Top 10 Biggest Animals That Ever Walked the Earth

Written by AZ Animals Staff
Updated: June 23, 2022
Image Credit AmeliAU/Shutterstock.com
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Key Points:
  • Most of the biggest animals to ever inhabit the earth are extinct, but a few that are still alive today include the elephant, polar bear, and blue whale.
  • The largest insect ever known to exist was an aquatic scorpion called a Jaekelopterus which could get up to 9 feet long–the stuff nightmares are made of.
  • The Shastasaurus, which inhabited the ocean 200 million years ago, was the largest marine reptile, the largest known one being over 60 feet long.
  • The Argentinosaurus, believed to be the largest dinosaur to ever walk the earth, weighed up to 20 tons and had size comparable to the width of an American football field.

If you’ve ever seen an elephant or a giraffe up close, you know those animals can seem massive, but would you believe that some of the animals which have roamed this planet would make even the elephant look minuscule in comparison? As you might imagine, prehistoric creatures could fill out a list all by themselves, but we are going to break it down by species and diet to make it a little more interesting. Below we have compiled a list of the longest, tallest and heaviest animals ever to walk the Earth.

#10 Biggest Animals Ever to Walk the Earth: Jaekelopterus

The Jaekelopterus is the biggest arthropod ever known; it reached a length of about 2.5 metres (8 feet).

An aquatic scorpion that lived about 460 million years ago, the Jaekelopterus was a sea creature that reached a length of around three yards, making it the largest insect ever known to exist. Can you imagine an insect being nine feet long? Its exact weight is unknown, but since it was longer than an adult male human being is tall, we can guess it likely had an average weight of a similar range to humans.

#9 Biggest Animals Ever to Walk the Earth: Elephant

Biggest Animal Ever to Walk the Earth: Elephant
Elephants, one of the biggest animals, reach 3m tall and weigh between 4,000 -7,500kg, and are constantly eating!

Maggy Meyer/Shutterstock.com

It may not top the list, but the largest herbivorous land mammal currently alive is still the elephant. There are several species of elephant, and the largest can reach heights of up to 12 feet and weigh up to 12,000 pounds. Many people think the Wooly Mammoth was bigger a bigger animal, but they were really about the same size as modern African Elephants, they just had a lot more fur and much bigger tusks.

#8 Biggest Animals Ever to Walk the Earth: Polar Bear

Biggest Animal Ever to Walk the Earth: Polar Bear
Polar bears, the biggest land predator, are excellent swimmers and propel themselves through the water with their front paws.

Louise Ekeblad/Shutterstock.com

The biggest land predator animal currently alive is the Polar Bear. These massive arctic creatures can grow to be over eight feet tall. They weigh about one-tenth as much as the largest elephant, or about 1300 pounds. One interesting fact about them is that they aren’t actually white. Their fur is actually clear and their skin is black! Unfortunately, these bears have a conservation status of vulnerable and could be extinct within the next 30 years if climate change continues unchecked.

#7 Biggest Animals Ever to Walk the Earth: Chinese Giant Salamander

Biggest Animal Ever to Walk the Earth: Chinese Giant Salamander
Chinese Giant Salamanders, the biggest amphibian, live in muddy river bottoms and hide in rock crevices.

tristan tan/Shutterstock.com

The largest amphibian currently alive is the Chinese Giant Salamander. These animals are about the same size as the average human lying down, growing just under six feet in length and weighing just over 110 pounds. These salamanders live underwater and breathe through their skin! Their numbers are dwindling, however, and their conservation status is Critically Endangered.

#6 Biggest Animals Ever to Walk the Earth: Spinosaurus

Biggest Animal Ever to Walk the Earth: Spinosaurus
The Spinosaurus, the biggest land predator of all time, had a mouth similar to a crocodile’s, and it had straight teeth like knives.

Mercury Green/Shutterstock.com

The title of largest land predator that ever walked on Earth goes to the Spinosaurus. This meat-eating dinosaur lived about 90-100 million years ago. It was about 60 feet long, 12 feet high, and weighed at least seven tons. The Spinosaurus got its name from the massive spikes that ran down its spine. Its head was shaped much like a crocodile‘s, though much, much bigger.

#5 Biggest Animals Ever to Walk the Earth: Shastasaurus

Biggest Animal Ever to Walk the Earth: Shastasaurus
The Shastasaurus, the biggest marine reptile, was about the size of a modern sperm whale.

Shastasaurus is the largest known marine reptile that ever existed. This carnivore lived in the ocean 200 million years ago and fed primarily on squid. The largest was over 60 feet long. Even the Shastasaurus’s ribcage was almost seven feet across!

#4 Biggest Animals Ever to Walk the Earth: Paraceratherium

Biggest Animal Ever to Walk the Earth: Paraceratherium
Paraceratherium, the biggest land mammal, needed to eat massive amounts of vegetation to survive and became extinct when central Asian forests were replaced by grassland habitats.

The largest land mammal was a herbivore related to the modern rhinoceros, only much taller and without a horn. The Paraceratherium was about 16 feet high and 24 feet long, and its diet was mainly the leaves of tall trees. It is thought to have weighed nearly 45,000 pounds, which means it must have eaten a lot of leaves! Scientists believe it had a prehensile upper lip or a trunk, which it probably used to pull the leaves from tall tree branches.

#2 (tie) Biggest Animals Ever to Walk the Earth: Patagotitan mayorum

Biggest Animal Ever to Walk the Earth: Patagotitan mayorum
Patagotitan mayorum is the biggest dinosaur, and weighed nearly 70 tons, which is heavier than 10 adult African elephants!

Patagotitan mayorum is arguably the largest dinosaur ever found. This titanosaur was a herbivorous dinosaur that lived about 100 million years ago, with a very long neck and a very long tail. The Patagotitan’s fossils were first found in Argentina in 2012. This recently discovered dinosaur measured over 120 feet long from head to tail, which is about 40 feet longer than the Diplodocus, previously thought to be the longest dinosaur. Patagotitan had an estimated weight of around 75 tons. That’s as much as a space shuttle!

#2 (tie) Biggest Animals Ever to Walk the Earth: Argentinosaurus

Biggest Animal Ever to Walk the Earth: Argentinosaurus
The Argentinosaurus, one of the biggest dinosaurs, was almost the same size as the width of an American football field. 

anastas_styles/Shutterstock.com

The Argentinosaurus was also discovered in Argentina, back in the 1980s. Based on the bones that have been found, it was about the same length as the Patagotitan. However, some researchers claim that by their estimates, the Argentinosaurus likely weighed as much as 20 tons more than the Patagotitan, making it one of the largest ever!

There is one almost mythical dinosaur that could beat out the Argentinosaurus if more evidence is found. Fossils of the Bruhathkayosaurus, which were found in India, included a limb, hip, and tail, and estimates of its size were over 115 feet long and a weight of 80 tons. However, the fossils, which were written about in 1987, have since disintegrated.

#1 Biggest Animals Ever to Walk the Earth: Blue Whale

Biggest Animals Ever to Walk the Earth: Blue Whale
The Blue Whale, the biggest mammal of all times, have loud, deep voices and can communicate with other whales hundreds of miles away

Rich Carey/Shutterstock.com

Strictly speaking, the largest mammal ever on Earth doesn’t walk, it swims, but no biggest animal list would be complete without the massive Blue Whale, considered the heaviest animal ever known to exist. Though it rarely happens now due to fishing of the larger specimens, the Blue Whale can reach a length of up to 100 feet. With hearts as large as small cars, these water mammals can weigh as much as 200 tons, an equivalent to nearly 400,000 pounds, and more than twice as much as the largest dinosaur. Sadly, these whales are listed as endangered by the World Wildlife Fund.

Summary of the 10 Biggest Animals That Ever Walked the Earth

Let’s review the 10 truly amazing animals that were massive giants in their time on Earth:

RankBiggest Animals
1Blue Whale
2Argentinosaurus
3 Patagotitan Mayorum
4Paraceratherium
5Shastasaurus
6Spinosaurus
7Chinese Giant Salamander
8Polar Bear
9Elephant
10Jaekelopterus

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AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.