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Which Animals Have the Longest Claws?
by KindMeal.my, 22 September 2015
Which Animals Have the Longest Claws?

Liz Langley of National Geographic really dug her claws into this Weird Animal Question of the Week: "What animal has the longest and shortest toenails?” Her answer is as funny as it is informative.

There isn’t much data on the subject, especially for shorter toenails, but we took a closer look at a few long-clawed animals that would not get a good night’s sleep in a waterbed.

Take the 3-foot (0.9-meter) long giant armadillo, whose largest claw measures nearly 8 inches (20 centimeters). That means their claws are about 22 percent of their body length—probably the longest claw to body ratio of any living animal, Mariella Superina, chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Anteater, Sloth, and Armadillo Specialist Group, says via email.

For the sake of comparison, I’m 5’4,” and if I had the same proportions my nails would be a little over a foot (0.3 meter) long—which is probably why giant armadillos don’t type. Native to South America, giant armadillos use their huge claws to dig up prey. They're “definitely not aggressive," but if threatened, they “could probably try to defend themselves with their foreclaws,” Superina says. The giant anteater's four-inch (ten-centimeter) claws are “so long that they ‘knuckle walk’ on them,” Moore says. Awkward gait aside, the claws are an excellent defense for the toothless anteater, which sometimes has to go toe-to-toe with powerful jaguars.

The peaceful three-toed sloth hangs from rain forest trees with claws that can reach about 4 inches (10 centimeters). With its 23-inch (58-centimeter) body length, that gives them about a 17 percent claw-to-body ratio. The bigger two-toed sloth, which is about 27.5 inches (70 centimeters) long, is 14 percent claw.

Star-nosed moles are particularly noteworthy—or should we say noseworthy. The burrowing mammal is well known for its giant, star-shaped schnoz, but it has another claim to fame: The biggest claw of any mole. Looking like a cross between a rat and an octopus, the star-nosed mole is a good candidate for the title of world's weirdest-looking creature. Its super-senses also make it a lethal hunter. Their claws are about 1/16th of their body length, or 6.5 percent, Moore says.

America's Got Talons: When it comes to birds, the American harpy eagle, which ranges from Central to South America, is a major contender for longest talons—it has four-inch (ten-centimeter) long talons, says Bryan Bedrosian of the Teton Raptor Center.

And we’d definitely steer clear of the cassowary, the Australian native with a claw nearly 5 inches (about 13 centimeters) long. (That's the cassowary and its claws in the center of the photo.)

Nature may be red in tooth and claw (as the poet Tennyson claimed), but we don't need to be! If you're hungry, sink your claws into some satisfying meat-free meals. You can search for one near you on http://KindMeal.my – happy hunting!

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