Big Guys

Freakishly Large Animals

Scientists have uncovered enormous ancient fleas—almost an inch long. From the cow that tips the scale at a ton to the Great Dane that needs his own queen-size bed, see photos of the giant rulers of the animal kingdom.

Yikes! Researchers found a giant goldfish species swimming below the clear waters of Lake Tahoe. From a mammoth 990-pound squid to massive Australian cane toads, The Daily Beast rounds up the animals that remind us that Mother Nature always has another trick up her sleeve.

via NBC

Mega-Goldfish

Something about a cat-sized goldfish sends shivers down our spines. Officials suggest the 1.5-foot giant goldfish recently found in Lake Tahoe may have been released there by aquarium owners, who undoubtedly realized the quick-breeding moster fish were outgrowing their glass cage. But researchers aren’t as pleased as these fish are about their new habitat; experts are worried that the unwelcome newcomers will throw off the freshwater lake’s existing ecosystem, as goldfish are known to wreak havoc on native fish species. This isn’t the first time giant goldfish have surfaced—in 2010, a fisherman in France reeled in a 30-pound orange monster.

D. Huang et al / Nature

Jurassic Fleas

These inch-long monsters may have preyed on feathered dinosaurs more than 165 million years ago, scientists hypothesize. With their blood-sucking mouth siphons and huge size, especially compared with that of their 21st-century cousins, scientists say the pests were overprepared for the small mammals that flourished in the Middle Jurassic period. Despite their other super-flea attributes, these ancestors of the variety that plague dogs and their owners lacked the powerful hind legs that give modern fleas their jumping ability.

y Craig Warga / NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Prince Chunk the Cat

This regal beast burst onto the national scene in 2008, making appearances on Good Morning America, Inside Edition, and in People magazine after plumping up to 44 pounds at the Camden County Animal Shelter in New Jersey. His weight appeared to be an unfortunate byproduct of the recession—the Chunksters was given up after his owner lost his home to foreclosure. More than 500 families fought to adopt him, and he was taken in by the Damiani family, who created a nonprofit in his name to help prevent animal homelessness. Sadly, the famous feline died in his sleep in November 2010. He was around 10 years old.

Jacob Chinn, Guinness World Records / Newscom

Giant George the Great Dane

Horse or dog? Sometimes it's hard to tell. In 2010 Giant George was crowned the new tallest dog by the Guinness World Records. Standing at 3 feet and 7 inches, the Great Dane resides in Tucson, Ariz., and clocks in at 245 pounds. According to his official site, George doesn’t lie at the foot of his owner’s bed—he has his own queen-size accommodations. As the Greatest Dane should.

Yomiuri Shinbun, AFP / Getty Images

Echizen Jellyfish

This specific deep-sea creature has yet to be given a cutesy name, probably because he’s one of many jellyfish that plague Japanese waters. The huge monsters can grow to the size of a human man, or about 6 feet fall. Here, a diver attaches a sensor to a large Echizen jellyfish off the coast of northern Japan. Quick, call Jacques Cousteau!

Zuma Press / Newscom

Trigger the Cow

Does he moo extra loudly? Trigger is a black-and-white Canadian Holstein Friesian who weighs about 1.1 tons. He’s more than 6 feet 5 inches tall, only 7 years old, and still growing. The Daily Mail contributes this morbid statistic: Trigger’s girth would potentially make about 7,665 Big Macs or 6,137 Burger King Whoppers. Not to worry: he lives a quiet life as a family pet in the U.K.

AP Photo

Stingrays

Rumors have long floated around about giant freshwater stingrays growing to 1,000 pounds and well over 10 feet long, but in April 2008 one was finally caught. Cambodian fishermen nabbed a 14-foot-long behemoth in the Mekong River, complete with a newborn on its back.

Larry Wagner / AP Photo

Blue Whales

It's hard to fully grasp just how large these mammoth sea creatures are. The blue whale usually tips the scale at 180 tons and is 100 feet long, yet the one shown here is relatively small. This 70-foot female washed ashore near Fort Bragg, Calif., in October 2009. Based on the 8-foot-long gashes on her body, officials believe she was struck by a ship.

Yoshikazu Tsuno, AFP / Newscom

Flemish Giant Rabbits

Imagine Peter Rabbit on steroids, and you've got the Flemish Giant rabbit, an old breed of the domestic mammal that would burst out of a typical cage. Just in time for the Year of the Rabbit, in 2010 animal keepers at a Tokyo zoo displayed one of the furry guys weighing 22 pounds. That little Thumper in the background is a “Super Mini” weighing 1.1 pounds. He is not included in the category of “freakishly large animals.”

Ministry of Fisheries / Getty Images

Colossal Squid

Where were you when they found the world's first colossal squid? The press had a field day in 2007 when the first intact adult male creature was found near Antarctica in February of that year. It took two hours to haul the 10-meter-long, 990-pound squid aboard. He was frozen and later studied. That's a whole lotta calamari.

William West, AFP / Getty Images

Noddy the Horse

The world's tallest horses usually double as celebrities. Luscombe Nodram (aka "Noddy") went on a major tour in 2010, stopping by the Sydney Royal Easter Show and Australia’s most prestigious horse show. The Shire horse was born at a typical size and has since grown to 20.2 hands high (more than 6 feet tall) and was a robust 7 years old three years ago. There is some competition in the equine category: a 9-year-old Belgian gelding named Big Jake, who’s almost 7 eet tall, was named by the Guinness World Records as the tallest horse. Ooh, Mr. Ed would be jealous.

Getty Images

Cane Toads

Australia is also home to some of the largest—and chubbiest—cane toads. A 2-pound amphibian, seen here, is one of the largest to be caught anywhere in the Northern Territory, according to FrogWatch. They’re not all fun and warts, though, as the cane toads are an enemy to other creatures. Their poison glands are toxic if swallowed by other animals (and, of course, curious humans).

Bullit Marquez / AP Photo

Whale Sharks

This typically docile animal falls in the category of the largest living species of fish. A Philippine Coast Guard diver pictured here examines a dead whale shark, locally known as “Butanding,” after it was found by fishermen floating in October 2009 in the Philippines. He was a baby at only 15 feet; they can reach more than 40 feet long.

Reuters / Landov

Crocosaurus Rex

A team of 30 men in the Philippines caught a 21-foot saltwater crocodile that weighed in at 2,370 pounds. Unfortunately the monstrous reptile was probably no slouch, since it was blamed for the death of a young girl and a fisherman, though there’s no proof that it was responsible.