Just because something is small doesn’t mean it isn’t strong, or mighty, or determined. And animals are no different! Small animals can be just as tough as big ones! In fact, many small animals have near superpowers!
In this article, we’re going to talk about animals that are small but mighty! They each have their own characteristics that make them mighty. Some are fierce, some are mighty, and some are extremely dangerous in spite of their small stature. Let’s get started!
1. Water Bears or Tardigrade
Water bears aren’t really bears at all, but they are tough and mighty! These tiny animals are less than 1mm long and are found everywhere there is water. They look a bit stout, like a bear, but they have eight short little legs with little claws on each leg.
What makes these guys so tough even though they’re tiny? They can survive temperatures colder than -200 degrees Celsius by going dormant. They can last a century in this dormant state.
On the flip side, they can survive in the desert at temperatures over 150 degrees Celsius.
They can go without food, air, and water and can survive radiation. Water bears have even been sent to the moon! These tough little critters can survive just about anything! You can find out more about water bears here.
2. The Immortal Jellyfish, or Turritopsis Dohrnii
Typical jellyfish go through several life stages, starting with a fertilized egg, which grows in a larval stage (known as planula). After that, it becomes a polyp, which multiplies. Next, a polyp will break away and grow into a small jellyfish, which then, of course, becomes a full-grown jellyfish.
What’s different about the immortal jellyfish is that when it faces stress, it can revert to a previous form. When a full-grown immortal jellyfish starts to die, it reverts back to the polyp stage, where it can start life all over again, in a sort of reincarnated state!
3. Sea Cucumbers
Sea cucumbers are small animals that live on the ocean floor. They eat algae and microscopic animals and even waste. But they have a very interesting superpower!
When a sea cucumber is threatened, it instantly tightens all its muscles and shoots some of its organs out of its body at the predator. But that’s not all – when the sea cucumber has escaped its untimely death. Then, it can quickly regenerate the missing organs and continue its peaceful existence.
What’s so special about ants? Pound for pound, ants are one of the strongest animals on the planet!
An ant can lift 50 times its own weight due to its strong joints and muscles. Even better, ants work together to take down much larger insects. According to Vulcan Termite, an ant colony can move 50 tons of soil in a single year!
Not only are ants super strong, but they’re also hard workers, gathering food and building colonies.
Dung beetles are small beetles anywhere from 5 to 30mm in length. They spend their days gathering up dung and forming balls that can be as large as an apple!
After they’ve made their ball, they dig inside of it, where they will eat and lay eggs. Dung beetles were thought to be sacred in ancient Egypt.
6. Rhinoceros Beetle
A rhinoceros beetle sports a large horn on the front of its head – much like its namesake, the rhinoceros.
But these tiny animals are super strong! These super-strong creatures can lift up to 100 times their own weight.
The males use their horns to fight off other males in order to capture the love of a lady beetle. They can rub their wings against their abdomen to create a squeaking-hissing sound, and they live anywhere from 1 to 2 years.
7. Pistol Shrimp
What could possibly be tough about a shrimp? Check out the pistol shrimp. It has two different-sized claws.
The larger-sized claw is its self-defense. When the shrimp senses a threat, it snaps its claw shut so quickly that it creates bullet-like bubbles that can shoot as fast as 60mph. These bubbles are so fast they can stun the predator.
But there’s more! When the bubbles pop, they make a sound as loud as 210 dB, which is louder than an actual pistol! It’s no wonder this critter is called the pistol shrimp.
8. Mantis Shrimp
There’s another shrimp with superpowers called the mantis shrimp. It doesn’t shoot bubbles, though, but it does pack quite a punch!
The mantis shrimp can pack a punch up to 80kph. These brightly colored little guys are very aggressive and can break or crack typical aquarium glass. They have more color receptors in their eyes than humans and can see colors that people can’t detect.
Although there have been no documented deaths by mantis shrimp, they can definitely injure a human with the strong and sharp claws!
Salamanders don’t seem very tough at all. They’re tiny amphibians that breathe through their skin, and they are very sensitive to environmental changes. But they are tougher than we might expect.
You may already know that salamanders can regenerate limbs that have been lost to predators, and some can even drop their tails to distract predators.
But what you may not know is that salamanders can go a year without food if they have to. This is because they can adjust how much water they lose through their skin. And when conditions are very bad, they can burrow underground and hide out for a few years before peeking out to see if life has improved.
10. Hero Shrew
It’s easy to confuse a tiny shrew with a house mouse or a mole, but these little guys love to dine on insects in your yard. You might not think these guys are very mighty at all, but they do have a superpower: their spines are incredibly strong!
The hero shrew has an interestingly tough and flexible spine. This unusual yet tiny spine is said to be able to support the weight of a grown man, making these tiny guys terribly mighty.
11. Honey Badgers
Honey badgers are small, cute-looking animals with bad attitudes. They may be small, but they are seriously feisty.
The honey badger has a layer of thick, loose skin around its neck that acts like a shield to protect it from porcupine quills, bee stings, and even dog bites. But, unfortunately, they are vicious hunters and will eat everything from bee larvae to snakes and even much larger mammals.
Honey badgers are somewhat immune to snake venom – they may initially pass out if they get bit by a snake, but after a few minutes, they’ll wake up and get back to the hunting business.
Honey badgers are fearless, feisty, and definitely small but mighty.
12. Tasmanian Devils
The Tasmanian Devil is a small marsupial from Australia, but it has a reputation for having a great big temper. The Devil has a large mouth and strong jaws to rip into carrion and hunt small birds and mammals.
They have a strong sense of smell, and they can travel up to 10 miles to find carrion to eat. However, their super strength is their fierce temper. They can be heard shrieking and growling when defending carrion from other devils.
Your standard goldfish might seem fragile, but not all fish are meek and mild. The Stonefish is only about 13 inches long and hangs out where it blends in with mud and coral.
But the stonefish has secret spines that make it exceptionally tough! This small but mighty fish can inject venom, causing pain and even death!
It may be small compared to dolphins or tuna, but it is the most venomous fish in the world!
14. Slow Loris
They’re tiny and cute, and they live in Indonesia. The Slow Loris is so small it can even fit in the palm of your hand! But it has a mighty surprise if you happen to pick one up.
The Slow Loris produces a toxin near their elbow. When they lick their bodies, the toxin gets transferred to their mouths. If they bite you, you’ll experience painful swelling. In addition, people subjected to slow loris bites often experience a potentially fatal allergic reaction to the toxin.
Interestingly, the slow loris will transfer this toxin to their babies as a means of protection so they can go and hunt.
No matter how small and cute they are, I would avoid giving one a hug or even touching it!
15. Puffer Fish
The Puffer Fish in the movie Finding Nemo was small and adorable, even when he got scared and puffed up! But don’t be fooled by a movie. Pufferfish are extremely dangerous, which gives them a worthy position on this list of small but mighty animals.
Pufferfish are covered in spines that carry a toxin called tetrodotoxin. It’s extremely dangerous to animals and can be quickly fatal to humans. Unfortunately, there is no known antidote to this toxin, so never touch one if you see one.
16. Poison Frog
Poison frogs are tiny – two and a half inches long at most. These tiny frogs live in Central and South America. They have beautiful bright coloring and can live 10 years in captivity.
They secret a poison that can be lethal if it gets into a cut in your skin or touches a mucous membrane.
So while they are tiny, they can sure pack a mighty lethal punch!
17.Indian Red Scorpion
Scorpions are known for their nasty sting, but the Indian Red Scorpion has a particularly mighty bad one. They make one tiny but dangerous little package.
Indian Red Scorpions only grow to about 3 inches in length, and they are native to places like India, Pakistan, and Nepal. The mortality rate may be anywhere from 8 to 40%, with children being most at risk of death.
18. Irukandji Jellyfish
The world’s tiniest jellyfish is also one of the most dangerous. Just because it’s small doesn’t mean it can’t deliver a mighty wallop of poison. Its sting is 1000 times stronger than a tarantula!
It’s so small even jellyfish netting can’t keep it away from the beaches in Australia. If you get stung by one, you’ll suffer from Irukandji syndrome, which can be painful and even fatal.
Koalas are a small Australian marsupial. They are adorable, clinging to trees and eating eucalyptus leaves. You might think you want to hug one of these small, quiet animals who sleep 80% of their day. But you better not come close because they can give you one mighty, nasty bite!
I think I’ll watch them from a distance!
20. The Hooded Pitohui
What could be so mighty about a little bird? Unfortunately, all three species of pitohui are deadly. That’s what!
These birds are colorful and cute and feed on the mylerid beetle. Unfortunately, the beetle contains a toxin that gets into their skin and feathers. If you touch one, you’ll experience a painful burning sensation. A high enough dose, though, can be fatal.
21. The Blue-Ringed Octopus
It’s just a tiny sea creature with vibrant blue circles over its body. But this tiny creature contains enough toxin to kill 26 humans! It carries the same poison as the pufferfish, TTX.
Bites are rare, but they are so painless you may not know you’ve been bitten until its too late!
22. Fisher Cats
Fisher cats are pretty cute, resembling a larger ferret with teddy bear-like ears. But these small animals are creatures to be feared! Yes, those bushy tails and teddy bear ears are pretty endearing, but they are actually quite fierce!
Fisher cats are native to North America and will feast on porcupines, mice, rabbits, squirrels, and even your chickens. They may be small, but they can wipe out your entire henhouse, one chicken at a time.
Foxes are another small and cute-looking animal. Unfortunately, a hungry fox can be dangerous to your chickens and house pets, and they can carry rabies, too.
They are avid hunters and will also pick off mice, rats, moles, and voles.
These stealthy hunters can leap 15 feet, dig under fences, and squeeze their way into your henhouse, where they will go on a killing spree. They can decimate an entire flock in a single night.
But their secret superpower is their siren song. So late in the night, you may hear what sounds like a woman screaming in terror – but it is just the fox making its presence known.
These small creatures are relentless at best and dangerous at their worst. However, their superpower is the rate at which they reproduce. According to Rentokil, a pair of rats can turn into half a billion in just 3 years!
Rats will come into your home seeking food and shelter from the harsh conditions and will take up residence and multiply quickly. Once in your home, these aggressive chewers can damage wiring, floorboards, and even the foundation of your home. They can carry diseases, too, making them mighty dangerous to both you and your home.
25. Prairie Dogs
These squirrel cousins have a tiny bark-like vocalization and cute little tails. Although small, they find their might in their colonies. Groups of prairie dogs will live together in a colony, creating a series of tunnels with 50 to 60 burrow entrances. They use this complex series of tunnels to avoid predators.
What’s so mighty, though? Some prairie dogs are actually serial killers. They’ll seek out ground squirrels and murder them. They don’t hunt them for prey, though, but just to prevent competition for their food sources.
26. Your Cat
My cat sleeps all day, or so it seems. This small, little fuzz ball is cute and adorable until it turns into a mighty hunter, practicing its parkour moves on the unsuspecting birds and squirrels in the neighborhood.
In fact, it seems that cats kill an average of 2.4 billion birds every year!