There are many animals around the world. From microscopic organisms that are less than one millimeter long to creatures that grow up to 30 m long, animals come in every size and shape. Some are microscopic, while others can be as large as 4.5 inches (11.5 cm). For example, the Goliath Beetle can grow up to 3.5 inches (10 cm) long and weigh up to 3.5 ounces (100 g).
Blue whales are among the largest mammals in the world and can be found in every ocean except the Arctic. Their distribution varies considerably based on the amount of krill and the amount of food they can find fun facts about yourself. While most of them live near the North and South Poles, a few have also been spotted off the coast of the eastern United States.
Blue whales are considered endangered because their numbers are dwindling rapidly. Scientists estimate that there are only about 10,000 to 25,000 blue whales worldwide. Despite the threats to this species, combined efforts of government agencies and environmental organizations have dramatically dropped whale killings.
While blue whales are known to swim in small groups, they are usually found alone or in pairs. They spend their summers feeding in the polar regions and migrate to warmer waters in the winter. They can grow to more than 52 feet in length. Their life span is estimated at 80-90 years.
African elephants are among the largest mammals in the world. Female elephants give birth to up to 12 calves in their lifetime. In comparison, the gestation period of a human is about nine months, whereas that of an elephant is around 22 months. The mother elephant takes care of the newborn calf from birth until he or she can handle the tusks of its offspring.
Elephants can reach speeds of up to 40 km/25 miles, and their feet are highly adapted to carry their weight. Their paws are surrounded by a thick layer of skin that protects them from injuries and diseases. While sleeping, elephants lie down for three or four hours each night. They occasionally doze while standing, but they do not sleep deeply.
African elephants are keystone species and play a vital role in the health of their habitat. These mammal-sized animals are known as “ecosystem engineers” because they shape their environment in various ways. They create pathways for smaller animals and keep the savanna open for other animals to thrive.
Mountain gorillas are the world’s largest living primates, with a population of about a thousand. They are native to forests in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and the Central African Republic. Their habitat is a dense rainforest with plenty of food. The animals prefer elevations of about 4,000 meters.
These primates live in family troops and are fiercely protective of their young. Some populations have been destroyed by poachers who have killed entire families, including babies. In the early 20th century, collectors and hunters from Europe and the United States started to poach these primates. In just over 25 years, more than fifty of them were killed.
While their numbers have improved in recent years, the species remains critically endangered in many areas. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists gorillas as endangered. Despite the progress being made, the gorillas are constantly under threat of losing ground due to human activity.
A stable political environment and efforts to prevent human encroachment and poaching would help the species survive. Fortunately, African governments have begun to take an active role in protecting their native species.