12 Animals with Big Noses (Pictures)

Big noses are often a wanted feature in wildlife, and animals with big noses usually put them to good use. In today’s article, we’ll be taking a look at animals with big long noses, such as:

  • Goblin Shark
  • Black Rhinoceros
  • South American Coatis
  • Bushpigs
  • Pinocchio Frogs
  • Long-nosed Bandicoots
  • Pinocchio Lizard
  • Aardvarks
  • Proboscis Monkeys
  • Mandrills
  • Hippopotamus
  • Gharials

*Note: Animals are ranked in no particular order.

Before we start – we excluded most animals with trunks (like the elephant or the tapir) from this list. If you want to learn about them, take a look at our ‘Animals with Trunks’ list.

1. Goblin Shark

Scientific name: Mitsukurina owstoni

These sharks are incredibly rare and they’re very difficult to find. They usually dwell at depths greater than 330 feet. That might be for the best, though, as they’re definitely not a pleasant sight.

They have a very long, flat snout that is similar to a shovel or a blade. The snout will decrease with age. Additionally, their jaws will extend when feeding and, honestly, these fish with big noses are what nightmares are made of.

The purpose of their snouts isn’t only to freak us out, however – it’s capable of detecting prey by sensing changes in the immediate electric field. This is immensely important to them, as it’s pitch black where they live.


2. Black Rhinoceros

Scientific name: Diceros bicornis

It’s no wonder that one of the largest terrestrial mammals has a huge nose. When you take a look at the horns, you start understanding why that is. Most black rhinos have two horns, with the front horn being larger – about 20 inches long.

It takes a large skull to fit these horns, given that some of the largest horns can be as long as 55 inches. These horns are very heavy for the animal, and a large nose helps them distribute that weight. Sometimes, rhinos will even grow a third horn!


3. South American Coatis

Scientific name: Nasua nasua

The South American coati is closely related to your everyday raccoon, and they use their long noses to scavenge for food. They primarily feed on insects, small animals and fruits.

Spending the majority of their life in the trees, looking for food, coatis will use their long noses to poke through crevices. This is a great method to find animal prey on the ground.


4. Bushpigs

Scientific name: Potamochoerus larvatus

You’ll find the bushpig in East and South Africa, and they’re very similar to the domestic pig. Their snouts, however, are massive in comparison to the domestic pig, while they also have sharp tusks.

Their noses are very powerful when it comes to smelling food, and it’s also physically strong. They can use their noses to dig around the ground – unlike many other species that use their feet.

By now the rule has become obvious – animals with big noses don’t have a problem finding food in the wild.


5. Pinocchio Frog

Scientific name: Litoria pinocchio | Andrew DuBois / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

This is the youngest animal species on this list, and it was named the Pinocchio frog after its discovery in 2008 because of its nose. Pinocchio frog has a nose that’s uncanny in its resemblance to Pinocchio.

It looks like a tiny piece of goop, hanging from the frog’s mouth. Since it’s a young species, we’re not yet sure what’s the purpose of such a nose, but we know that the nose inflates during mate calls.


6. Long-nosed Bandicoots

Scientific name: Perameles nasuta

Another appropriately-named animal with a big nose, the long-nosed bandicoot has a very prominent nose. Most bandicoot noses are longer than their heads and they use them to dig.

Digging is very important for bandicoots, since they eat insects and larvae, which are often under the ground. We can find them only on the East Coast of Australia.


7. Pinocchio Lizard

Scientific name: Anolis proboscis

Just like the Pinocchio frog, this lizard has a very long nose, arising from the middle of the snout. It’s usually less than an inch in length, and its likely purpose is connected with mating.

These small lizards are no longer than 3 inches (not including the tail), so this nose can actually make up to a third of their entire body length! They have these noses even as babies when they hatch from their eggs.


8. Aardvarks

Scientific name: Orycteropus afer

Not only do aardvarks have big noses – their noses are also impressive in design. They have special muscles in the tip of their snouts that allow complete mobility, while the dividing tissue between nostrils provides the animal with sensory functions.

Their noses are incredibly well-developed as they have nine olfactory bulbs – more than any other mammal. Their olfactory lobe in the brain is also very well-developed, meaning that they can smell better than a dog does.


9. Proboscis Monkeys

Scientific name: Nasalis larvatus

Some of the largest Asian monkey species, proboscis monkeys are living proof that big noses aren’t ugly – at least not in the monkey world. Males have a large proboscis, sometimes longer than 4 inches.

Scientists still don’t fully agree whether it qualifies as a nose, snout or trunk, but it’s long and it hangs lower than the mouth. It’s likely that this long of a nose is important when it comes to sexual selection by females.

Females prefer louder males, and larger proboscis allows the male to vocalize more loudly. Females have smaller noses than males, but if we compare them to primate noses in general – female proboscis monkeys still have large noses.


10. Mandrills

Scientific name: Mandrillus sphinx

Just like with our previous entry, mandrills use their large, colorful noses to attract females. They’re some of the most colorful mammals in existence, as their faces are covered with red and blue, alongside their brown hair.

The coloring is much more apparent with dominant males than younger males, while males also have longer canines than females. They’re also the heaviest monkeys on the planet, weighing up to 82 pounds (males).


11. Hippopotamus

Scientific name: Hippopotamus amphibious

This megaherbivore is one of the largest mammals on earth, and their noses are impressive not because of their length, but because of their width. Their nose is wide and flat with nostrils right on top of it.

Nostril placement is crucial with hippos, since they spend the majority of their life in the water. High-set nostrils allow them to breathe while still keeping their entire body under water.

Despite their clumsy look, hippos are fierce fighters and conflicts with other animals and people often end in death. They’re capable of opening their jaws open to an incredible degree, bending their nose on the inside.


12. Gharials

Scientific name: Gavialis gangeticus

Gharials are an, unfortunately, endangered species of crocodilians with an impressive evolutionary trait that allows them to hunt for fish. Their snouts are incredibly long and pointy.

Even though it might look odd, their snouts are made to move swiftly under the surface, allowing them to catch fish. Since they primarily feed on fish, this is a very important evolutionary trait.

They also have sensory cells on the surface of their snouts which detect vibrations in the water, usually made by the prey.


To End

Big noses are most often an evolutionary trait, not just a random anatomical occurrence. Taking gharials and the goblin shark as an example – long noses can serve as a means of detecting prey.

We also have the proboscis monkey and the mandrill, two species of monkey where nose size is directly correlated with sexual prowess and social dominance.

Aardvarks, bushpigs, long-nosed bandicoots are all great examples of animals with big noses that use their given abilities to find and dig for food, which is what most physical traits in the animal kingdom boil down to.

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