Despite being a relatively small country, the Philippines has a huge biodiversity. Many of those plants and beasts are extremely rare and you won’t be able to see them anywhere else on the planet. In fact, 16 new mammal species have been discovered in the Philippines in the last decade or so. Maybe you’d be the one to discover a brand new animal species in your backyard? Who knows, probably not, but still, go do some exploring!
World’s Largest Clam: Tridacna Gigas
Around 600 years ago this big fella swallowed a tiny grain of sand, and now it’s become the largest pearl in the world. Weighing over 14 pounds, and measuring 10 inches in length and 6 in diameter, this orb of hardened clam juices (where else did you think the pearls come from?) was named “The Pearl of Lao Tzu” and is currently worth over $40 million. Oh yeah, and the clam itself is ginormous!
Smallest freshwater fish: Pandaka Pygmaea
Speaking of aquatic fauna, this tiny fishie, the dwarf goby (Pandaka pygmaea), is only half an inch, and is currently the smallest known vertebrate. First discovered in Malabon River in 1925, by an American Ichthyologist Albert Herre, it immediately became a worldwide sensation.
World’s smallest deer: Philippine Mouse Deer
This is the smallest hooved mammal – the Philippine mouse deer, locally known as Pilandok, it’s only about 40 centimeters tall, which makes it also the cutest deer in the history of ever. That said, it’s not technically a member of the deer family, but it’s freaking close enough for me.
One of the world’s Largest Eagles: Philippine Eagle
The American “Freedom Bird” has absolutely nothing on its Philippine cousin. Measuring up to 3 ft tall with a wingspan of up to 7 ft, this killing machine AKA the Philippine eagle, eats monkeys for breakfast, when it could easily be hunting humans.
Largest Fruit Bat: Giant golden-crowned flying fox
What if I told you that the “flying fox” isn’t really a fox? It’s a giant fruit-eating bat. They’re super-light, weighing up to 1.2 kg, but their wingspan is huge, and can reach up to 2 m (6 feet). No wonder everyone in Gotham fears the Batman – he’s got the right idea.
World’s smallest monkey: Tarsier
Every time I hear about any “world’s smallest” animals, I immediately ask myself a question – “is it cute?”. In most cases the answer is “hell yes”, and the Tarsier monkey definitely falls into this category. At just 12 cm in length, plus a 3 cm long tail, this tiny primate could have easily been mistaken for a gnome in the dark. A very creepy gnome, able to turn its head 180 degrees.
World’s Largest Reptile: Philippine Crocodile
The saltwater Philippine crocodile can be found, you guessed it, in the Philippines! It’s considered to be the largest reptile on Earth, with adult crocs measuring up to 7 meters (23 feet) and weighing up to 3 tons. Can you imagine meeting this beauty? The biggest specimen ever recorded was a 27-foot giant killed near Lake Taal in Batangas in 1823. It reportedly took 40 men to bring the body ashore.