They have the right to be as large as a piano or too tiny to see without a microscope. They may beat as lot as 1,000 — or as tiny as six — times a minute.

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They are pet hearts and they’re extraordinary.

Yes, the human heart is pretty astonishing, too. The thing has its electrical impulse, so with sufficient oxygen it can beat when external of the body.

But climate again, us just have actually one the them. The octopus has actually three. And also it just gets more amazing native there.

Beat It

The cheetah is among the fastest land animals, however its resting heart beat is about 120 beats per minute, similar to a jogging human. This is the difference: While the takes part time because that a human heart to reach its limit, generally 220 BPM, the cheetah have the right to go up to 250 BPM in just a few seconds.


A cheetah’s love beat have the right to go approximately 250 BPM in just a couple of seconds.

Really win It

The cheetah has a bit of competition, however, v the Etruscan shrew. The smallest recognized mammal by mass, the Etruscan shrew weighs in at under 2 grams and has a 25 beats per second heart rate. That’s a 1,500 BPM. It’s also kind of cute.

Sizing the Up

The person heart is around the dimension of a fist — and also a cow’s heart is the dimension of a human being head. The largest animal heart is the blue whale’s, which has actually been weighed at around 400 pounds (and it is not the size of a little car, contradictory to renowned belief).

But the animal with the largest heart-to-body-mass ratio is rather surprising: the dog. To compare a dog’s heart to its human body mass and it’s a .8 percent ratio. Almost all other pets — consisting of elephants, mice and humans — have actually a .6 percent ratio. Another animal with a ratio larger than many mammals is the dog’s ancestor, the wolf.

Sizing it down

The smallest pet hearts belong to the .006-inch lengthy fairyflies. You require a microscope to check out its heart, which is a tube running along its back. A new species the fairyfly uncovered in Costa Rica is named Tinkerbella nana.

Room because that Growth

The tropical, freshwater zebrafish is a popular aquarium addition, but it’s the animal’s heart that deserves the many attention. It has actually amazing regenerative properties, conveniently closing injuries and mending itself ago to practically full function.

That’s why researchers study the zebrafish come uncover feasible treatments for heart failure and also other cardiac injuries. In ~ the, the zebrafish is helping united state unlock few of the mysteries that the person immune system.


The zebrafish heart has amazing regenerative properties, quickly closing injuries and also mending itself back to virtually full function.

Triple Play

Human hearts, choose those of all mammals, as well as birds, have 4 chambers. The heart’s “thump-thump” sound is the four valves opening and closing together they pump blood. Yet frog hearts have three chambers — 2 atria and also one ventricle (you deserve to actually see exactly how it functions in a glass frog).

A little Help

Actually, every reptiles have actually three-chambered hearts v one exception. Crocodilian hearts have four chambers, however unlike mammals they have actually an extra flap that deserve to close to store blood from going to the lungs. Researchers think the blood can be sent out to the stomach to aid digestion, which is simply a smidge helpful when skeleton are regularly on the menu.

Dive appropriate in

Many animals decrease their heart price while diving into water. An emperor penguin’s heart rate dips 15 percent from its resting rate when diving and drops even more during long dives (in in between dives that jumps rapidly, likely to replenish tissues with oxygen). A manatee heart rate cuts by fifty percent while ~ above a long dive and seals decrease your heart price from 50 to 80 percent while diving. Through the way, seals eat squids, which, choose octopuses, have three hearts.


A manatee cut its heart price by fifty percent while on a lengthy dive.

Coming up Empty

There are also numerous animals with no hearts in ~ all, consisting of starfish, sea cucumbers and coral. Jellyfish can flourish quite large, yet they additionally don’t have hearts. Or brains. Or central nervous systems. It’s functioning for them, though. They’ve been around at least 500 million years.

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How … cute?

Pairs that dragonflies and damselflies (damselflies are various than dragonflies and, yes, it is what they’re called) form heart shapes when mating. The masculine grabs the mrs behind that is head and also the female … uh, how about we just show you a photo?

Sources: The central Florida Zoo; national Park Service; nationwide Wildlife Federation; newspaper of speculative Biology; national Science Foundation

~Jordan Bartel/NC State veterinary Medicine


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Jordan Bartel

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