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11 Examples of TINY or Dwarf Animals (Pictures)

You’ve probably heard the term “dwarf” used to describe a small version of an animal. Many species have miniature subspecies, but that doesn’t make them any less of a species. Dwarf animals, in fact, have their own distinct characteristics and abilities that help them survive despite their small size.

In this article, we’ll look at some of these tiny animals and discuss how they’ve managed to thrive despite their relatively small size.

11 Dwarf animals

1. Helena hummingbird

Helena hummingbird perching
Helena hummingbird perching | image by Ekaterina Chernetsova (Papchinskaya) via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Mellisuga helenae

The Helena hummingbird is a hummingbird species native to the island of Cuba. They’re the smallest species of bird and are also referred to as bee hummingbirds. This is because they’re similar in size to large bees, measuring 2.4 inches long with a wingspan of about 1.28 in.

These hummingbirds can live in a variety of habitats as long as there are a lot of flowers around because they primarily feed on nectar. Helena hummingbirds are more rounded than other hummingbirds and have blue or green colorings depending on their gender. They’re also solitary birds that’ll chase away other animals that come into their territory to feed.

2. Pygmy marmosets

Pygmy marmoset on green leaves
Pygmy marmoset on green leaves | image by Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Cebuella pygmaea

Pygmy marmosets are a type of primate found in South American rainforests, specifically in the western Amazon Basin. These species are small, weighing between 70 and 100 grams and measuring 4 to 6 inches in length when mature.

In fact, they’re the world’s smallest monkey species. They have long tails that are usually 7 to 9 inches long and help them balance as they climb through the trees. Their fur is usually brownish-gray, brownish-gold, grey, or black, with black rings on their tail.

These monkeys are social creatures that live in groups of five to nine monkeys. Pygmy marmosets are swift and have a long jump capability as their way to escape a variety of predators.

3. Barbados Threadsnake

Barbados threadsnake on ruler
Barbados threadsnake on ruler | image by Nicolas Perrault III via Wikimedia Commons

Scientific Name: Tetracheilostoma carlae

Barbados Threadsnakes is a type of snake that’s found on the island of Barbados. Their primary habitat is the island’s dry forests, where they feed on small insects such as insect larvae and termites.

They’re the smallest snake species, with adults reaching only 4.1 inches in length. These animals are also thin and dark brown with yellowish stripes on their bodies. These snakes are extremely rare due to their extremely limited range and habitat, as well as their burrowing nature.

4. Mindoro dwarf buffalo

Mindoro dwarf buffalo
Mindoro dwarf buffalo | image by Gregg Yan via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0

Scientific Name: Bubalus mindorensis

Mindoro dwarf buffalo, also known as tamaraw, is an endangered species of buffalo found only on the Philippine island of Mindoro. They’re smaller than other types of buffaloes, with an average height of 3 feet, whereas other water buffaloes can reach heights of more than 6 feet. Mindoro dwarf buffalos also have a distinctive coat coloration, being dark brown with more hair and having shorter, flatter, straighter horns.

These animals are herbivores that primarily eat grasses. They’re also solitary creatures who prefer to submerge themselves in mud. Aside from humans, there are no known predators of tamaraws on the island.

5. Northern Pygmy Owl

Northern pygmy owl
Northern pygmy owl | image by Alan D. Wilson via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0

Scientific Name: Glaucidium californicum

Northern Pygmy Owl is a small owl found in northern Canada, Mexico, and the United States. They’re commonly found in wetlands, and tropical and subtropical forests. This owl is only 7 inches long and brown in color.

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These owls also have a pair of false eyes on the back of their heads to fool predators. Unlike most owls, the northern pygmy is active during the day and will prey on any small animal they can find, including birds, reptiles, and insects. During the breeding season, they nest and lay their eggs in the old holes of woodpeckers.

6. Borneo elephant

Borneo elephants grazing
Borneo elephants grazing | image by Bernard DUPONT via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Elephas maximus borneensis

The Borneo elephant is a subspecies of the Asian elephant, which is one of four Asian elephant subspecies. The Borneo subspecies are found in Southeast Asia, specifically the northern and northeastern parts of the island of Borneo.

They have a smaller body than other elephant species, standing 8.2 to 9.8 feet tall at the shoulder and weighing up to 2 tons, whereas the largest elephant species stands 13 feet tall. In addition, these elephants have straighter tusks and longer tails than other elephants.

7. Falabella

Falabella horses in the field
Falabella horses in the field | image by Peter O’Connor aka anemoneprojectors via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Equus ferus caballus

Falabella horses are a rare breed of miniature horses. They have their roots in Argentina and were developed from the native horses of the Pampas. Falabellas are smaller than regular horses, measuring only 30 to 34 inches as adults.

They live for 45 years and eat mostly grass, hay, and vegetables. Their bodies are small and compact, with thicker coats in colors such as bay, chestnut, pintos, black, and brown. They also have bigger heads and necks than other horses.

8. Sand cat

Sand cat resting
Sand cat resting

Scientific Name: Felis margarita

These cuddly felines may appear to be regular house cats at first glance, but they’re actually fierce hunters that live in Africa’s deserts. These cats have broad heads, short legs, and bushy coats with dark stripes that are sandy in color.

They’re not good climbers, unlike other felines. Instead, they’re skilled diggers who dig their own burrows to escape the heat of the day. These animals are nocturnal, which means they hunt at night and prefer to prey on spiders, hares, snakes, and birds. They’ll also make bark-like sounds when mating and communicating with other sand cats.

9. Royal Antelope

Royal antelope resting
Royal antelope resting

Scientific Name: Neotragus pygmaeus

The royal antelope is an antelope species that ranges from the forests of southwestern Guinea to the Volta River in Ghana. This animal is also known as the world’s smallest antelope, weighing 2.5-3 kilograms and standing only 25 centimeters tall.

The animal’s legs are long and slender, but its front legs are much shorter than its hind legs. This animal has a reddish-brown coat and is commonly seen in lowland forests. Royal antelopes are herbivores that eat grasses and tree leaves. They’re sneaky creatures that’ll hide when a threat is detected and leap as far as they can when predators approach.

10. Fennec fox

Vulpes zerda
Fennec fox | Image by Winkelmann from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Vulpes zerda

Fennec foxes are small desert animals that you can find in the Sahara and other parts of northern Africa. They’re most closely related to dogs, but their large ears and long coats give them a more rabbit-like appearance.

They‘re known as “desert foxes” because these creatures can survive in such harsh environments. These foxes can do so by digging underground burrows where they can escape the heat and avoid predators. Their large ears also help them regulate body temperature and listen for prey in the sand.

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The nocturnal nature of fennec foxes means that they sleep during the day and hunt at night. Fennec foxes feed on insects, rodents, bird eggs, reptiles, and desert vegetation such as plant leaves.

11. Kitti’s hog-nosed bat

Scientific Name: Craseonycteris thonglongyai

Kitti’s hog-nosed bat is a bat species found in Thailand and Myanmar. Because of their small size, these animals are also known as bumblebee bats, and some research claims that they’re the world’s smallest mammals.

These tiny creatures only weigh about 2 grams and have a wingspan of 130-145 mm. It has a long, dark reddish-brown or grey coat on its body and legs, as well as large ears with rounded tips that help it hear its prey in the dark. Aside from its size, this animal is distinguished by its snout, which is similar to that of a pig.

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