Every animal on Earth is unique, plain and simple. From species to species, animals can differ from one another in remarkable ways, thanks to their genealogical evolution. Many animals have adapted to have larger body parts than others for various reasons. There are animals with big eyes, animals with big ears, and even animals with big noses. And just like any other type of unique creature, I think big-nosed animals are very interesting to learn about.
These animals all have larger than normal noses for a variety of reasons. Sure, they were born this way, but they also evolved in this way for a reason. What, in their species’ history, led to this?
Let’s browse through 15 animals with big noses below and learn a little bit about each one!
15 Interesting Animals With Big Noses
Scientific Name: Loxodonta africana
We have to start with elephants. The most common animal with a big nose, elephants are very intelligent creatures that also happen to have a nose (their trunk) that can reach up to 7 feet long. Their trunk can also weigh up to 400 pounds!
While an elephant’s trunk is used to breathe, it’s also used for a variety of other reasons. For example, they can also drink and grab things with it.
Millions of years ago, the elephant ancestor actually had two sets of trunks that made it hard for them to graze and eat with their mouths. They slowly evolved to having only one trunk, which has made it easier for them to eat and thrive as a species.
2. Proboscis Monkey
Scientific Name: Nasalis larvatus
The proboscis monkey, also called the long nose monkey, has the biggest nose of all primates. Their nose tends to be about 6.5 inches long on average and helps amplify the male’s mating call, which can help them find female companions and even scare off potential competitors.
There are varying theories as to why the proboscis monkey has such an abnormally large nose. The most common theory, however, is that the nose evolved over the millenniums to help amplify their mating calls!
Scientific Name: Orycteropus afer
A mammal native to Africa, aardvarks have very long noses that help them sniff out their food. These animals don’t have great eyesight and instead rely on both their noses and their hearing to find nourishment.
Their poor eyesight and their quest for food are why an aardvark’s nose is so long. Plus, these animals tend to exclusively eat ants and termites. Their sense of smell helps them find these creatures where their eyesight fails.
4. Long-Nosed Bandicoot
Scientific Name: Perameles nasuta
Not much larger than a rabbit, long-nosed bandicoots are small animals with quite long noses. However, these noses benefit them greatly! As they mainly eat only insects and small invertebrate prey, their noses help them dig for their food.
Long-nosed bandicoots are known for the little holes they leave in the ground. They dig these holes with their feet, then put their long, slim noses in the hole and eat the insects in the ground. Like many animals with big noses, their noses have helped them survive and find food!
Scientific Name: Tapiridae
While similar to an aardvark’s big nose, a tapir can actually use their nose more like an elephant. Tapirs can grab things with their trunk — which consists of their nose and their upper lip — like an elephant can. This makes it easier for them to pull things off of trees or bushes and eat them.
Tapirs evolved with this longer nose relatively recently (compared to other animals) and only grew this bigger nose a few million years ago. However, it has helped the animal eat vegetation easier. They can also use their noses to hide in the water from their predators, using their trunk as a snorkel to keep them safe.
6. Domestic Pig
Scientific Name: Sus scrofa domesticus
An animal now mostly seen on farms, domestic pigs actually have big noses, though we’re so used to seeing them that their appearance seems so natural. Pigs, like many other animals with big noses, have an amazing sense of smell. In addition, pigs are extremely smart animals.
This sense of smell allows them to find food easily. It also allows them to dig and move items around. There are many different breeds of pigs, so nose length can vary depending on what size they are!
Scientific Name: Mandrillus sphinx
The largest and most colorful monkey, mandrills also have a very big, very prominent noses. Their nose is noticeable not just because of its larger size. It’s also red!
A mandrill’s nose size and color help them attract female mates easily, as it impresses them. Their larger nose may also help these animals find food, as they tend to spend their days foraging for nuts, seeds, and small animals.
Scientific Name: Pristidae
One of the most interesting looking fishes, about a quarter of the sawfish is its nose. There are many different large fished noses in the Pristidae family, though sawfishes definitely have the biggest noses.
While it looks like there are sharp teeth on the sides of a sawfish’s nose, these are actually serrations. These serrations — as well as the total length of their large nose — helps them find and dig for food. A naturally calm creature, these animals will use their nose to defend themselves from predators when attacked.
9. Longnose Gar
Scientific Name: Lepisosteus osseus
A fish that has very few predators, longnose gars are another fish species with big noses. Their long noses are the prime reason why they don’t have a lot of predators.
Their nose has a row of long, sharp teeth. This combination of teeth and snout allows them to bite and capture their prey seamlessly. A species that has lived for approximately 100 million years, they aren’t the type of fish that are easily messed with!
10. Pinocchio Frog
Scientific Name: Litoria pinocchio
There isn’t much known about Pinocchio frogs, as they weren’t discovered until 2008. So unfortunately there aren’t many pictures out there that we’re allowed to use on this website. A quick search should bring some up though.
Native to the untouched lands of the Foja Mountains in Indonesia, it’s thought that these frogs have bigger noses to help with their mating. A male Pinocchio frog’s nose will elongate in the air during its mating call. After it is done, the nose will shrink back to its normal (yet still big) size. These frogs have very flexible noses, which make them even more interesting creatures!
11. Elephant Seal
Scientific Name: Mirounga
Elephant seals are named after elephants because of their trunk-like noses. However, these seals do not use their noses as elephants do.
Instead, an elephant seal’s nose is used to loudly scare off other males during mating. Only male elephant seals have swollen, big noses. Their large noses also help them store water during the mating season when they must leave the shoreline, per the natural rules of an elephant seal’s mating ritual.
Scientific Name: Potamochoerus larvatus
Related to the domestic pig, bushpigs are wild pigs that also have very big noses when compared to their overall body. However, just as with domestic pigs, a bushpig’s nose helps them thrive.
Their nose can help them find food, dig around in the ground, move around objects, and lift things. Their sense of smell is very good, which helps them find food easily in the wild.
13. South American Coati
Scientific Name: Nasua nasua
While there are many different kinds of coatis, the South American coati has the biggest nose. Oddly enough, these animals are actually related to bears, though their long nose definitely makes them look unique.
South American coatis eat a variety of different foods, including vegetation and small mammals, and their nose helps them survive. As they are mainly foragers, they use their nose to find food. They can also use their nose to dig out food (such as insects) from under rotted logs!
14. Black Rhinoceros
Scientific Name: Diceros bicornis
A critically endangered animal, black rhinoceroses have very large noses — which are very prominent thanks to the large horns that sit on them. The horns on their big noses help them ward off predators and fight anyone who messes with them.
However, their noses and horns aren’t just used for fighting. Black rhinos also have a great sense of smell. Their diet consists of grazing and eating vegetation, and their nose can help them sense any predators in the area while they eat.
15. Long-beaked Echidna
Scientific Name: Zaglossus
A mammal that lays eggs and has spikes on its tongue instead of teeth, long-beaked echidnas are very unique animals. They also happen to have very big noses!
A long-beaked echidna uses its long nose to search for food, as they have a great sense of smell. This also helps them detect any danger around them, as well as locate other long-beaked echidnas!