Largest American Mammal

By Tammy Dray

Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

In the American continents, the largest mammals are not as big as the ones you would find in Africa or Asia. For example, elephants and hippos are among the largest mammals in the world, but they're not native to America. In the western hemisphere, the larger mammals are found in North America.

Weight

When it comes to weight, the bison is the the largest mammal in North, Central and South America. Males can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. The moose is America's second largest mammal when it comes to weight, tipping the scales at up to 1,800 pounds. The polar bear -- which lives in certain areas of Northern Alaska -- can reach weights of up to 1,600 pounds.

Height

The moose and the bison can both reach the same height: 6.5 feet at the shoulder. The polar bear can reach lengths closer to 10 feet -- which means that, standing up, he's technically a lot taller than the bison or moose. However, polar bears usually walk on all fours.

Diet-Based

The polar bear is the largest carnivore in America. Aside from him, most of the larger mammals in America are vegetarian. That includes the bison and moose, as well as other animals such as elk, which can reach up to 1,100 pounds.

South America

The largest mammals outside of North America might not be as large as a bison or a bear, but they still deserve some mention. The Baird's tapir -- also known as Brazilian tapir -- can reach a weight of up to 880 pounds. Found primarily in Panama and other Central American countries, the tapir looks like a pig with a long nose -- although it belongs to the rhino family.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Author

Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.