heaviest animals

Top 10 Heaviest Animals in the World

Animals vary quite a lot in their physical traits. Not only by their height but even more so by their weight. While heavy animals certainly do not belong to the fastest animals on Earth, they do possess many other evolutionary advantages due to their size and weight. In many ways, the heaviest animals in the world represent a pinnacle of evolutionary success.

The following ranking lists the ten heaviest animals known around the world. The ranking is based on the recorded maximum weight of the respective animal species.

For the Ranking of the Top 10 Tallest Animals in the World, click here.
For the Ranking of the Top 10 Longest Animals in the World, click here.
For the Ranking of the Top 10 Fastest Land Animals in the World, click here.


The 10 Heaviest Animals in the World


1. Baleen Whales

blue whale - heaviest animal in the world
A Blue Whale, the heaviest animal in the world, and the heaviest Baleen Whale.

Maximum weight: ~ 190 tonnes / 420,000 pounds
Average weight: ~ 75 tonnes / 165,000 pounds

Natural habitat: In all oceans of planet Earth
Heaviest sub-species: Blue Whale

Baleen Whales are the by far heaviest animals in the world, with almost all of its sub-species belonging to the world’s heaviest animals. Baleen whales are also the heaviest organisms on Earth, nothing living is heavier and larger than a baleen whale in our world. Across its many sub-species, baleen whales have a wide range of maximum weights, though the average baleen whale weighs around 75 tonnes. The Blue Whale is the absolute heaviest of the whales, reaching weights of up to 190 tonnes. Baleen whales, like all whales, are marine mammals and inhabit all of the Earth’s oceans.


2. Toothed Whales

A Sperm Whale calf with its adult parent Sperm Whale, the heaviest species among the Toothed Whales.

Maximum weight: ~ 57 tonnes / 125,000 pounds
Average weight: ~ 9 tonnes / 20,000 pounds

Natural habitat: In all oceans of planet Earth
Heaviest sub-species: Sperm Whale

Toothed Whales follow, at quite some distance, as the second heaviest animals in the world. Toothed whales, across their many sub-species which also include dolphins and porpoises, are generally a lot smaller in size than their baleen relatives, weighing around eight tonnes on average. However, the heaviest and largest toothed whale sub-species, the Sperm Whale, reaches a mass of up to 57 tonnes, putting it among the heaviest organisms known in the world, too. Toothed whales are also marine mammals and can be found in every of the Earth’s oceans.


3. Whale Sharks

A Whale Shark.

Maximum weight: ~ 20 tonnes / 44,000 pounds
Average weight: ~ 9 tonnes / 20,000 pounds

Natural habitat: Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean & Pacific Ocean
Heaviest sub-species: No sub-species

Whale Sharks follow as the third-heaviest animals in the world by maximum measured weight. Whale sharks weigh around 9 tonnes on average, but can reach a weight up to around 20 tonnes. This makes the whale shark the heaviest and largest fish and the heaviest and largest non-mammal in the world. Whale sharks can be found in the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean, usually in tropical regions near the equator.


4. Basking Sharks

A Basking Shark.

Maximum weight: ~ 16 tonnes / 35,000 pounds
Average weight:
~ 5 tonnes / 11,000 pounds

Natural habitat: Atlantic Ocean & Pacific Ocean
Heaviest sub-species: No sub-species

Basking Sharks stand – or rather swim – as the fourth heaviest animals in the world. Basking sharks weigh on average around five tonnes, but heavier basking sharks have been recorded with a maximum weight of 16 tonnes. This makes basking sharks the second-heaviest fish, while also being the second-largest fish overall. Basking sharks can naturally be found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, usually relatively close to the continental coastlines.


5. African Elephants

elephants - heaviest land animals in the world
A pair of African Elephants.

Maximum weight: ~ 10.5 tonnes / 23,000 pounds
Average weight: ~ 4.5 tonnes / 10,000 pounds

Natural habitat: Sub-Saharan Africa
Heaviest sub-species: African Bush Elephant

African Elephants follow as the fifth among the heaviest animals in the world by maximum weight. The African elephant is therefore the heaviest land animal in the world, in addition to also being the second-tallest terrestrial animal. Male adult African elephants weigh around 4.5 tonnes on average. The African Bush Elephant is the heaviest African elephant sub-species, reaching weights of up to 10.5 tonnes. African Elephants can exclusively be found naturally, unsurprisingly, across Sub-Saharan Africa.


6. Asian Elephants

A pair of Asian Elephants.

Maximum weight: ~ 8.2 tonnes / 18,000 pounds
Average weight:
~ 4.5 tonnes / 10,000 pounds

Natural habitat: South Asia & Southeastern Asia
Heaviest sub-species: Sri Lankan Elephant

Asian Elephants place sixth among the heaviest animals in the world. Asian elephants on average weigh about the same or even more than their African relatives, though a lot less than the African Bush elephant. The Sri Lankan Elephant is the heaviest among the living Asian elephant subspecies. Based on recorded measures, they can reach a mass of up to around 8.2 tonnes. Asian elephants naturally live in various regions across South Asia and Southeast Asia.


7. Hippopotamuses

A Hippopotamus.

Maximum weight: ~ 4.5 tonnes / 9,900 pounds
Average weight:
~ 2 tonnes / 4,400 pounds

Natural habitat: Sub-Saharan Africa
Heaviest sub-species: No sub-species

The Hippopotamus, or Hippo, ranks seventh among the heaviest animals in the world by maximum weight recorded. A male hippopotamus can reach a weight of up to 4.5 tonnes while weighing around two tonnes on average. Hippos don’t have officially recognized sub-species. These semi-aquatic mammals are all native to Sub-Saharan Africa, and can only be found there naturally.


8. Rhinoceroses

A White Rhinoceros, the heaviest species among the Rhinoceroses.

Maximum weight: ~ 4.3 tonnes / 9,500 pounds
Average weight: ~ 1.5 tonnes / 3,300 pounds

Natural habitat: Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia & Southeastern Asia
Heaviest sub-species: White Rhinoceros

The Rhinoceros, or Rhino, comes eighth among the heaviest animals in the world. Fully grown adult and male rhinoceroses weigh on average 1.5 tonnes. The White Rhinoceros, the heaviest rhino sub-species, can weigh up to 4.3 tonnes, however. Rhinos are naturally found mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa, with some species also living in South Asia as well as Southeast Asia.


9. Elephant Seals

A Southern Elephant Seal, he heaviest species among the Elephant Seals.

Maximum weight: ~ 4 tonnes / 8,800 pounds
Average weight: ~ 1.5 tonnes / 3,300 pounds

Natural habitat: Antarctica/South Atlantic Ocean & Western North America/Eastern Pacific Ocean
Heaviest sub-species: Southern Elephant Seal

Elephant Seals come ninth among the world’s heaviest animals. Male adult elephant seals weigh around 1.5 tonnes on average, but its heaviest subspecies, the Southern Elephant Seals, can have a mass of around four tonnes. This makes elephant seals the world’s heaviest partly terrestrial carnivores (meat eaters). As partly terrestrial and partly maritime animals, their natural habitat is located along the Antarctican and the Western North American Pacific coastlines as well as the South Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Oceans.


10. Walruses

pacific walrus - heaviest animals
A Pacific Walrus, the heaviest species among the Walruses.

Maximum weight: ~ 2 tonnes / 4,400 pounds
Average weight: ~ 1 tonne / 2,200 pounds

Natural habitat: Arctic Circle
Heaviest sub-species: Pacific Walrus

Walruses complete the ranking of the ten heaviest animals in the world. Male adult walruses on average weigh around one tonne. The larger of the two subspecies, the Pacific Walrus, can weigh up to two tonnes, however. Walruses can be naturally found around the Arctic Circle, especially in the seas and shores of Northern Russia, Northeastern Canada, Eastern Greenland, and Northern Alaska.



The 10 Heaviest Animals in the World:

Maximum Weight:Average Weight: Heaviest Sub-Species:
1. BALEEN WHALES~ 190 tonnes / 420,000 lbs~ 75 tonnes / 165,000 lbsBlue Whale
2. TOOTHED WHALES~ 57 tonnes / 125,000 lbs~ 9 tonnes / 20,000 lbsSperm Whale
3. WHALE SHARKS~ 20 tonnes / 44,000 lbs~ 9 tonnes / 20,000 lbsNo sub-species
4. BASKING SHARKS~ 16 tonnes / 35,000 lbs~ 5 tonnes / 11,000 lbsNo sub-species
5. AFRICAN ELEPHANTS~ 10.5 tonnes / 23,000 lbs~ 4.5 tonnes / 10,000 lbsAfrican Bush Elephant
6. ASIAN ELEPHANTS~ 8.2 tonnes / 18,000 lbs~ 4.5 tonnes / 10,000 lbsSri Lankan Elephant
7. HIPPOPOTAMUSES~ 4.5 tonnes / 9,900 lbs~ 2 tonnes / 4,400 lbsNo sub-species
8. RHINOCEROSES~ 4.3 tonnes / 9,500 lbs~ 1.5 tonnes / 3,300 lbsWhite Rhinoceros
9. ELEPHANT SEALS~ 4 tonnes / 8,800 lbs~ 1.5 tonnes / 3,300 lbsSouthern Elephant Seal
10. WALRUSES~ 2 tonnes / 4,400 lbs~ 1 tonne / 2,200 lbsPacific Walrus
Ten heaviest animals in the world by highest maximum weight recorded. Only living extant animals are counted in the ranking. Average weight displays the average weight of the animals across all their sub-species if existent.


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