The 20 Smallest Animals in the World


We’ve brought you BIG. We’ve brought you scary. We’ve even brought you the slightly paranormal

Now it’s time for the smallest. But don’t expect all fluff and cuddle – some of these animals are still pretty weird. Still, some of them are SO small to the human eye, you wonder how they even GOT discovered!

20. Kitti’s Hog-Nosed Bat
Hog Nosed Bat

Also known as the bumblebee bat, it is found in Thailand. When fully grown, it reaches just over an inch long with a 5″ wingspan. It weighs about the same as a quarter. It is recognized as the smallest known mammal when measured by skull size, competing with #12 the Etruscan shrew when compared by mass.

19. Bee Hummingbird

Native to Cuba, it is about 2 1/2″ inches long and weighs about the same as a dime. They can flap their wings over 100x a minute, and unsurprisingly also lay the world’s smallest eggs.

18. Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are generally recognized as the world’s smallest dog breed, but Boo Boo (pictured above) takes the cake. Standing just under 4″ tall, Boo Boo is the smallest living dog in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records as of 2013.

17. Pygmy Marmoset Monkey

Native to the Amazon rainforest, pygmy marmoset monkeys grow only to about 6″ in size, excluding their tail. They are also known colloquially in Brazil as mono de bolsillos, or “pocket monkeys.”

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16. Paedocypris Fish

Found in Southeast Asia, they grow to about 1/3 of an inch and are known for their ability to live in water with high levels of acidity.

15. Brookesia Micra Chameleon

Brookesia micra is the smallest species of chameleon and lives on the islet of Nosy Hara in Antsiranana, Madagascar. It is an evolutionary “victim” of insular dwarfism and might soon be a victim of extinction too due to illegal logging in Madagascar’s forests.

14. Royal Antelope

Despite its misleading name, the royal antelope is the smallest of all antelopes. Growing only to 9-10″ and weighing in at a meager 9-10 pounds, they live in the dense undergrowth of forests in West Africa and are nocturnal and extremely shy.

13. Virgin Islands Dwarf Gecko

The Virgin Islands dwarf gecko is not only the smallest of all lizards, but also the second smallest of all known terrestrial vertebrates. When fully grown, it can rest its whole body on a dime.

12. Etruscan Shrew

The Etruscan shrew is the smallest known mammal by mass, competing with #20 the bumblebee bat when compared by skull size. Found throughout Eurasia and possibly even Africa, they have a very fast heart beating rate, up to 1511 beats/min (25 beats/s), which means they need to eat A LOT of worms to stay alive.

11. Vaquita

The vaquita (Spanish for “little cow”) is the smallest surviving species of cetaceans. Restricted to the northern area of the Gulf of California, or Sea of Cortez, they live in murky lagoons and eat just about everything. They are critically endangered and grow between 4-5 feet long and weigh around 100 pounds.

10. Barbados Threadsnake

Found in the Caribbean islands of Barbados, it is the smallest member of the blind threadsnake species. Despite its name, it should be called “spaghetti snake” because it is about as thick as a spaghetti noodle, not thread. It grows to about 4″ and coil easily onto the width of a quarter.

9. Speckled Padloper Tortoise

Endemic to South Africa, the speckled padloper tortoise grows to about 4″ and weighs about 5 ounces. They prefer arid, desert environments and prefer leafy greens. They are threatened by the pet trade.

8. Paedophryne Amauensis Frog
Paedophryne amauensis

Discovered in August 2009 in Papua New Guinea, it is the world’s smallest known vertebrate. In the wild, they live on rainforest leaf litter. In the picture above, it seems content taking up roughly 1/4 of a dime.

7. Denise’s Pygmy Seahorse

Originally found in Indonesia, Denise’s pygmy seahorses have also been recorded in Vanuatu, Palau, Malaysia, Solomon Islands, southern Japan, northern Australia, and New Caledonia. They are about the size of an average human finger nail and prefer to hide in coral reefs.

6. Pygmy Mouse Lemur

Saw “awww.” The world’s smallest species of lemur is an adorable 5″ long and weighs a manageable 2 ounces. Discovered in Madagascar as recently as 1993, they are nocturnal and prefer deciduous forests.

5. Patu Digua Spider

The smallest KNOWN species of spiders, pata diguas are endemic to Colombia and are about the size of the period at the end of this sentence.

4. Musky Caiman Crocodile

Found in South America, it is the smallest species in the crocodile, alligator, AND caiman family. Growing up to a mere 4″, they still have razor sharp teeth that pack a punch.

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3. Philippine Tarsier

The Philippine tarsier has quite the neck. Because it is unable to move its eyes, it has evolved special vertebrae that allow it to turn its head nearly 180 degrees. It is one of the smallest known primates, measuring about the size of an average man’s hand.

2. Vechur Cow

Normally we think of cows as massive, lumbering beasts. But not the Vechur cow, a rare breed of cow originally from India. Standing two feet tall and four feet long, the cow is renowned for its ability to produce vast quantities of milk while requiring very little feed.

1. Monte Iberia Eleuth

Recognized as the smallest known frog in the Northern Hemosphere, it is found in Cuba and is a distant island relative to poison dart frogs.


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