Tag: Smallest Species

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Smallest Species – Cetacea; Dolphin and Whale

Smallest Species – Cetacea; Dolphin and Whale


Maui’s Dolphin – the smallest dolphin in the world
  • A sub-species of the very small Hector’s Dolphin
  • They only live in New Zealand’s shallow coastal waters
  • This little species is at risk of becoming extinct
  • Approximately only 55 individuals left in the wild
  • Fully grown the Maui’s dolphin is between 1.2-1.4m long
  • Adults weigh approximately 50kg
  • The lifespan of the Maui’s dolphin is around 20 years
  • Calves are 50-60cm in length when born; large compared to their mother
  • Grey/black colouration, with white stripes along their sides, and a white underside
  • Only one single calf is born every 2-4 years; this means they are struggling to increase in number naturally, let alone after human poaching
  • Most of its time is spent feeding; however there is always time to play with seaweed, chase other dolphins, blow bubbles, and jump
Maui's Dolphin - image is open source
Maui’s Dolphin – open source Google image
Dwarf Sperm Whale – the smallest whale in the world
  • A sub-species of the Sperm Whale
  • They are blue-grey in colour, with a lighter underside
  • The Dwarf Sperm Whale is a protected species, although they are not considered under threat
  • They prefer warm tropical, subtropical, and temperate waters
  • Females can have a single calf each year
  • Calves are born measuring 1.0-1.2m in length
  • Fully grown, this whale reaches up to 2.7m in length
  • Adults weigh approximately 180-270kg
  • Their lifespan of the is around 22-25 years
  • Typically a solitary species, however can be found travelling in small pods (groups)
  • Fishing nets and marine debris are the biggest human threats to this species
Dwarf Sperm Whale (mother and calf) - open source image
Dwarf Sperm Whale (mother and calf) – open source Google image
Smallest Species – Rodent, Deer, Mustelid

Smallest Species – Rodent, Deer, Mustelid


Pygmy Jerboa – the smallest rodent in the world
  • Also known as the Desert Rat
  • They live in the desert – hence their alternate name
  • This little species is from Asia and North America
  • The large ears help to keep them cool, the same way an elephants ears work – the blood vessels in the ears being close to the surface of the ear allowing heat to escape easily and quickly as needed
  • The large ears also provide excellent hearing, allowing them to hear predators and escape before the predator gets too close
  • They are only 2 inches in length
  • They can jump up to 9ft in length
  • They eat plants and insects, and get most of their water this way
  • These tiny rodents have litter sizes of between 2-6 pups (babies)
  • A solitary species – exceptions made during breeding seasons, and sometimes in limited environments, loose colonies may be formed to better share out resources
Northern Pudú – the smallest deer in the world
  • They range in size from 32-35 cm in height
  • They can grow up to 85 cm in length
  • The Northern Pudú is from ColombiaEcuador, and Peru
  • Their slightly larger counterpart is the Southern Pudú, it is from southern Chile and southern Argentina, and can grow up to 44cm in height
  • The males have 2 short, pointy horns rather than tall staggered antlers
  • The females do not have horns or antlers
  • Males are called Bucks or Stags, and the females are called Does
  • The fawns (baby deer) have a lighter brown colouration with white stripes/ spots to help them blend into the undergrowth and stay safe
  • The adults have a solid, darker brown colouration

Least Weasel – the smallest mustelid in the world
  • Approximately 11 – 26 cm (4 – 10 inches) in length (from tip of nose to base of tail)
  • This species weighs approximately 25 grams!
  • Despite its small size, it is capable of killing a prey 5 – 10 times its own weight
  • Babies are called kits, males are known as a Jack or a hob, and females are known as a Jill or a doe
  • The litter size of the Least Weasel is between 3 – 10 kits
  • Their diet is made up of small rodents, small birds, bird’s eggs, poultry and rabbits
  • Large birds of prey, such as owls and hawks, are predators of the Least Weasel
  • They are also the smallest carnivore in Britain
  • These tiny weasels live in a range of habitats – including grasslands, sand dunes, woodland and mountains
  • They must eat roughly between 40% – 60% of their body weight daily

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