What Animal Has the Longest Arms?

February 14, 2024

When people think of animals with long arms, they most often picture monkeys. After all, these tree-dwelling apes have limbs that can wrap around trees and swing them with ease. But they aren’t the only animals to have oversized limbs. Some marine animals have surprisingly long tentacles that help them move and hunt for food. Jellyfish, like the lion’s mane jellyfish and the box jellyfish, have stinging cells that can hurt or even kill you.

Most bipeds have longer legs than their arms, but not all do. In fact, some of the longest-armed animals are quadrupeds, such as gorillas and elephants. They have long digits to grasp branches and other objects, and their paws are well-adapted for walking on the ground.

In terms of proportional arm length, gibbons, a family of branch-swinging apes that live in the canopies of Southeast Asian forests, rank first on a list of mammalian creatures with the longest arms. A few species of three-toed sloths also have very long arms relative to their body size.

Some mammals with the longest arms also have short legs, as is the case with kangaroos and some bats. Male kangaroos, in particular, have giant arm bones that come in handy when they are fighting another male over territory or a female for a mate. The limbs also help them reach high places to grab foliage, fruits and other items from above. Bats, on the other hand, have wings to get them around.


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