It may be normal to think that if an animal is bigger than average that it must be dangerous. While some large animal species aren't safe around humans, there are actually quite a few that wouldn't harm a fly.
Some gigantic species of sharks, birds, crocodiles, and more may look a bit scary on the outside, but in reality, they don't have the capacity to hurt humans. Here are the most gentle giant animals from around the world.
How Manta Rays Eat Their Prey
Manta rays are one of the largest sea creatures with a wingspan of up to 29 feet. They are filter feeders, which means they only eat planktonic organisms.
This species of ray is harmless to humans because they don't have a stinger. According to NOAA Fisheries, the photo shows a manta ray in its feeding position because it is holding its cephalic fins in an "O" shape and its mouth is wide open. The manta ray will use its fins to push the prey into its mouth.
Try Not To Stare At The Mouth Of A Basking Shark
The basking shark is the second-largest fish in the ocean, after the whale shark, and it happens to be one of the gentlest creatures. The giant, gaping mouth may make some beg to differ.
Basking sharks measure around 40-feet long and spend most of their time near the surface of the ocean with their mouths open. This species of shark is a filter feeder, which means they prefer to eat planktonic prey. According to Oceana, they filter up to four million pounds of water every hour while they feed.
Giraffes Barely Sleep
National Geographic states that giraffes are the tallest land animals with males measuring up to 18 feet and females measuring up to 14 feet. Their neck alone is at least six feet and weighs 600 pounds.
Giraffes are usually considered gentle giants, but if they sense danger they can run very fast or defend themselves with a hard kick. There's hardly any time during the day when a giraffe is sleeping because they only need less than 30 minutes every 24 hours.
Leatherback Sea Turtles Don't Have A Hard Shell
The leatherback sea turtle is truly unique because its shell isn't hard and doesn't have scales. NOAA Fisheries says this is the largest species of turtle in the world, measuring between six and seven-feet long. They are named for their tough, rubbery skin.
It's rare for any species of sea turtle to be a threat to humans. Leatherbacks lack the crushing chewing plates, so they have to eat soft-bodied prey such as jellyfish or salps.
Whale Sharks Are Very Playful
Whale sharks are the largest species of shark and they are the most harmless. They usually measure around 40-feet long and are actually quite playful. Divers often swim alongside their babies.
The World Wildlife Fund states that this species of shark feeds on plankton and has to travel many miles in order to sustain their immense size. If you're not sure whether or not you're swimming with a whale shark, make sure to look out for their white spots.
Goliath Birdeater Bites Aren't The Worst Thing In The World
This animal may not seem big compared to every other animal in the world, but it is certainly one of the biggest spiders of all-time. According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The Goliath birdeater is part of the tarantula family, weighs about six ounces, and can grow up to 11 inches in length.
It is considered to be an ambush predator, which means that it would rather wait for prey to cross its path, instead of hunting it down. They do have a venomous bite, but the pain is best described as a bit less than a wasp sting.
Chinese Giant Salamanders Are The Biggest Amphibians Alive
This unique-looking amphibian is called a Chinese giant salamander. It's capable of growing up to six feet in length and weighs about 110 pounds, making it the biggest amphibian in the world.
Being this size may give the impression that the Chinese giant salamander is dangerous, but they are actually pretty gentle. According to the San Diego Zoo, they only eat organisms found in freshwater ecosystems including small fish, frogs, worms, snails, crayfish, crabs, and even smaller salamanders.
Giant African Millipedes Smell And Taste In An Unusual Way
One of the biggest millipedes in the world is an archispirostreptus gigas, also known as a giant African millipede or shongololo. While the name millipede translates to "thousand-feet," this one only has about 300-400 legs.
The San Diego Zoo calls this millipede a gentle giant because their weak jaws cannot bite. Instead, they will coil into a ball and secrete a foul-smelling liquid from their pores. Also, giant African millipedes can taste and smell with all parts of their body.
Why People Should Appreciate Vultures
Vultures are known for their menacing and intimidating presence, but they are actually pretty harmless. Brian McCracken from Pets on Mom says "they have no incentive to attack humans" and "are extremely efficient at removing human and animal waste from our towns, villages, and roads."
They only eat animals who have already passed and their only defense mechanism is projectile vomiting. Without vultures, there would be roadkill all over the place, and communities and natural ecosystems would suffer from the accumulation of animal waste.
Giant Isopods Don't Have Much Of An Appetite
According to the Aquarium of the Pacific, giant isopods are one of the largest crustaceans. Their enormous size is due to a phenomenon called deep sea gigantism, which means they are growing larger being at the bottom of the ocean.
They are bottom-feeders and are practically harmless to living beings, although they do have dozens of sharp claws on their underside. Giant isopods usually measure between 7.5 and 14.2 inches and can go a long time without eating. For example, a giant isopod in Japan went five years without eating.
Giant Gippsland Earthworms Make A Funny Sound
Australia has over one thousand different species of earthworms, but the one that gets most of the attention is the giant Gippsland earthworm. These long and skinny organisms have an average length of 3.3 feet, but they can grow up to 9.8-feet long.
There have been no reports of them causing a threat to any humans. Most giant Gippsland earthworms spend their time in burrows and make a loud gurgling sound when they move at a rapid pace.
Great Danes Are The True Gentle Giants
While Great Danes are one of the largest dog breeds, it doesn't really play into their temperament. According to Hillspet, Great Danes are gentle giants who are "moderately playful, affectionate, and good with other children and animals."
It's important to note that if a Great Dane isn't treated well, they do have the capacity to become aggressive towards others. This breed can weigh up to 200 pounds, be as tall as 34 inches, and has origins in Germany.
Goliath Frogs Are As Big As House Cats
The largest frog in the world is called the goliath frog. The San Diego Zoo attests that they can grow up to 12.5-inches long and weigh up to 7.2 pounds. This means it can be as big as a house cat.
Goliath frogs don't pose a threat to humans and are known for eating normal frog food such as insects, crustaceans, and fish. One researcher did find a bat in the stomach of one goliath frog.
Blue Whales Are Almost The Size Of The US Space Shuttle
There is only one animal with the title of biggest animal on earth and that belongs to the blue whale. Oceana says they measure at least 110-feet long and weigh about 209 tons, which is only slightly smaller than the United States Space Shuttle.
While these creatures are extremely massive, they are in no way predatory. Blue whales filter feed for tiny krill and have rarely harmed humans. Most live between 80 and 90 years and are the loudest animals on the planet with sounds that can be heard by other blue whales for up to a thousand miles away.
Maine Coons Are Pretty Pricey
According to PetsKB, Maine Coon cats are not considered to be dangerous animals, "Though large cats, they are gentle-natured and pose little physical danger to people." Similar to other animal species, if they are mistreated they can react in an aggressive way.
Maine Coons are the largest feline breed that measure around 3.3-feet long and can weigh up to 18 pounds. Those who are looking to adopt one of these giant cats can expect to spend about one thousand dollars.
Japanese Spider Crabs Can't Swim
The Dallas World Aquarium says that the Japanese spider crab gets its name because of its striking resemblance to an actual spider. They are one of the largest living arthropods with leg spans of up to 12 feet and can weigh up to 44 pounds.
While they may have a ferocious appearance, the Japanese spider crab has a gentle and calm disposition. These creatures actually can't swim and spend their time crawling around the sea bed looking for food.
How The Coconut Crab Got Its Name
Coconut crabs got their name because of their eating habits. Britannica states that these large crabs can use their massive pincers to crack open coconuts. They can exert a force as strong as 742 pounds.
While they have a lot of strength in their pincers, coconut crabs are relatively harmless to humans. These crustaceans have a superior sense of smell, which they use to locate their food. They're especially attracted to the smells of rotting meat, bananas, and of course coconuts.
How To Distinguish A Male Flemish Giant Rabbit From A Female
The Flemish giant rabbit is about the size of a small dog; weighing up to 22 pounds and at most 2.5-feet long. These rabbits love to cuddle and come in seven different colors.
The Maryland Zoo states that Flemish giant rabbits make for wonderful pets, especially for small children. Also, males and females have different shaped heads. Males have a broader head and the females have a large flap of skin under their chin to keep their offspring warm.
The Bismarck Masked Flying Fox Is A Megabat
The Bismarck masked flying fox, also known as the great flying fox, is a species of megabat most commonly found in New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago. They are one of the largest species of bats with a wingspan that spreads as far as 5.25 feet.
Bismarck masked flying foxes don't pose a threat to humans and mostly survive on a plant-based diet including foods such as fruit, seeds, and nuts. A biological report by Don Wilson and Gary L. Graham found that it's one of the rare species where males can lactate.
Giant Oarfish Are Also Known As Sea Serpents
According to Britannica, the giant oarfish is a thin species of fish that grows over 56-feet long and weighs about 660 pounds. They are usually found toward the bottom of the ocean, hence their nickname of "the sea serpent."
National Geographic states that giant oarfish usually eat giant plankton and aren't dangerous to others. In some ancient myths and legends, it's commonly believed that this type of bony fish can bring natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. After the 2011 Fukushima disaster, over a dozen of them washed up on the shore.
Ocean Sunfish Have A Unique Look
Ocean sunfish, also known as molas, are huge and flat silver fish. They have tiny mouths and big eyes and weigh around five thousand pounds, making them the heaviest bony fish in the world.
ThoughtCo. says that even though they are enormous, they are practically harmless to humans. Ocean sunfish are most likely more frightened of others than the other way around. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, they usually eat gelatinous zooplankton such as jellies, salps, squid, fish, algae, and crustaceans.
Percheron Horses Love Working On The Farm
Percheron horses were originally bred as war horses in France, but ended up being used to do heavy lifting around farms. According to Prohorse, they stand between 66 and 71 inches tall and weigh between 1,900 and 2,600 pounds.
They have an "even temperament," which means they are less prone to tantrums and are quite easy to instruct. Percheron horses need to be well taken care of because they might react aggressively if they are mistreated.
The Mekong Giant Catfish Population Has Significantly Decreased
World Wildlife Foundation states that the Mekong giant catfish is the largest freshwater fish in the world and can mostly be found along the Mekong River. Mekong giant catfish have to travel long distances in order to reproduce. They can measure almost 10-feet long and weigh over 661 pounds.
These fish pose little to no threat to humans. They don't have any teeth and either eat zooplankton or will sometimes eat each other. Scientists discovered that over 90 percent of their population has disappeared with only a few hundred are left.
Frilled Sharks Have Rarely Been Encountered By Humans
According to Oceana, the frilled shark lives in the deepest parts of the sea and gets its name from the gill slits on the side of its face. They can measure up to seven-feet long and have a swimming style similar to an eel or serpent.
Since they are rarely seen by humans, they don't pose any threat to them. Their prey is a different story. They are considered to be active predators and may lunge and swallow their food whole.
Atlantic Wolffish Are The Lone Wolves Of The Sea
Something unique about the Atlantic wolffish is their teeth. They have multiple rows of teeth and many of them are always sticking out of their mouth. The largest fish of this species measured about five-feet long and weighed almost 40 pounds.
NOAA Fisheries says Atlantic wolffish are non-predatory creatures and primarily feed on bottom-dwelling invertebrates such as scallops, hermit crabs, and sea urchins. Most live a pretty sedentary lifestyle and spend most of their time alone.
Why Humans Shouldn't Fear Gharials
Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute states that the gharial is one of the largest species of crocodiles in the world. Most grow up to 20-feet long and they have a distinct elongated and narrow snout.
Although the gharial may look vicious, it rarely gets physical with humans. This is because of their weak leg muscles that prevent them from walking on land. Also, they have very few teeth and weak jaw muscles, so they mostly eat fish and insects.
Giant Huntsman Spiders Are Super Fast
Those with arachnophobia may not believe this, but giant huntsman spiders aren't really that dangerous. They are practically harmless and will only eat insects and in some circumstances may eat each other.
According to Live Science, they are the world's largest spider by leg span, which can grow up to one foot. Giant huntsman spiders are most commonly found in Laos and usually live inside deep, dark caves. They are also one of the fastest spiders because they can travel up to one yard in just one second.
Hercules Beetles Are The Bodybuilders Of The Insect World
Hercules beetles have some pretty impressive physical characteristics. According to a biological journal by Rodger Kram, they have the capacity to carry up to 850 times their body mass. Also, they are one of the largest flying insects in the world, reaching up to seven inches in length.
Don't be fooled by their appearance because the Hercules beetle doesn't pose a threat to humans. Some even keep them as pets. These insects mainly feast on fruit including peaches, pears, apples, and grapes.
Sand Tiger Sharks Use Electrical Currents To Survive
One look at a sand tiger shark may have some people feeling fearful, but National Geographic states that they are "a docile, non-aggressive species." Their pointed teeth may seem menacing, but they are no threat to humans.
Sand tiger sharks can grow up to 10.5-feet long and weigh about 350 pounds. These sharks can detect electrical currents from their prey when they are about a foot away and mostly snack on bony fish, lobsters, squid, and more undersea critters.
Giant Tortoises Are So Friendly
According to Reptile Gardens, there are some types of giant turtles and tortoises that will bite defensively, but these gentle creatures almost never harm humans. Those who take care of them should be warned because they can accidentally bite off a finger when they are feeding.
Giant tortoises are the largest living species of tortoise in the world and can be found on the Galápagos Islands, the Aldabra Atoll, and Fregate Island. The largest one weighed 919 pounds. They grow to be so gigantic because of environmental factors called island gigantism.