What do you picture when you hear the word wild animal? Do you think of tigers and grizzly bears? Or maybe you picture something more exotic, like cheetahs and hyenas? Whatever your imagination conjures up, the wild animals on this list will definitely surprise you! These smallest 10 wild animals in the world are so small that they can be easily missed by most people. Their diminutive size doesn’t mean they aren’t ferocious hunters though!
1) Dwarf Mongoose
The dwarf mongoose is found in Africa, and typically lives in dry savannahs, open woodlands and coastal scrub. This small mammal is diurnal, meaning it’s active during the day, and has many predators to compete with for food. Mongooses are carnivores, which means they usually eat insects and other small animals like reptiles, birds and mice. They’re also known to eat eggs from time to time.
2) Pygmy Shrew
Pygmy shrews are among the world’s tiniest wild animals, and they can weigh less than a penny. They live in all parts of the world except for Africa and Australia. Pygmy shrews have no teeth; instead, they chew with their horny front paws. They use their long noses to sniff out prey, which mainly consists of insects and small invertebrates like worms or snails.
3) Least Weasel
The least weasel is aptly named because it is the smallest carnivore in the world. The average length for a least weasel ranges from 6-8 inches and they are found in Europe, Asia and North America. They hunt mice, rats, voles and other small rodents. They store their food in caches to be eaten at a later time when hunting may not be as fruitful.
4) Spotted Salamander
The spotted salamander is one of the smallest and most secretive amphibians in North America, with a body length of 3.5-7 cm (1.4-2.8 inches) and an adult weight of less than 2 ounces, which makes it one of the smallest vertebrates on earth. Although it prefers moist environments such as forests and wetlands, this species can also be found under rocks, logs or within burrows near streams or ponds.
5) Water Bear (Tardigrade)
The water bear, also known as a tardigrade, is one of the most resilient creatures on earth. These microscopic animals can survive even in boiling water and at temperatures as cold as -200 degrees Fahrenheit. The water bear absorbs oxygen through its claws and survives by turning itself into a dry ball with no internal organs when it dries out.
6) Paedocypris Carp
The smallest fish in the world is a type of carp called Paedocypris Carp. These tiny animals are found in freshwater streams and rivers in Southeast Asia, where they grow to be less than 1 inch long. They’re so small that they can live between grains of sand on riverbeds!
7) Bee Hummingbird
The Bee Hummingbird is the world’s smallest bird species. It can weigh as little as a penny and measure only 4 inches long. Despite its diminutive size, it is capable of flying up to 15 miles per hour and has a wingspan of 3.8 inches. It feeds primarily on nectar, but will also consume insects and tree sap. The Bee Hummingbird is native to Cuba, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia.
8) Lesser Dwarf Lemur
The Lesser Dwarf Lemur is one of the world’s tiniest wild animals. This tiny primate has a height at about 18-21 inches and weighs between 2.5-4 pounds with males being heavier than females. The Lesser Dwarf Lemurs live in Madagascar and are only found in a small area on top of an isolated mountain range called Ankaratra Massif.
9) Malayan Tiger Beetle
The malayan tiger beetle is one of the world’s tiniest wild animals. With an average size of just 0.1 inches, this insect weighs less than a penny and is smaller than a ladybug. The malayan tiger beetle is so tiny that you can’t see it with your naked eye. It was only discovered in 1894 by Dutch entomologist Pieter A.J.
10) Bumblebee Spider
The Bumblebee Spider is a small, furry spider that lives on the ground. They often make their homes in cracks in the surface and under rocks, where they can hide from predators. One type of bumblebee spider is known as Monoctonus subfuscus, which lives in North America. Monoctonus subfuscus grows to be about 2mm long, making it one of the smallest spiders in North America. These little creatures eat other insects like flies and mosquitoes.