110 feet and 17 inches long. Although blue whales are considered the largest animals on the planet (one record blue whale caught in 1947 weighed 418,878 pounds), they don’t quite measure up to be the longest.

3. Lion’s Mane Jellyfish

The lion’s mane


has stinging tentacles.

©Derek Keats / CC BY 2.0 - License

If you are scared of the little jellyfish you find washed up on the beach, prepare to be very alarmed by the lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata). One of the largest jellyfish species, the lion’s mane’s tentacles can grow over 100 feet long. The largest recorded specimen was caught off the coast of Massachusetts in 1865 and had tentacles 120 feet long and a bell diameter of 7 feet. If you subtract the tentacles from the overall length, the jellyfish length is much less impressive: their bells only measure 1.5-6.5 long.

2. Siphonophore

Giant Siphonophore

A giant siphonophore (

Praya dubia

) can grow up to 130 feet.

©Alzinous, CC BY-SA 4.0 - License

To date, scientists have identified 175 species of siphonophore but, much like the animal itself, the list continues to grow. Siphonophores are marine colonies of cloned zooids that are linked together, though no individual could survive on its own. These zooids form long chains that look like ropes and can stretch over 100 feet. In 2020, a research expedition discovered a previously unknown species off the coast of western Australia that measured an estimated 150 feet – approximately 40 feet longer than the longest recorded blue whale.

1. Bootlace Worm

Lineus longissimus
Lineus longissimus

is the longest animal in the world.

©Citron / CC-BY-SA-3.0 - License

There is some debate about the length of the longest bootlace worm (Lineus longissimus) because this species of ribbon worm is notoriously hard to measure. Reports of length vary based on how far the worm is stretched.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the longest bootlace worm on record was over 180 feet long. It was discovered washed up on a beach in the United Kingdom in 1864. Some scientists speculate that this worm may have been stretched to reach this measurement, though these worms have been reported to easily surpass 90-100 feet. However, according to the Guinness reports, the bootlace worm is the longest animal in the world.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Andrew Sutton/

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About the Author

Laura Dorr is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on wildlife. Laura has been writing about various topics for over 15 years and holds a Bachelor's Degree in English Composition from Cleveland State University. She is also a licensed wildlife rehabilitator specializing in mammal neonates. A resident of Ohio, Laura enjoys running, caring for wild animals, and spending time with her horde of cats.

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