While spotting big animals like elephants, lions, and buffalos is relatively easier, finding small ones can be challenging. Animal size plays a huge role in different aspects, including where they live, how they live, and what they do to survive. Just like big animals, small animals are equally as fascinating. If anything, the same way people rejoice when they spot the Big 5, you can achieve the same bragging rights by locating the “Little Five.” They include leopard tortoise, ant lion, elephant shrew, rhino beetle, and buffalo weaver. Here are some examples of small animals based on their habitats.

Small Mountain Animals

Snow leopards, mountain gorillas, Andean condors, and cougars are known to inhabit mountainous regions. However, they are not exactly small-bodied; the ones that fit the description include:

1. Pika

Native to Asia and North America, pika is a small animal famous for dwelling in the mountains. The mammal, usually characterized by short limbs, no tail, an even fur coat, and a round body, is well adapted to mountainous regions. The species can comfortably live in elevations as high as 6,000 meters (20,000 feet).

Pikas primarily graze on specific plants, flowers, young stems, grasses, and flowers. An adult pika can reach a size of between 7 to 8 inches (18 to 20 centimeters).

2. Northern Pudu

The northern pudu is considered the smallest deer species, with a standing height of 13 to 14 inches (32 to 35 centimeters). Scientifically known as Pudella mephistophiles, the northern pudu is primarily dominant in higher altitudes, usually between 2,000 to 4,000 meters (6,600 to 13,100 feet).

It is native to the South American countries of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. Together with pikas, northern pudus are the smallest animals suitable for life in the mountainous regions.

Small Aquatic/Sea Animals

Some of the world’s smallest animals are found in aquatic/sea environments. They include:

1. Karenia Brevis

Talking of small animals, karenia brevis is as small as it could be. It is a microscopic, single-celled organism known to thrive in aquatic regions. Adults measure between 20 and 40 micrometers. Tiny as they are, the organisms are known to cause the Florida red tides, which often affect the gulf coasts of Texas and Florida in the United States.

2. Brine Shrimp

Sometimes referred to as sea monkeys or artemia, brine shrimps are crustaceans found in large waterbodies worldwide. They are characterized by their segmented bodies attached to wide, leaf-like appendages. Brine shrimps appear on this list of small animals because adults measure between 10-12 millimeters (0.39-0.47 inches).

3. Krill

Found in all the oceans in the world, krill are crustaceans from the order Euphausiacea. The name “krill” is a Norwegian description of the animal’s look; it translates to “small fry of fish.” Adults measure between 8 to 60 millimeters (0.30 to 2.36 inches).

4. Seahorse

Seahorse (also spelled sea-horse or sea horse) refers to any of the 46 species of the Hippocampus genus. The marine animals thrive anywhere with temperate salt water. Seahorses are characterized by their long snouts, bent necks, and unique tails. They somehow resemble the land horses. A mature seahorse measures between 1.5 and 35 cm (0.6 to 13.8 inches).

5. Pea Crab

As its name suggests, a pea crab is a small, pea-sized animal that thrives in clams, mussels, and oysters and lives as a parasite. An adult pea crab measures between 0.13 to 0.46 inches (3 to 12 millimeters).

Small Forest/Jungle Animals

Examples of small animals predominant in forests/jungles include:

1. Brookesia Micra

When it was discovered, Brookesia micra was considered the smallest chameleon species before it was overthrown by the even smaller Brookesia nana. Native to the African country of Madagascar, an adult Brookesia chameleon can grow up to 29mm (1.1 inches). This makes it one of the smallest land animals.

2. Bee Hummingbird

Also known as Helena hummingbird, zunzuncito, or scientifically as, Mellisuga helenae, the bee hummingbird is a hummingbird species native to the Caribbean island of Cuba. It primarily feeds on nectar from flowers and bugs around the region. A mature bee hummingbird has an average length of 5.5 centimeters (2 inches).

3. Williams’ Dwarf Gecko

Currently categorized as critically endangered, the Williams’ dwarf gecko (Lygodactylus williamsi) is a small lizard species native to a small area of the African country Tanzania. It has various other names, including the electric blue day gecko, electric blue gecko, Williams’ dwarf gecko, and turquoise dwarf gecko. Adults measure about 25 to 76 millimeters (2-3 inches).

4. Monte Iberia Eleuth

The Monte Iberia eleuth is a small frog species native to the rainforest in the easternmost parts of Cuba. It is the smallest frog species in the northern hemisphere, with adults measuring between 10 and 25 millimeters (0.4 and 1 inch).

5. Barbados Threadsnake

As it stands, the Barbados threadsnake is the smallest snake species. First identified in 2008, the largest Barbados threadsnake ever found measured 10.4 centimeters (4.09 inches). As its name suggests, the species is native to Barbados and Anguilla Caribbean islands.

Small Desert Animals

As harsh as the desert conditions are, some animals manage to live there! More surprisingly, some are very tiny. They include:

1. Elephant Shrew

Sometimes referred to as jumping shrews or sengis, elephant shrews are insectivorous mammals native to the desert parts of Africa. They get the name “elephant shrew” from the fact that their long noses resemble elephant trunks.

One of the most fascinating features of an elephant shrew is its ability to run extremely fast – it can clock speeds of up to 28.8 kilometers per hour (17.9 miles per hour). Despite their small size, the species also have significantly larger brains than other sengis. An adult elephant shrew measures about 12- 23 centimeters (5-9 inches).

2. Kangaroo Rat

Kangaroo rats are small North American desert rodents and are famous for their tufted tails. They get their name from how they hop, similar to significantly bigger kangaroos. Kangaroo rats have bigger hind legs, significantly large heads, and small front legs. Adults measure between 9 and 14 centimeters (3.5 and 5.5 inches).

3. Dwarf Three-Toed Jerboa

One of the most striking features of a dwarf three-toed jerboa, also known as Baluchistan pygmy jerboa, is that it has a tail significantly longer than the rest of the body. The species’ head and body length averages 4.3 centimeters (1.7 inches). On the other hand, the tail averages 8 centimeters (3.1 inches). Either way, the dwarf three-toed jerboa remains one of the smallest rodents.

4. Speckled Padloper Tortoise

The speckled padloper tortoise is the world’s smallest tortoise species. Endemic to South Africa, an adult Chersobius signatus, as it is scientifically known, measures between 10 and 15 centimeters (4 and 6 inches).

5. Meerkat

Also native to the arid parts of South Africa is the meerkat or suricate. It is a small animal from the mongoose species, famous for its large eyes, pointed snout, broad head, thin tail, and long legs. An adult meerkat’s head and body measure about 24-35 centimeters (9.4-13.8 inches).

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