tallest animals

Top 10 Tallest Animals in the World

Generally speaking, most animals on our planet are rather small, far smaller than a meter or three feet. But for some animals, evolution helped them reach far greater heights, to varying degrees. This can come in quite handy, with many evolutionary advantages, especially when it comes to not falling victim to predators or putting you on the other side of the food chain yourself.

The following ranking lists the ten tallest animals in the world based on the maximum standing height measured for each animal species. The ranking only includes animals with legs who are thus able to stand. Fish, whales, seals, and other legless animals are therefore not relevant for this ranking. The ranking also only includes extant, meaning living animals, so no dinosaurs either. Humans are also excluded from the ranking, although for reference, some human individuals would indeed have made the list

For the Ranking of the Top 10 Heaviest Animals in the World, click here.
For the Ranking of the Top 10 Fastest (Land) Animals in the World, click here.


The 10 Tallest Animals in the World


1. Giraffes

giraffe - tallest animals in the world

Maximum Standing Height: ~ 5.8 meters / 19 feet
Average Standing Height: ~ 4.8 meters / 15.7 feet

Natural habitat
: Sub-Saharan Africa
Tallest sub-species: Masai Giraffe

The Giraffe is unsurprisingly the world’s, by far, tallest living animal by standing height. Its exceptional tallness is subject to a lot of discussion in evolutionary science, with its hot environment being one possible explanation for it. Even just its long legs or long necks alone would make the giraffe qualify among the tallest animals on Earth. Male giraffes can measure up to almost six meters or 19 feet, but with a height of over five meters or over 16 feet, female giraffes are also taller than any other standing animal, male or female. The Masai Giraffe represents the tallest giraffe sub-species. The natural habitat of giraffes includes various savannas and regions across sub-Saharan Africa.


2. African Elephants

large african elephant - tall animals

Maximum Standing Height: ~ 4.2 meters / 13.8 feet
Average Standing Height: ~ 2.9 meters / 9.5 feet

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

The African Elephant takes second place among the tallest animals in the world. With a standing height of over four meters or almost 14 feet, the large size of the African elephant makes it not only second in terms of height but also the heaviest land animal in the world. The African Bush Elephant represents the tallest African elephant sub-species. The African elephant, obviously, exclusively calls various regions across sub-Saharan Africa his natural home.


3. Asian Elephants

indian elephant - top 10 tallest animals

Maximum Standing Height: ~ 3.4 meters / 11.3 feet
Average Standing Height: ~
2.7 meters / 8.9 feet

Natural habitat
: South Asia & Southeast Asia
Tallest sub-species: African Bush Elephant

Asian Elephants come in third place among the tallest animals in the world. Asian elephants are smaller than their African cousins, but still, show an impressive standing height of up to over three and a half meters or over eleven feet. Among the subspecies of Asian elephants, the Sri Lankan Elephant is known to be the tallest by recorded height. Asian elephants have their natural habitat in several regions all over South Asia and Southeast Asia.


4. Polar Bears

polar bear - tall animals list

Maximum Standing Height: ~ 3.4 meters / 11.3 feet
Average Standing Height: ~
2.6 meters / 8.5 feet

Natural habitat
: Arctic Circle
Tallest sub-species: No sub-species

Polar bears are the fourth tallest animals in the world. They are also the tallest bears and tallest carnivores (meat eaters) in the world. When standing on their hind legs, which bears are able to do, polar bears can reach heights of more than three meters or over eleven feet, therefore equalling Asian elephants in maximum standing height, though the average polar bear is minimally smaller than the average Asian elephant. The polar bear doesn’t have any subspecies and exclusively lives in the Arctic.


5. Brown Bears

Maximum Standing Height: ~ 3.0 meters / 9.8 feet
Average Standing Height: ~
2.4 meters / 7.9 feet

Natural habitat
: Central Asia, Siberia, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Middle East & Northwestern North America
Tallest sub-species: Kodiak Bear

Brown bears come in fifth place in the ranking of the tallest animals in the world. Smaller than their polar cousins, brown bears can reach standing heights of up to around three meters or almost ten feet on their hind legs. The Kodiak Bear represents the tallest sub-species of the brown bear. Brown bears have a vast natural habitat and can be found in a multitude of regions in the Northern Hemisphere, ranging from Central Asia and Siberia to Europe and the Middle East to the Northwestern part of North America.


6. Ostriches

Maximum Standing Height: ~ 2.8 meters / 9.2 feet
Average Standing Height: ~
2.1 meters / 6.6 feet

Natural habitat
: Sub-Saharan Africa
Tallest sub-species: Common Ostrich

Ostrichs rank sixth among the tallest animals in the world. Its maximum and average height makes the ostrich the tallest living bird in the world. With their necks fully stretched, ostriches can reach heights of a bit less than three meters or over nine feet. On average, male ostriches can even very often match the height of average brown bears. The Common Ostrich represents the tallest of the ostrich species. Ostriches can naturally be found in various regions across sub-Saharan Africa.


7. Camels

Maximum Standing Height: ~ 2.5 meters / 8.1 feet
Average Standing Height: ~
1.9 meters / 6.2 feet

Natural habitat
: Northern Africa, Middle East & Central Asia
Tallest sub-species: Bactrian Camel

Camels are the seventh tallest animals in the world. Camels can grow to be up to 2.5 meters or around eight feet tall at standing height. The animals are characterized by their humps, with the more populous Dromedary Camels having one, and the Bactrian Camels having two humps. The Bactrian Camel is the taller camel species. Camels have their natural habitat in the Northern parts of Africa, the Middle East, and over large swaths of Central Asia.


8. Moose

moose - tallest animals in the world

Maximum Standing Height: ~ 2.3 meters / 7.6 feet
Average Standing Height: ~
1.9 meters / 6.2 feet

Natural habitat
: Northern North America, Northern Europe
Tallest sub-species: Alaskan Moose

Moose come in eighth place among the tallest animals on Earth. They are the by far tallest deer and can reach a shoulder height of over two meters or seven feet. They’re even taller if you count the antlers that male moose have, which usually can add half a meter or one and a half feet to a moose’s height. The Alaskan Moose is known to be the tallest sub-species of moose. Moose can naturally be found in the Northern parts of North America and in Northern Europe.


9. Gaurs

Maximum Standing Height: ~ 2.2 meters / 7.2 feet
Average Standing Height: ~
1.8 meters / 5.9 feet

Natural habitat
: South Asia & Southeast Asia
Tallest sub-species: Bos Gaurus Gaurus

Gaurs, also known as Indian Bisons, follow as ninth among the tallest animals in the world. Gaurs are, at the same time, the tallest bovines in the world. They can reach recorded heights of over two meters or more than seven feet. There are currently two officially recognized subspecies, though the dominant and by far most common Bos Gaurus Gaurus is also the tallest. Gaurs can be found in South Asia and Southeast Asia.


10. Bison

Maximum Standing Height: ~ 2.1 meters / 6.9 feet
Average Standing Height: ~
1.8 meters / 5.9 feet

Natural habitat
: Europe & North America
Tallest sub-species: European Bison

The Bison completes the ranking of the ten tallest animals in the world. Bison can reach heights of over two meters or almost seven feet. Bison are grouped into two sub-species: The American Bison and the European Bison. While both these species are quite similar, the American bison tend to be heavier, while the European bison are a little bit taller than their American cousins. Their natural habitat is in North America and Europe, respectively.


The 10 Tallest Land Animals in the World:

Maximum Height: Average Height: Tallest Sub-Species:
1. GIRAFFES~ 5.8 meters / 19 feet~ 4.8 meters / 15.7 feetMasai Giraffe
2. AFRICAN ELEPHANTS~ 4.8 meters / 15.7 feet~ 2.9 meters / 9.5 feetAfrican Bush Elephant
3. ASIAN ELEPHANTS~ 3.4 meters / 11.3 feet~ 2.7 meters / 8.9 feetSri Lankan Elephant
4. POLAR BEARS~ 3.4 meters / 11.3 feet~ 2.6 meters / 8.5 feetNo sub-species
5. BROWN BEARS~ 3.0 meters / 9.8 feet~ 2.4 meters / 7.9 feetKodak Bear
6. OSTRICHES~ 2.8 meters / 9.2 feet~ 2.1 meters / 6.6 feetCommon Ostrich
7. CAMELS~ 2.5 meters / 8.1 feet~ 1.9 meters / 6.2 feetBactrian Camel
8. MOOSE~ 2.3 meters / 7.6 feet~ 1.9 meters / 6.2 feetAlaskan Moose
9. GAURS~ 2.2 meters / 7.2 feet~ 1.8 meters / 5.9 feetBos Gaurus Gaurus
10. BISON~ 2.1 meters / 6.9 feet~ 1.8 meters / 5.9 feetEuropean Bison
Ten tallest animals in the world by maximum recorded standing height/shoulder height at an animal’s tallest possible setting. Legless animals (whales, fish, seals, etc.) are not counted among the tallest animals in the world as their tallness cannot be well defined. Humans are also not part of the ranking of the tallest animals.
Tiebreaker: Higher average height.


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