8 of the Smallest Animals of Their Kind

A tiny, brown Phillipine tarsier clutching a palm tree

Kanawa_Studio / Getty Images

Ask anyone to name the smallest animals on Earth, and most will point to insects and single-celled organisms such as amoebas. But there are plenty of tiny animals that don't require a microscope to see. Here are eight animals on the next level of the small spectrum that are some of the smallest of their kind.

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Bee Hummingbird

Bee hummingbird in a tree with green leaves and red pods

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The bee hummingbird, also called the Zunzuncito (Mellisuga helenae), is known as the smallest bird in the world. Inhabitants of Cuba and Isla de la Juventud, it weighs less than one tenth of an ounce and reaches a length of two and one-quarter inches. Thanks to a shoulder joint, bee hummingbirds have the ability to fly in every direction. Like other hummingbirds, it enjoys nectar and insects for its meals. Classified as near threatened with a decreasing population, bee hummingbirds are known to live up to seven years in the wild and 10 years in captivity.

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Madame Berthe's Mouse Lemur

A brown and white Madame Berthe's mouse lemur on brown tree branches

dennisvdw / Getty Images

The Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, or Microcebus berthae, is the world’s smallest living primate, weighing in just over one ounce. Its head and body are a maximum of about four inches long, and its tail is a bit longer at around five inches. It lives in Madagascar off the east coast of Africa and exists as a nocturnal animal, storing body fat before entering torpor. The Madame Berthe's mouse lemur is critically endangered due to habitat loss in Madagascar.

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Denise's Pygmy Seahorse

A yellow Denise's pygmy seahorse attached to the branch of a pink and white underwater plant

Rickard Zerpe / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

Denise’s pygmy seahorse, also known as Hippocampus denise, lives among the coral reefs of the western Pacific at depths of 40 to 300 feet. It stands around three-quarters of an inch tall and is considered one of the best-camouflaged fish in the ocean. Like other seahorses, the males carry the eggs. After the juveniles hatch, they remain in the coral reef habitat in which they were born. The species is at risk due to degradation of their habitat, pollution, and destructive fishing methods.

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Kitti's Hog-Nosed Bat

closeup of hand holding tiny bumblebee bat

Courtesy of Merlin Tuttle's Bat Conservation 

The Kitti’s hog-nosed bat, also known as the bumblebee bat, is the smallest known bat on Earth. Near-threatened with a decreasing population, the animal weighs around two grams (.07 ounces), which is roughly the weight of a dime. Further, it reaches a height of only about one and a half inches. Craseonycteris thonglongyai is known to live in parts of Thailand and Myanmar. To the naked eye, it can seem like a bumblebee while in flight, hovering over the bamboo leaves it likes to frequent.

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Dwarf Caiman Crocodile

Dwarf crocodile with its head upright on a wooden board

NajaShots / Getty Images

Crocodiles are generally among the most feared creatures on land and water, but this particular crocodile may not inspire terror due to its small size. But don't let your guard down because the dwarf caiman of South America can back up its bite. Patrolling freshwater riverbeds, lakes, and small streams, the Paleosuchus palpebrosus is the smallest of all crocodiles. Males reach a maximum length of about five feet and a weight of 15 pounds. Dwarf crocodiles also contain a heavily ossified armor and can inflate their bodies when threatened. It is known to feast mostly on invertebrates and fish.

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Vechur Cow

A tan vechur cow and and a brown and tan calf, standing next to green trees

Mullookkaaran / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Vechur cow is a dwarf cow indigenous to Kerala, India. Called the smallest cow in the world, a male Vechur generally reaches a maximum height of three and a half feet and a weight of 485 pounds. Vechur cows are valued for the high-yield and high-fat content of the milk they produce. It became known as the ideal “backyard cow” and led to a custom in Kerala of giving the cow away as a wedding gift.

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Philippine Tarsier

A brown Philippine tarsier with huge amber eyes clutching a palm tree

Matteo Colombo / Getty Images

The Philippine tarsier, or Tarsius syrichta, is a nocturnal species that lives in the rainforests of the Philippines. Because the tarsier cannot move its oversized eyes, it has special vertebrae that allow it to turn its neck 180 degrees. It is considered one of the smallest known primates and is around three to six inches in size. The Philippine tarsier is near threatened with a decreasing population due to hunting, commercial and residential development, and habitat destruction.

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Monte Iberia Dwarf Frog

A black and gold Monte Iberia Eleuth, the smallest frog in the world on a human hand

uba-foto / Getty Images

The Monte Iberia dwarf frog (Eleutherodactylus iberia) is considered the smallest frog in the Northern Hemisphere. (There are smaller frogs in the Southern Hemisphere.) It is around three-eighths of an inch long and can fit on a human fingertip. Found in eastern Cuba, the species has toxins in its skin that may be derived from its source of food, which is primarily mites. It’s also critically endangered with a decreasing population due to habitat loss caused by deforestation.