BEST MAMMALS OF THE WORLD
choices 31–40
#
Species
[range]
Photo/art [see credits]
all photos taken in wild unless stated
Reason for choice
DR seen?
31
any Clouded Leopard
Neofelis nebulosa & N. diardi
[s.e. Asia]
Clouded Leopards might be considered a bridge between the great cats and the small cats. They have a gorgeous coat but are hardly ever seen in deep forests of s.e. Asia. Both species, N. nebulosa of the mainland & N. diardi of Borneo/Sumatra, are primarily arboreal and nocturnal.
No
32
Giant Armadillo
Priodontes maximus
[s. South America]
Enormous size and strictly nocturnal habits characterize this scarce and elusive armored mammal. I've seen its huge burrows in Emas NP in Brazil — indeed, our van crashed into one and got stuck — but even the locals rarely seen one. It is another of those "hopeless" mammals to see, and well represents its unique family.
No
33
Numbat
Myrmecobius fasciatus
[w. Australia]
This diurnal marsupial is now limited to s.w. Australia. It is shy and elusive in eucalyptus forests. It feeds primarily on termites, and requires a large home range. Once more widespread, predation by non-native foxes and habitat loss have made it rare. See my Numbat page.
Yes
34
any Pangolin
Manis sp.
[Africa & s. Asia]
Pangolins are strange 'artichoke-animals' of Africa & s. Asia that feed on ants and termites. Some of the 7-8 species are terrestrial, others arboreal, and all are solitary with a social life dominated by scent. It is incredible lucky to come upon any of them.
No
35
Bongo Tragelaphus eurycerus
[central Africa]
The Bongo is a shy, retiring forest antelope in central Africa with an exceptionally beautiful pelage. Historically found in three fragmented areas, it is declining everywhere. It used to be regular at some mountain lodges in Kenya, but those days are gone.
No
36
Tasmanian Devil
Sarcophilus harrisii
[Tasmania]
This fierce marsupial is the largest carnivorous marsupial alive today. Although extirpated from Australia long ago, it was common on Tasmania but is now threatened by an epidemic disease, and is much reduced. Said to be pound-for-pound as vicious as any predator — and then it has a great name. One of those iconoclastic beasts.
No
37
Giant Otter
Pteronura brasiliensis
[South America]
It is great fun to watch the antics of any of the world's 13 otter species. I like sea otters (I can see them daily where I live) but I am particularly attracted to freshwater species. Giant Otter is the largest, is now considered Threatened, and exists only in remote Amazonian Basin wilderness. A fine choice indeed.
Yes
38
any Colugo
Galeopterus variegatus, Cynocephalus volans
[s.e. Asia]
Often called "flying lemur," these are neither fly nor are lemurs. Rather, the two Colugos are distinctive gliding mammals, like huge flying squirrels, but with a head that resembles a small hornless deer. Bornean Colugo glides at dusk in primary forests. Philippine Colugo is limited to a very few Philippine islands.
Yes; 1 of 2
39
any Sirenid
Dugong
Dugong dugong or any manatee Trichechidae sp.
[tropical coasts]
The five species of family Sirenia [sea-cows] are found in warm coastal waters. Dugong ranges from e. Africa to s.e. Asia & Australasia. The 4 manatees are West Indian T. manatus, Amazonian T. inunguis and Dwarf T. bernhardi [both Amazon basin] and West African T. senegalensis. Each is a real treat to observe in the wild.
Yes, 1 of 5
40
Sperm Whale
Physeter macrocephalus
[oceans]
The largest toothed whale, it ranges the deep oceans, diving for up to an hour (recorded down to 8200' depths!). Numbers declined seriously during whaling but it is still widespread. You generally must get out over the deep ocean and then get lucky to see it.
Yes

Links to all of the "top 50":

or

RESOURCES & CREDITS

FURTHER READING:

* For Sperm Whale: Herman Melville's classic American novel Moby Dick (1851) is about a giant white Sperm Whale. More realistic are the art and thoughtful text in Richard Ellis' (1980) The Book of Whales, and I also very much appreciate Ellis' work on a major prey item, the Giant Squid, in his The Search for the Giant Squid (1998).

CREDITS:
All artworks are copyrighted by the artist (as detailed below) and are either used with permission or are posted here in reliance on the non-commercial "fair use" doctrine; all rights are reserved by the artist

* Karen Phillipps painted Clouded Leopard (from Payne & Francis's 1985 Field Guide to Mammals of Borneo)

All the photographs are copyrighted by the photographer (as detailed below) and are used with permission; all rights are reserved to the photographer.

* Murray Lord photographed Giant Otter (Manu NP, Peru)
* Kevin Schaefer photographed Giant Armadillo (Pantanal, Brazil); his website has extraordinary nature images
* Hans & Judy Beste photographed Tasmanian Devil in Tasmania, Australia [it was a captive]
* A.L. Chan photographed Bornean Colugo (Malaysia), courtesy of Hans & Judy Beste
* Babette Alfieri of Kuyenda Bushcamp photographed Ground Pangolin Manis temmincki (South Luanga NP, Zambia)
* Jeri M. Langham photographed the Sperm Whale (off California, U.S.A.)
* the photo of Dugong is from Wikipedia (uncredited)

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Page created 1-6 June 2002, updated 20 Aug 2002, revised 30 Aug 2010 & 7 Dec 2014
all photos & text © Don Roberson
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