Animals come in all shapes and sizes, from the really tiny to the breathtakingly huge. While, you may think that being big is better, and it does have many advantages, being small is good too! You need fewer resources to survive, can reproduce more often and can squeeze into all sorts of hiding places to escape predators and hibernate!
Read more about some of the smallest vertebrate animals on earth in our list below.
10. Pygmy Rabbit
With a typical body length of 9.4–11.4 in (24–29 cm), the tiny Pygmy Rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis) is the smallest rabbit in the world. Adults weigh only 14 oz (400 g). Found in North America, they generally inhabit areas with deep soil where they can burrow into tall, dense sagebrush for cover and 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. With a body length, not including the tail, of 5.5–6.3 in (14–16 cm), they really are tiny, and they weigh only 0.5 oz (15 g) at birth.
Picture Credit: Tom Friedel (Wiki Commons)
8. Madame Berthe's Mouse Lemur
While the pygmy marmoset maybe the smallest monkey, the title of smallest known primate goes to the Madame Berthe’s Mouse Lemur (Microcebus berthae). Found in the Kirindy Mitea National Park in Western Madagascar, they have an average body length of 3.6 in (92 mm) and a weight of around 1 oz (30 g).
Picture Credit: FC Casuario (Wiki Commons User)
7. Etruscan Shrew
The Etruscan shrew (Suncus etruscus), also known as the Etruscan Pygmy Shrew and the White-toothed Pygmy Shrew, weighs only 0.04–0.1 oz (1.2–2.7 g). That makes it the world’s smallest mammal when measured by weight, but, at 1.4–2 in (36–53 mm), it loses out to the bumblebee bat for smallest in length. Not everything about the Etruscan shrew is small though; its 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)
6. Speckled Padloper Tortoise
The world’s smallest turtle is the Speckled Padloper Tortoise (Homopus signatus) from South Africa. Males measure 2.4–3.1 in (6–8 cm), while females, which are slightly bigger, measure up to almost 4 in (10 cm). The tiny turtles feed on small plants they forage from the rocky outcrops they call home, also using the tiny crevices as hiding places from predators.
Picture Credit: Abu Shawka Wiki Commons
5. Bee Hummingbird
The Bee Hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae) is the smallest bird and the smallest warm-blooded vertebrate. It measures 2.2 in (5.7 cm) in length and weighs 0.06 oz (1.8 g). Its body size is not the only impressive thing about these birds though, as at only 0.8 in (2 cm) wide and 1.1 in (3 cm) deep, their nests are equally tiny!
4. Kitti's Hog-Nosed Bat
The Kitti’s Hog-nosed Bat (Craseonycteris thonglongyai) or Bumblebee Bat from Thailand and Burma is the smallest bat, measuring only 1.1–1.6 in (30–40 mm) in length and weighing only 0.05–0.07 oz (1.5–2 g). 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.
3. Slender Blind Snakes
Slender Blind Snakes or Thread Snakes (Leptotyphlopidae) are thought to be the world’s smallest snakes at about 4.3 in (11 cm) in length. Found in North and South America, Africa, and Asia, there are 87 different species of Slender Blind snakes. They are blind; nonvenomous snakes adapted to burrowing that feed on ants and termites. Most species suck out the contents of insect bodies and discard the skin.
Picture Credit: Maximillian Paradiz (Wiki Commons User)
Measuring only 0.3 in (7.9 mm) in length, Paedocypris (Paedocypris) is the smallest fish. Found in the peat swamp forests of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island, they can survive extreme drought due, in part, to their small size.
Picture Credit: Tikhaus (Wiki Commons User)
7. Paedophryne amauensis
The smallest frog in the world is the Paedophryne amauensis. First discovered in New Guinea in 2009, it’s a relatively new species that doesn’t even have a common name yet! With an average body size of just 0.3 in (7.7 mm), they are the smallest vertebrate and well deserving of the top spot in this list!
Picture Credit: Rittmeyer EN, Allison A, Gründler MC, Thompson DK, Austin CC (Wiki Commons)