Most of us associate tiny animals with: cuteness, fuzzy, rainbows and the uncontrollable desire to pick them up from the ground and cuddle them till they turn purple. But what if an animal only grows to be a few inches in length?
To me there’s something strangely disturbing about that idea. Tiny bugs that size are creepy enough as it is – but it’s extra unsettling when it’s an actual animal with a tiny skeleton and all. Just imagine you’re cleaning the basement and found a horse the size of a pea staring at you… You might think that sounds cute, but I’m willing to bet you’d be screaming like a hysterical schoolgirl the moment it crawled up your leg.
A little creepy or just ridiculously cute? You decide, with this list of the smallest animals you will find in nature – or on the bottom of your shoe if you’re not careful…
#1. Bumblebee Bat – World’s Smallest Bat
This tiny creature is not only the smallest bat, but also the smallest mammal in the world. These miniature bloodsuckers are about the same size as a bumblebee (around 1,1 inch in length), hence the common name “Bumblebee Bat”. The habitat of these small animals are the areas in Sai Yok National Park in western Thailand. Since it was first discovered in 1974 this tiny mammal has been disturbed by tourists wanting to see the world’s smallest mammal and no doubt stash some in their underpants before going back through customs.
Today the impending extinction for these tiny animals comes from deforestation near the limestone caves in which they lurk. A creepy fact is that these bats can form swarms of up to 500, which pretty much equals a mosquito swarm from the 7th circle of hell. Fortunately they feed on insects, so you can sleep in peace – knowing that you’re unlikely to be drained to a skeleton by a massive swarm of these mini vampires. (source)
#2. World’s Smallest Snake
Snakes are clearly evil and anyone who doesn’t freak out at the sight of one must have some serious problems with their mental wiring. I’m not alone in that opinion. For one, the person who wrote Genesis agrees with me and some people think his name is God. It’s no coincidence that Adam and Eve were tricked into eating the forbidden fruit by a snake rather than a kitten. However, even I have to admit that this “Leptotyphlops carlae” snake does look sorta cute…
The “Leptotyphlops carlae” is the world’s smallest known snake, averaging just 10cm (4 inches) and as thin as a spaghetti noodle. This miniature horror has been discovered on the Caribbean island of Barbados by Dr Blair Hedges, a biologist from Penn State University, US. The snake, is thought to be at the very limit of how tiny a snake can evolve to be. Unexpectedly, there isn’t anything horrifying we can reveal about these slithering micro creatures. Their bite won’t make the heads of 20 elephants explode like regular snakes, and they actually feed on the larvae of termites… not hapless archaeologists. (source)
#3. The Pygmy Jerboa – World’s Smallest Rodent
This dwarfed rodent can only be found in the hot deserts of Pakistan and Afghanistan and, with a length of just 2 inches, is known to be the smallest rodent on the planet. These tiny animals have extremely long legs which allow them to jump over 10 ft (3 meters). How impressive that may be, we still think it looks like a hamster that swapped legs with a bird and got cheated out of a butt.
As you can see in the video below – these funky rodents move around by hopping on their hind legs like a Kangaroo hit by a shrink-ray. Apparently in all the world’s major desert regions you will find animals that mainly use hopping as a means of transport as it’s a very energy-efficient way of avoiding predators, which comes in handy when 99% of the animal kingdom is capable of swallowing you whole.
#4. Brookesia Micra – Tiniest Chameleon
When I first saw this picture I swore it was either a Photoshop or a giant matchstick. Turns out I was wrong… This micro-reptile was discovered by German critter-hunters in Madagascar while picking through leaf litter. The chameleon measures just 1.1 inches (29mm ) from nose to the tail, placing it on top among mini reptiles. Man, those researchers must have hawk-eye vision to spot a camouflaged animal of just 1 inch in a pile of leaves! (source)
#5. The Bee Humming Bird – World’s Smallest Bird
Here we have another tiny flying animal that has “Bee” in its name and is at risk of ending up on the bad side of a flyswapper. This is the Bee Humming Bird and is known to be the world’s smallest bird. They grow to be around 2 inches and lays eggs smaller than a coffee bean. a “colossal” 23 cm in length and 18-20 g in weight.
#6. World’s Smallest Frog
With a body length of just 7.7 millimeters, the Paedophryne Amauensis was recently crowned as the smallest known animal with a backbone. It’s also the only frog that could potentially end up getting eaten by a house-fly instead of the other way around. These tiny amphibians were discovered in 2010 in the New Guinea’s forest floor. Locating and capturing one was quite a feat as they are so tiny that they’re almost impossible to spot with the naked eye. After 4 failed attempts, researchers said “screw this high-tech sound locating equipment”, and just grabbed a big handful of leaf litter and stuffed it in a plastic bag. They then combed through the contents untill they eventually saw this tiny fellow hop of one of the leaves.
#7. Einstein, World’s Smallest Horse
Ok, so I’m assuming you took a peek at that tiny horse and now feel I am insulting your intelligence. That’s no horse, it’s an extremely detailed Barbie toy… right? Wrong! This is Einstein, a miniature horse that stands just 20 inches tall! What makes Einstein extra special is that he shows no dwarf characteristics like other small horse species and is basically just a very small version of a normal looking horse. Einstein became quite a celebrity star and was featured on a number of tv-shows, including Oprah. Not bad I’d say for a horse that could be squashed by a soccer ball.
The Pygmy Elephant
This cartoon version of a “real elephant” was thought to be extinct until they were re-discovered on a remote island on Borneo. Researchers concluded that the elephants were likely isolated on the island when the last land bridges connecting Borneo to the mainland disappeared some 18,000 years ago. As you can tell, they are an infinite amount cuter and about the same size as a large dog. The only thing missing is that they aren’t pink, but seriously, who wouldn’t want one of these cuties running around in their living room? Unfortunately, there are only around 100 of them left so forget about picking one up on eBay though.
Pygmy Marmoset – the Smallest true monkey
I know what you’re thinking, “Christ almighty, not another tiny animal with Pygmy in its name…” Clearly this tiny primate should have been named “Tiny-Finger-Monkey” but alas the lack of creativity among taxonomist’s has prevented this. These mini primates are extremely hard to study in the wild as they are small enough to live high-up in the trees where they can stay on small branches. No doubt the rainforests in which they live are covered with dented tree trunks, formed by hundreds of researchers slamming their heads against the bark in frustration- as they tried to get a closer look at these tiny monkeys. They are extremely fast and can jump over 5 meters to get out of harms way- or away from any biologist foolish enough to spend half an hour climbing a tree. Oh, and by the way – 5 meters is mighty impressive for a monkey the size of a weener.
Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman – World’s smallest crocodilian
When you think of crocodiles, the image of an armoured, sharp-toothed writhing instrument of death is most likely to pop to mind. But it seems nature decided to put these Dwarf Caimans on earth just to improve the image of the entire crocodilian species. Just look at that adorable little cutie, You just want to pet it, take it with you in the bathtub and sing to it.
Philippine Mouse Deer, World’s smallest hoofed mammal
The Philippine Mouse Deer is the worlds smallest hoofed mammal. It hails from the Balabac Island, south of Palawan in the Philippines and stands only 40 centimetres tall. Don’t be fooled by its ridiculously cute exterior though, the Philippines consider them to be evil tricksters. They believe the animals have a mutual relationship with a species of Python: according to them, when they are hunted by a natural predator or by a human, they hide near the python for protection. As soon as the unwary predator comes close, the python eats the assailer – while this mini deer will, no doubt, be standing there, laughing its tiny ass off.
Most of the animals on this list are an endangered species – some are still actively hunted but the main reason is habitat loss.
Endangered species are like fire alarm. They tell us about problems in our home we call earth, and if we listen to their alarm calls – they could help us improve our lives and the health of our planet.
So let’s raise awareness and please share these unique endangered species with your animal loving friends.