Nothing is quite as fascinating as a tiny animal that you just want to hold and pet. Some animals are extremely small, and it’s not surprising there are so many small animal lovers out there.
In the small animal kingdom, the Etruscan shrew is the smallest. It’s also the smallest mammal in the world (by weight). The Etruscan shrew has a body length of about 3.5 cm and a tail length of 1.8 cm. It weighs about 1.8 g. It has poor eyesight and hearing, but it has an incredible sense of touch and smell. They can be found throughout southern Asia, including Bangladesh, Nepal, China, India, and Pakistan. They spend most of their lives digging underground or under leaves on the ground surface.
Let’s look at some more tiny animals you may not have heard about.
Pink Fairy Armadillo
The pink fairy armadillo is one of the smallest animals in the world, and it can’t be contained! This adorable little critter is about the size of a grape. It’s also called a pichiciego, which means “small thing that moves fast.”
The pink fairy armadillo has a long snout and tiny ears, but its most notable feature is its bright pink armor. It lives underground in South America, so some people have never gotten a chance to see it. It eats worms and insects while digging through the soil. This tiny armadillo is shy around people and will roll up into a ball when it senses danger.
The Philippine tarsier is another tiny animal and is only found in the Philippines. It is a nocturnal primate that is typically 5 to 15 centimeters long, with a tail that can measure up to 20 centimeters long. They have huge eyes and large ears, and they are covered in tawny brown fur.
The Barbados threadsnake, also known as the Leptotyphlops carlae, is the tiniest reptile in the world. How small is it? This particular snake is just one-fifth of an inch long. For comparison, a typical paper clip is just about double that length.
The creature was first discovered in 1986 by Professor Blair Hedges and family members along the shores of Barbados in the Caribbean. It took 20 years to actually find another specimen, which was enough to officially classify it as a new species and give it its name. The snake has since been studied along with other threadsnakes in the Leptotyphlops genus, which are found throughout Central and South America, Africa, and Madagascar.
This particular species is believed to feed on ants and termites, but because of their extremely small size and rarity—only two specimens have ever been found—little else is known about them.
The mouse lemur, or Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, got its name from a housekeeper at the Duke of Burgundy. The tiny creature is found only in a small rainforest region on Madagascar, and it weighs a mere 1.1 ounces (31 grams). It’s so small that it can easily fit into a human palm.
This fascinating lemur is named after Berthe Huc, who was the housekeeper of Maurice de Sully, the Duke of Burgundy, in the early 20th century. The nocturnal creature is also known as Microcebus berthae.
These little lemurs are among the smallest primates in the world. Despite their small size, they can have large litters of up to three babies at a time. They live in family groups and eat insects, fruit, and nectar. They are very active and spend most of their time on the move looking for food.
Speckled Padloper Tortoise
According to Guinness World Records, the speckled padloper tortoise is officially the smallest tortoise in the world. The adult weighs only about 35 grams and measures just over 4 centimeters in length.
The speckled padloper is a rare species of tortoise that lives in dry, rocky areas of South Africa and Namibia. It was first discovered by British zoologist John Edward Gray in 1844. Their diet consists almost entirely of succulent plants, which they find in the rocky crevices where they live. They are threatened mainly by habitat loss and predators like birds, baboons, and snakes.
The bee hummingbird is the smallest bird in the world. It can be found in Cuba and on the Isla de la Juventud, and it is so small that it can fit on a person’s thumb. The hummingbird weighs around 2 grams, and it is only 5 centimeters long. The male has a green back with a red throat, while the female is greyish-green with white underparts.
Its tiny size does not prevent it from being very energetic: its heart beats at a rate of up to 1200 beats per minute, and its wings flutter at a speed of up to 80 times per second.
To stay alive, it must feed around every 15 minutes. It has an unusually long tongue that resembles a tube. When the bird feeds on nectar, its tongue rolls out to get to the liquid in the center of the flowers. It also uses this tongue for drinking raindrops from leaves.
Baluchistan Pygmy Jerboa
The Baluchistan pygmy jerboa, a tiny desert rodent, is the smallest rodent in the world. The adult weighs only 1.1 to 1.8 ounces and is 2.7 inches long at most – about the size of a human thumb. It has short, coarse fur that is brown on top and white on its belly and large ears, and long hind legs.
It was first discovered in March 2011 by researchers exploring caves in northern Pakistan, who were able to take DNA samples and make plaster casts of the animal’s tracks before it escaped into the desert sand dunes.
Brookesia Micra Chameleon
The world’s smallest chameleon is the Brookesia Micra. This chameleon was discovered in 2012 on a small island off of the northeastern coast of Madagascar. The tiny reptiles live in eucalyptus trees and are so small that they can sit comfortably on the head of a match.
The tiniest creatures are often relegated to distant corners of the globe, overlooked by people in far-off lands. It’s a shame, though, because these tiny beings make up an entire ecosystem. So next time you find yourself heading deep into the wilderness on an expedition, look out for these small creatures and carry your camera along. You never know what you might see.
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