Human beings are fascinated with small animals. The internet abounds with posts on the adorableness of these creatures. Most small animals live in remote areas far from human habitations to escape destruction as they are tender and distinctive. This is the major reason for our lack of awareness of these remarkable creatures who despite their small size play a vital role in our ecosystems. Here is a compiled list of the smallest animals in the world that deserve our attention and no longer ought to be overlooked! Here is the list of 10 smallest animals in the world,
Smallest Animals In The World
1. Paedocypris fish
Paedocypris fish is the smallest species of fish in the world. It is a freshwater fish found in the streams and marshy swamps in the islands of Sumatra, Borneo and Bintan in Indonesia. Paedocrypis fish can be as small as 7.9mm in length. They were discovered only in 1996. They have transparent bodies and do not possess traits characteristic of other fish, such as a bony skull structure around its brain
They have sexual dimorphism ( a condition where the male and female of the species have completely different characteristics beyond sexual organs), with the males having modified pelvic fins. Their small size enables them to live in small puddles which ensures their survival in drought. They are extremely vulnerable to habitat destruction such as draining of swamps and it is also feared that they might have already become extinct despite their recent discovery.
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2. Paedophryne Amauensis
They are the world’s smallest species of frog and are found in Papua New Guinea. They were discovered in 2009. On average they have a length of 7.7 mm. They are not easily detected as these frogs have calls resembling those of insects and they easily camouflage amidst littered leaves in the forest. They lose water content easily and rely on the high moisture from leaf litter. Unlike other frog species, they do not go through the tadpole stage in their lives.
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3. Denise’s pygmy seahorse
One of the smallest animals in the world, Denise’s pygmy seahorse or yellow pygmy seahorse is found in the western Pacific. It has a length of 2.4 cm and is the smallest seahorse. This pygmy seahorse is found in the depths of the oceans between 13 to 100 meter and is found amidst soft sea corals. They feed on crustaceans and zooplankton. They camouflage adaptively to match the colour of the surroundings. They reside on a single coral during the entirety of their lifespan. Due to inadequate information about Denise Pygmy seahorse, IUCN has classified this species as “Data deficient.
4. Pygmy Jerboa
The pygmy jerboa is a rodent which is endemic to Baluchistan province in Pakistan. It has a body length of 4.4 cm and weighs about 3.75 g. These are nocturnal creatures that move in wide hops with the aid of their long tail. They live in burrows tunnelled under small bushes. They feed on the leaves of desert vegetation. There is deficient data on them for IUCN to classify their status.
5. Barbados Thread Snake
It is the smallest species of snake. They are found in Barbados island in the Caribbean. On average, they are about 10 cm long. They were first discovered in 2008. They feed on termites and ant larvae. This snake produces only one egg at a time. They require the presence of forests to survive which makes it difficult as Barbados has no remaining natural forest.IUCN categorizes this species as critically endangered and listed as one of the smallest animals in the world.
6. Pygmy Possum
Pygmy Possums are largely endemic to Australia but they are also found in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. They are about 5 to 10 cm in length and weigh about 10 to 50 grams. They are nocturnal creatures and feed on insects, seeds, fruits, pollen and nectar. They climb trees easily with the help of their prehensile tails (tails that are adapted for grasping or holding). While Pygmy possums can’t slide like other possums, they can hop large distances. Though with the aid of prehensile tails they ascend branches easily they prefer to live on the ground.
7. Virgin Islands Dwarf Gecko
Virgin Island Dwarf geckos are one of the smallest terrestrial vertebrates in the world and they are found on the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. In contrast to larger geckos which live in leaf litter, Virgin Island Dwarf Geckos live on drier hills yet favour moist microhabitats found under these rocks. On average, they are about 18 mm long and weigh 0.15 g. The females of this species are larger than the males and they can regenerate their tails if it is severed. The lighter coloured stripes behind their eyes differentiate it from other kinds of geckos. The IUCN classifies them as an endangered species.
8. Brookesia Micra Chameleon
The Brookesia Micra chameleons are the smallest reptiles in the world and are about 29 mm in length. They are found in Madagascar and were discovered only recently in the 21st century. They reside among littered leaves during the day but climb up into the tree branches in the night to sleep. Compared to other chameleons they have a shorter tail and a larger head. Moreover, they have an orange coloured tail. Though this height upto which they climb is only about 10 cm above the soil! The forests in which these chameleons live is threatened by illegal logging and thus they are at a high risk of extinction if their habitat is destroyed. IUCN categorizes them as near threatened.
9. Etruscan shrew
Etruscan shrew is the smallest mammal by mass (while the bumblebee bat is the smallest by size). It has a body length of 4 cm. Etruscan shrews feed on insects and are found in warm and damp climates in places as far and wide as Europe, North Africa and Malaysia. Except during the mating season, Etruscan shrews live alone. They are defined by their rapid metabolism and fast movements. Though they risk extinction in some countries, their population as a whole isn’t threatened. IUCN categorizes their status as one of “least concern.
10. Bumblebee bat
Kitti’s hog-nosed bat also known as the bumblebee bat is found in southeastern Myanmar and western Thailand. They are the world’s smallest mammals and reside in caves in dry evergreen or deciduous forests. They have a peculiar pig-like snout and typically have a grey or reddish-brown coat. The female bumblebee bats give birth to only a single offspring in a span of a single year. It is about 23 to 33 cm in length and weighs about 2 g. Bumblebee bats feed mainly on insects.
It has been characterized as ‘near-threatened’ species by the International Union for Conservation of Nation (IUCN), due to the degradation of their habitat and disruption of roosting sites. In Thailand it is found only in a single province where it is at risk of extinction while its status is not clearly documented in Myanmar. These are the smallest animals in the world. Kindly share and do post your comments.