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Animal Records

Athletes' accomplishments in the Olympics are certainly impressive. But non-human feats may truly astound you. Find out about some world records held by mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and invertebrates.

Fastest Mammal (land)
Cheetahs can run up to 70 miles per hour.
Fastest Mammal (water)
Dall porpoises can swim up to 35 miles per hour.
Fastest Bird (land)
North African ostriches are both the fastest bird on land—running up to 45 miles per hour—and the biggest, weighing in at 345 pounds.
Fastest Bird (sky)
Peregrine falcons can dive toward the earth at more than 200 miles per hour.

Fastest Fish
Sailfish can swim up to 68 miles per hour.
Loudest Animal
Blue whales' low-frequency pulses are as loud as 188 decibels—louder than a jet engine—and can be detected more than 500 miles away. On land, the loudest animals are howler monkeys, whose howl can be heard three miles away.
Longest Migration
Arctic terns migrate to and from the Antarctic—about 22,000 miles round trip—each year. Among mammals, gray whales and northern elephant seals are the migration champions, traveling up to 13,000 miles round trip each year.
Deadliest Animal
Female Anopheles mosquitoes, which carry malaria, kill more than a million people each year.
Most Venomous Animal
A single sea wasp (a kind of jellyfish with 60 tentacles, each 15 feet long) has enough venom to kill 60 adult humans.
Strongest Animal
The rhinoceros beetle can lift 850 times its own weight.

Longest Gestation
Asian elephants are born after a gestation period of 19 to 22 months.
Largest Animal
Blue whales are the largest animals of all time. Females grow to a length of 79 to 89 feet, weighing well over 100 tons. The heaviest blue whale ever weighed was more than 190 tons, and the longest ever measured was more than 108 feet long.
Largest Animal (land)
African elephants are the heaviest and second tallest land animals. Large bulls (males) weigh more than 13,000 pounds and are 12 feet tall all the shoulder. Giraffes, which can grow to a height of 18 feet, are the tallest land animals. Large males weigh more than 4,000 pounds.
Largest Invertebrate
Giant squid, reaching lengths of 43 feet, are the largest invertebrates. They also have the largest eyes (about the size of a human head). The largest giant squid ever measured was 59 feet long.
Largest Invertebrate (land)
The coconut crab has a legspan of up to two and a half feet and weighs about 6.6 pounds. Native to tropical Indo-Pacific islands, this hermit crab species has muscular claws capable of punching holes into coconuts so that it can scoop out the flesh.
Smallest Vertebrate
Australia's infantfish, slightly smaller than the better known dwarf goby, is less than a centimeter long.
Smallest Bird
Adult bee hummingbirds, found in Cuba, weigh about two grams.
Smallest Mammal
Adult bumblebee bats, which live in Thailand, weigh about two grams.
Longest Lifespan
In the 1770s, British explorer Captain Cook presented to the Tongan royal family a Madagascar radiated tortoise, which died in 1965, making the tortoise at least 188 years old. Several Galápagos tortoises have lived past age 150.


Nowak, R. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore, Maryland, USA: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Animal Diversity Web and Museum of Zoology of the University of Michigan

Guinness World Records website