When we first stop to consider ‘massive’ animals, our minds might wander to giraffes and whales. Today, we are going to blow the lid off of your conventional way of thinking by highlighting 18 animals that are too massive to be real. While it may be hard to believe, each and every animal you are about to see is as real as the cat or puppy in your house. Let’s begin!
1. Colossal Squid
Imagine that you are floating in the ocean, right off of the deck of your boat. The sun is shining and the water is warm and, wait, what’s that? Did something just brush your foot? The ocean is home to all manner of wonder, but none more incredible than the Colossal Squid. The Colossal Squid can grow up to 90-feet long. For comparison, your average school bus is roughly 45 feet long.
2. Field Marshall the Bull
We know that bulls can get pretty large all on their own, but this bull is pushing the limit. Named Field Marshall, this 3,682-pound bull became famous in 2009. The Bull stands over 6’5 feet tall and consumes more than 17 lbs of food per day. The best part about Field Marshall is that he gets to live out a happy retirement.
3. Moose the Horse
Ignore the silly name and stare in wonder at Moose, the massive horse that has the world talking. Moose stands over 19 feet tall and looks fit to jump over a mountain if he so pleased. Moose comes from a line of horse that was originally bred for the purposes of war.
4. African Giant Snail
We don’t typically think of ‘massive’ and ‘snail’ in the same sentence unless we’re being sarcastic of course. However, the Giant African Snail is definitely big enough to raise a few eyebrows. This massive creature is the largest land-snail in existence. The Giant African Land Snail reaches heights of 8 inches and widths of 4 inches. You’ll end up tripping over one of these things if you aren’t careful.
5. Giant Freshwater Stingrays
Unfortunately, these majestic creatures are endangered and that means we’ll likely be seeing them less and less as time goes on. Giant Freshwater Stingrays look like massive creatures ripped right out of the latest ‘Alien’ movie. These stingrays can get up to 16.5 feet long while weighing in at over 1,300 lbs.
6. Big Cow Chilli
If stingrays and bulls freak you out, how about meeting Big Cow Chilli? A gentle giant above all, this 6’6 cow weighs over a ton and loves scratches on the nose and long walks in the pasture. For comparison’s sake, you should know that Chilli is roughly the size of a small elephant.
7. Eastern Gorilla
There’s nothing abnormal about the Eastern Gorilla except, perhaps, the fact that they are endangered. Found in a small segment of Africa, the Eastern Gorilla weighs in at nearly 330 lbs. while reaching heights of around 5’6. Incredibly strong and intelligent, it’s a shame to see these creatures slowly wiped off of the planet.
8. Giant Mekong Catfish
The next time you cast your fishing line, you might want to hesitate when you feel a big tug. In 2005, fishermen from Northern Thailand managed to reel in one of the biggest fish that we have ever seen. The Giant Mekong Catfish ended up weighing in at 646 pounds while reaching a length of nine feet. For a comparison, this fish was as large as a grizzly bear.
9. Bismarck Flying Fox
Found in New Guinea, the Bismarck Flying Fox looks like something pulled straight out of a Disney cartoon. Also known as the Megabat, the Bismarck Flying Fox was only three pounds but it measured out at nearly five feet. Can you imagine this thing swooping down at you?
10. Goliath Birdeater
Have you ever wondered what the largest spider in the world looked like? Well, you’ve just found out. The Goliath Birdeater is one foot in length while weighing in at 6 oz. If you’re looking at the raw numbers before deciding to be freaked out, you’re doing it wrong. This spider is as large as a dinner plate and capable of eating birds. Found in the rainforest, you’d be well-served to keep your distance.
Allegedly, this massive hog threatened to attack 11-year-old child Jamison Stone and his father while they were out hunting. The Stone’s managed to kill the creature with a gun before posing with this picture. Allegedly, the hog was nine-feet long and weighed in at over 1,000 lbs. While the veracity of this specific pig is in question, scientists have unearthed similarly sized hog fossils.
12. Coconut Crabs
Do you have a crushing fear of giant insects? Oh, good because the Coconut Crab is technically an anthropoid. Found throughout islands in the Indian Ocean, Coconut Crabs look like something pulled out of a Lovecraft novel. These crabs can weigh up to 9 pounds while growing in size comparable to a darn garbage can.
13. Gibson the Great Dane
We figured that you needed some real eye-bleach, so here is Gibson the Great Dane. The tallest dog on the planet, Gibson is as tall as Shaquille O’Neal. Gibson only weighs 170 pounds so his thin frame is slightly less menacing. Cruella Deville probably wouldn’t want to mess with this pup.
14. Nomura’s Jellyfish
We’re starting to think that the ocean should be off limits. The Nomura Jellyfish can be found in the Pacific Ocean, near Japan. Nomura’s Jellyfish is the largest cnidarian in the world and is edible, though we wouldn’t suggest trying to wrangle one up yourself. These jellyfish are 6’6 feet long and weigh in at over 450 lbs.
15. Saltwater Crocodile
Sharks are apex predators, they have no natural enemies. Saltwater Crocodiles have been found to eat sharks. That’s the way the world works. Saltwater Crocodiles can weigh up to 2,000 pounds while growing up to 18 feet in length. This is probably the most terrifying animal on our list.
16. Cinereous Vulture
Nevermind, the Cinereous Vulture is pretty terrifying. This magnificent bird weighs over 30 lbs and sports a wingspan of nearly 10 feet. We probably wouldn’t let the dogs out when this bird is flying overhead.
17. Titan Longhorn Beetle
Don’t like bugs? Too bad. The Titan Longhorn Beetle is over half of a foot long and it sports mandibles that can cut pencils straight in half. These creatures hiss and bite and are generally not the kind of bugs we’d want to find in our kitchen.
18. Japanese Spider Crabs
Did we mention that crabs look like aliens? The Japanese Spider Crab looks too terrifying to be real, but we’re sure that they taste good. We don’t want to go near one of these with a bowl of butter, however, as their massive pinching claws can do some serious damage. Japanese Spider Crabs can reach lengths of up to 12 feet.
The Champion Taco-Eating Pit Bull
My neighbor Jose had just adopted a special pit bull from the local rescue shelter. It had been the faithful companion for five years of Jose’s elderly friend who had passed away a few months earlier. Because pit bulls have a bad rap, nobody wanted the dog, so the shelter planned to put it to sleep. When my neighbor learned that his friend’s faithful companion was about to be killed, he immediately adopted the dog. I don’t know about cats having nine lives, but that dog definitely got a second life.
That dog went everywhere with Jose. The dog’s name was Lucky, but Jose made a point of calling him something like “Lu-key.” Jose even got that large pooch service-dog certified, which meant he could take that dog into the supermarkets and even into the county fair.
Last July, I was assigned to judge the taco eating contest. A few months later the county fair started. Somehow Jose managed to get Lucky into the fair on my judgment day. According to him, the ticket office at first refused to let Lucky the service dog go in, because of all the other animals there. So Jose was sent to the exhibitor’s entrance, where the fair’s president was. After the president argued with Jose a bit, he was left at the gate with Lucky while the fair officials argued about what to do. During that time, exhibitors with other dogs, cats, pigs, and birds of all kinds, came into the fair through that same gate. Lucky looked at those other animals but did not budge from Jose’s side. Not a sound came from him, though other animals sometimes made a racket. The president noticed that and then decided to let Jose and Lucky conditionally come in; Lucky was in no way to disturb the other animals, children, or people.
A local guy named Walt came to the taco eating contest as a participant, not letting his wife know. We had TV-like tables set up with fifteen Mama Juanita’s Taqueria soft-shelled chicken tacos on each one, the best tacos for hundreds of miles. The contestant who at them the fastest won the contest. It happened that Jose and Lucky were the closest to Walt’s table.
Well, no sooner had I blown the start whistle than Walt’s wife screamed out his name, “Walter Higgins! Get over here!” At that shout, he jumped up and bumped over his table filled with tacos, in front of Lucky. Walt then bolted away from that area as fast as a rooster with its tail feathers aflame. Well, Lucky apparently felt lucky, so he jumped the few feet needed to get at all those tacos on the ground in front of him and started gobbling them down. It wasn’t long before all the contest spectators were watching Lucky, some aiming their Instagram-linked iPhone cameras at him. It was only later we discovered that CNN also had a cameraman at that event. Not only did Lucky eat all the tacos, but he was also the first to finish them as well!
Since the top two human taco eating contest champions were state-level champs, it didn’t take the local folk much time to declare, over the protest of those two guys, Lucky the 2015 taco eating contest winner. CNN national news and its website showed scenes of Lucky gobbling up the last of the tacos. The fair’s Facebook page ended up with the greatest number of views in local history. The social media sensation Lucky would become the “picture boy” for the next state fair.
Bizarre Starfish Found in Palm Beach
A person visiting Palm Beach, Florida witnessed a huge starfish gliding across the sand after low tide. While dislodging itself out of the sand, the creature slowly crawled across the sand, almost looking like it was floating on the surface. The video’s unloader says that he was amazed to watch the bizarre-looking creature embarked on his journey.
The National Geographic notes that starfish are invertebrate and that they are part of the family that consists of sand dollars and sea urchins. The majority of starfish live in tidal pools and coral reefs.
Most starfish have spiny skin and consist of five arms. However, some species can grow to have as many as 50 arms. The one in the video that is going viral has nine arms. Underneath the arms, you can see small little suckers that are used to allow the animal to slowly creep along the ocean floor — in this case along the sand. On the ends of its arms are eye-spots that are light-sensitive and are used for hunting food. They attack prey by attaching themselves and spreading its stomach out through its mouth, essentially vomiting onto its prey, with enzymes breaking down the prey so that the starfish can digest it. While we usually have a pleasant mental image of a beautiful starfish, what’s underneath it is surprisingly terrifying
About The Starfish Species
While it is difficult to determine the type of species in the viral video, it is most likely a Luidia senegalensis. These starfish are known for their unique nine arm formation. Once fully grown, they’ll have a diameter of about 16 inches, with some specimen growing even larger. They could be found in depths of up to 130 feet around the coast of Florida.
Why Are Starfish Found At The Beach?
Most starfish are found in deep waters or in small pools along the beach called tidal pools. During low tide, the ocean pulls back from the beach, revealing small sea animals.
Sometimes starfish are found in beaches because of age or because they are dying. Thankfully the starfish in the viral video looks very robust and healthy, slowly dislodging itself from the sand and crawling to a safe spot in the water or a nearby tidal pool.
What To Do If You Find A Starfish
Joey did the right thing — he kept his distance, and did not disturb the starfish or its environment. Never harvest live starfish for several reasons — unless you can explicitly identify the starfish, you might be handling one that is venomous to human beings. While starfish do not attack humans, they can intentionally or accidentally inflict painful stings with a release of venom when they are handled.
Unfortunately, there’s also the chance of fatally damaging the starfish. Starfish not only sensitive, but they can only breathe while in the water. Some might instantly die when lifted out of the water or touched by a human.
The Day I Met a Baby Gray Whale
In addition to being one of the most curious and intelligent creatures in Earth’s oceans, due to their great size and the fact that they travel vast distances, gray whales are also host to a wealth of scientific data about the health of our oceans. Gray whales have a long history of unique interactions with humans. Most of the time they appear indifferent to us. Sometimes they behave in a friendly way. But during a few points in history, in a small number of locations, legends of gray whales flipping small boats and dragging men beneath the waves have cropped up.
But gray whales can even be dangerous when they do not mean to be. Weighing in at nearly 40 tons, with massive flippers and a huge, powerful tail, gray whales have downed many small boats either accidentally or otherwise. But these fascinating creatures still have a powerful draw for us. They are mysterious, massive, and have eyes which reflect a strangely familiar intelligence.
So when Cheryl and David Kipling set out in hopes of meetings these creatures face to face, it was no small task overcoming their trepidation. Cheryl and David are biologists and run a lab where they study the remains of whales that have been killed prematurely by the actions of humans.
Cheryl explained, “I’ve autopsied the brains of half a dozen gray whales and the one thing that stands out is the size and sophistication of their limbic brain.”
We asked for more clarification on why having a big limbic brain is such a big deal.
She replied, “The limbic brain, in mammals, is the part of the brain that renders emotions. It’s sandwiched between the fore-brain- which is big in humans, and the hindbrain- which controls all of our cravings and reflex instincts. The limbic brain motivates us with feelings. When you look at a puppy and say ‘ahh’ at his big brown eyes, or when you miss a loved one and want to see them, that’s the limbic brain. Judging by the size of their’s, these animals are deeply emotional. They are primarily emotional, in fact- whereas people might be said to be primarily intellect oriented. That’s why it’s such a crime to keep orcas in captivity, separate them from their pods- their families. They suffer intensely.”
Equipped with this new and strange knowledge, going out with Dave and Cheryl to meet the whales felt all the more momentous. Getting out on the water to the right spot where the whale sightings were happening took most of the day. But the weather was beautiful, the water was calm, and we would have been happy even if no whales had shown up. But they did.
The couple spotted a mother and calf breaching the surface some distance off. They were headed in our direction. For several minutes, wonder, anticipation, and- we’ll admit, a little bit of dread were palpable. All I could think about is what I would do if one of these animals accidentally flipped our boat.
But eventually, the mother and calf reached us. They were careening off to the south. But then the baby spotted us and approached our boat. It came right up to the boat and held its long snout out of the water right next to the boat. It just sort of “stood” there. Cheryl and David reached out and stroked the animal’s nose while the mother looked on.
The baby whale turned and looked us over with its oddly small eye, calmly, almost serenely as Cheryl and David stroked her. Then the whales passed as quietly as they came. I’ll never forget the lucidity and the depth of feeling in the eye of that baby whale.
World’s Smallest McDonald’s Restaurant Draws Attention to Important Issue
McDonald’s is one of the world’s leading fast food restaurant chains, with Statista noting that they had as many as 37,855 restaurants open across the globe as of the end of last year. Given the sheer number of McDonald’s restaurants currently operation, one would think that the opening of another one would barely register on an international level, but that was not the case.
That’s due in large part to this particular restaurant being dedicated to serving customers of a different species.
The Remarkable McHive
In partnership with the advertising agency NORD DDB, McDonald’s created a miniature replica of one of their restaurants. The small restaurant, known as the McHive, features many of the same elements that people will see if they visit one of the McDonald’s branches in their area.
There are drive-thru windows present on the McHive, large windows, and outdoor seating for guests who may prefer to dine in an open-air environment. One can even see some posters advertising the restaurant chain’s offerings plastered on the walls of the “World’s Smallest McDonald’s.”
Of course, it cannot be called a McDonald’s restaurant without those iconic golden arches serving as its crowning glory.
This restaurant isn’t designed for people to dine in though. Instead, the McHive, as its name already hints at, is meant to house bees.
The Meaning behind the McHive
The McHive is actually a nod to a movement initiated by branches of the fast food chain in Sweden. Some of the McDonald’s restaurants in the aforementioned country have started to house beehives on their rooftops.
Also of note, the McHive features beehives on top of its roof and inside of it as well.
Via AdWeek, McDonald’s Sweden marketing director Christoffer Rönnblad said that the restaurant chain is happy to spread the message of sustainability. McDonald’s has gotten behind the practice of hosting beehives on the rooftops of their restaurants.
Set designer Nicklas Nilsson was responsible for the creation of the McHive. Since the release of the video showing off the McHive, the gorgeous structure has been auctioned off and the proceeds from it have gone to Ronald McDonald House charities.
While McDonald’s efforts to promote sustainable and to help the bee population are laudable, they will need more help to succeed.
The Concerning Status of the Bee Population
According to a recent report from ABC News, the bee population is continuing to decrease at an alarming rate. Research notes that 37.7 percent of the managed bee population declined from Oct. 1, 2018 to April 1 of this year.
That’s a noticeable decline in the managed bee population and it represents the largest winter losses since surveys were first conducted back in 2006. Accounting for a larger of window of time that goes from April 1, 2018 to April 1, 2019, the reported losses in the managed bee population totaled 40.7 percent.
Scott McArt, the assistant professor of pollinator health at Cornell University, described the aforementioned losses in the managed bee population as “unsustainably high.” McArt also mentioned that the losses can be explained in part by the presence of the varroa mite parasite that has been known to carry and spread diseases inside beehives.
According to EarthDay.org, other factors contributing to the decline of the bee population include climate change, habitat fragmentation, and the use of certain pesticides.
The decline of the population is not something to be taken lightly. Bees play an important role in the world’s ecosystem as they are excellent pollinators. Plants pollinated by bees are said to make up 35 percent of the world’s food production.
Furthermore, the loss of bees could indirectly affect other animals that sustain themselves on the products that come about as a result of pollination.
Should the bee population continue to drop at an unsustainable rate, the effects on food production for all creatures that inhabit the Earth could be quite severe.
Looking Back at an Eventful Summer for Snowflake the Albino Alligator
The past few months have been quite eventful for one particular albino alligator.
In case you missed it, an albino alligator named Snowflake generated more than a few headlines in recent months.
Back in May, Snowflake was welcomed as a kind of guest of honor after arriving at the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois. It’s easy to see why Snowflake caused a stir when she first made her way to the Brookfield Zoo.
Due to her albinism, Snowflake can stand out easily even amongst a crowded congregation of alligators. She possesses noticeably white skin that can be likened very much to the look of ivory and her eyes also have a pinkish hue. Those characteristics are typical of an albino alligator.
It is worth noting that Snowflake is also significantly shorter than many of the other alligators that you may be able to see in zoos or swamps. Per ABC 7 Chicago, Snowflake measures about 7 feet long. An average adult female American alligator measures about 8.2 feet tall, according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute.
While Snowflake was enjoying the attention from visitors at the Brookfield Zoo, an important and exciting discovery was made back at her home.
Snowflake Is Going to be a Mother
In June, Wild Florida announced that the caretakers of Snowflake and another albino alligator named Blizzard found eggs at the pair’s shelter. A total of 19 eggs were found at Snowflake and Blizzard’s exhibit, WFTV 9 reported.
Upon spotting the eggs, the caretakers acted fast to collect and move them to a more secure location.
Wild Florida co-founder and co-owner Dan Munns explained that moving the eggs out of the shelter was a necessary step due to some of the difficulties that the pair of albino alligators may encounter as parents. Munns explained that while alligators typically make for great mothers, Snowflake may not be as capable as some of her counterparts because of the blindness brought about by her albinism.
By securing the eggs themselves, the caretakers can shield them from any predators that may come snooping around. The eggs are being kept in an incubator in order so that they can be cared for in a more controlled environment. The caretakers mentioned that keeping the eggs in an environment where the temperature can remain at a stable level is essential to successful hatching.
Additional Facts about Albino Alligators
The fact that the eggs came from parents exhibiting albinism could very well turn out to be good news for the albino alligator population. Typically, albino alligators are born as a result of two normal alligators who carry the recessive gene for albinism mating, according to Safari Ltd. Since both Snowflake and Blizzard are albino alligators, the chances for them producing offspring that feature the same physical traits could be higher.
The albino alligator population could certainly use a boost. At present, biologists estimate that only around 100 albino alligators could be alive across the entire world.
Albino alligators are rare not just because they are the offspring of parents carrying some uncommon genes. It is also difficult for albino alligators to survive precisely because of their unique appearance.
Unlike the alligators that feature a more common skin color, albino alligators find it incredibly difficult to disguise themselves. That makes them easy prey for predators especially when they are younger.
Because of those struggles they could potentially face in the wild, you will often find zoos and farms caring for albino alligators to ensure that they can live out long and happy lives. While it’s still unclear what kind of offspring Snowflake and Blizzard will produce, there is certainly a fair amount of optimism that they will bring more albino alligators into the world.
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