Animals come in all shapes and sizes - some small animals can be really small!
There are some invertebrates that are not even visible to the human eye: some mites are known to measure only 200μm (0.0002mm) in length, a parasitic wasp can be as small as 139μm (0.0001mm) long, and there’s a tiny beetle which is less than 1 mm long. Given the minute size of these animals, who knows what we have yet to discover!
Here is a selection of the smallest vertebrate animals on earth. Some people think the smallest animals are the shortest in height, or length, or the lightest. Which ever way you measure them these really are some amazing little animals.
10. Pygmy Rabbit
The Pygmy Rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis) is the smallest rabbit in the world. It is found in North America. The adult pygmy rabbit weighs about 400g (14oz) and has a typical body length of 24cm to 29cm (9.4″ – 11.4″). Females are slightly larger than males. They generally inhabit areas with deep soil and can burrow into tall, dense sagebrush which they use for cover and for food. Extensive, well-used runways interlace sage thickets and provide travel and escape routes from predators.
Picture Credit: Adam Raschka (Wiki Commons User)
9. Pygmy Marmoset
The Pygmy Marmoset or Dwarf Monkey (Cebuella pygmaea) is the world’s smallest monkey. It is native to the rainforest canopies of Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. One of the smallest primates and the smallest true monkey, with a body length, not including the tail, ranging from 14 to 16cm (5.5″ – 6.3″) . They weigh only 15g (0.5oz) at the time of birth.
Picture Credit: Tom Friedel (Wiki Commons)
8. Madame Berthe's Mouse Lemur
The smallest known primate is the Madame Berthe’s Mouse Lemur (Microcebus berthae), found in Madagascar, with an average body length of 92 mm (3.6″) and weight of around 30g (1oz). It is found in the Kirindy Mitea National Park in Western Madagascar.
Picture Credit: FC Casuario (Wiki Commons User)
7. Paedophryne amauensis
The smallest frog in the world is the Paedophryne amauensis. Only discovered in 2009, it does not have a comon name yet so is just known by its scientific name. With an average body size of just 7.7 millimetres (0.3″!) it is also the world’s smallest known vertebrate!
Picture Credit: Rittmeyer EN, Allison A, Gründler MC, Thompson DK, Austin CC (Wiki Commons)
6. Etruscan Shrew
The Etruscan shrew (Suncus etruscus), also known as the Etruscan Pygmy Shrew or the White-toothed Pygmy Shrew weighs only 1.2 to 2.7g (0.04 – 0.1 oz), so could be considered the world’s smallest mammal, although it is slightly longer than the Bumblebee Bat at 36 to 53mm (1.4″ – 2″) from its head to the base of the tail. The Etruscan shrew’s brain is the largest in ratio to its body weight of all animals, larger even than that of a human!
Picture Credit: Lies Van Rompaey (Wiki Commons User)
5. Speckled Padloper Tortoise
The world’s smallest turtle is the Speckled Padloper Tortoise (Homopus signatus) from South Africa. The males measure 6–8cm (2.4 – 3.1″), while females measure up to almost 10cm (4″).
Picture Credit: Abu Shawka Wiki Commons
4. Bee Hummingbird
The Bee Hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae) is the smallest bird and the smallest warm-blooded vertebrate. It measures 5.7cm (2.2″) in length and 1.8g (0.06oz) in weight. The size of its nest measures 2cm wide and 3cm deep.
3. Kitti's Hog-Nosed Bat
The Kitti’s Hog-nosed Bat (Craseonycteris thonglongyai), or Bumblebee Bat from Thailand and Burma is the smallest bat, at 30–40mm (1.1 – 1.6″) in length and 1.5 to 2g(0.05 – 0.07oz) in weight. It is about the same size as a bumblebee and has a distinctive pig-like snout. It lives in limestone caves along rivers, with an average of 100 individuals living in a single cave.
2. Slender Blind Snakes
Slender Blind Snakes or Thread Snakes(Leptotyphlopidae) are thought to be the world’s smallest snakes at about 11cm (4.3″) in length. They are found in North and South America, Africa, and Asia. There are 87 different species of these snakes. They are adapted to burrowing, feeding on ants and termites. Most species suck out the contents of insect bodies and discard the skin.
Picture Credit: Maximillian Paradiz (Wiki Commons User)
The Paedocypris (Paedocypris) is the smallest fish, at only 7.9mm in length. They are also considered the smallest vertebrate. It is found in the peat swamp forests of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island and can survive extreme drought due, in part, to their small size (7.9 mm long at maturity).
Picture Credit: Tikhaus (Wiki Commons User)