20 Animals With Big Foreheads (With Pictures)

Some animals like gorillas, elephants, and beluga whales have big foreheads that help them in different ways. In this article, we’ll take a look at 20 animals with big foreheads, what functions their foreheads serve, and how they’ve adapted to life in the wild.

Many of these animals have developed large foreheads as a result of various evolutionary needs. These unique features offer advantages that help them thrive in their respective habitats, serving functions from protection to communication.

1. Gorillas

A gorilla has a large head with a noticeable forehead that extends over its eyes. On top of their skull is a raised bony line called the sagittal crest. This ridge is more prominent in male gorillas. It supports the big muscles they use to chew their food, especially hard or tough items.

2. Elephants

Elephants have big skulls to hold up their heavy tusks. By looking at the size and shape of an elephant’s skull, you can tell if it’s an African or Asian elephant, and even if it’s a male or female. Asian elephants have a rounder, higher forehead, while African elephants have a flatter, wider one.

3. Beluga Whales

The “melon-headed” whale is most famous for two things: its large, soft head, and its ability to vocalize. Beluga whales are unique looking creatures, but why?

They have large heads that house their melon– an organ which produces high and low frequency sounds. These sounds help the whale with communication, hunting for food,  and travelling.

4. Flowerhorns

Flowerhorns are a type of freshwater fish that’s native to Southeast Asia. They’re known for their prominent foreheads, which are often brightly colored and decorated with patterns. The lump is simply a build-up of fat and water, and if the fish experiences too much stress, the lump will shrink in size.

5. Bottlenose Dolphins

The dolphin’s forehead has a rounded region called the melon. The melon on a dolphin contains fat, which is significant for echolocation.

This organ regulates and alters these sound waves before they leave the body. It is also used in communication and social behavior within the dolphin community.

6. Wild Yak

The wild yak is closely related to the American bison, and is one of the world’s largest bovines. They have extremely wide foreheads due to their horns growing out to the sides of their head.

Like bison, yaks will use their horns and head to protect themselves if necessary. However, they’re quite friendly animals and can easily be domesticated.

7. Orangutans

For male orangutans, іt’s сommon to develop cheekpads as they age. Not only do these cheekpads frame their faces, but they also give them a larger head. Some male gorillas in the wild may not develop cheekpads until they are 30 years old, though males in captivity show signs of developing them as early as 13.

8. Octopus

The main features of the octopus are its head and arms. The Octopus’s head is called the mantle, which houses and protects almost all of its organs. Fascinatingly, octopuses have nine brains–eight of which are situated in their eight arms.

9. Green Humphead Parrotfish

The green humphead parrotfish is one of the largest currently known species of parrotfish. One of the most surprising things about parrotfish is their large head size, particularly in green humphead parrotfish. If you take a look at the picture, you’ll notice that the protruding part of the head is actually its forehead.

10. Proboscis Monkey

The proboscis monkey, with its large nose and forehead as well as broader than average shoulders, is certainly an interesting creature. Proboscis monkeys have a unibrow-like tawny-red fur patch on their forehead, which you might not notice at first due to their noses.

11. Oranda

The oranda goldfish breed is known for the bubble-like “hood” on its head. The growth on top of the head, also known as a wen or crown, can be significant in size or may cover the entire face except for the mouth. To a certain degree, this might block vision, impede breathing and swimming, that’s why it’s often necessary to remove them surgically.

12. Koala

The Koala is a unique animal easily identified by its large round head, big furry ears, and black nose. Although commonly referred to as a “koala bear”, the koala is actually a marsupial. The Koala’s head is large compared to its body, but its brain is smaller compared to other marsupials that are closely related.

13. Sperm Whales

A sperm whale’s head is filled with a substance called spermaceti, and scientists are still trying to understand what it does. They believe it might help the animal control its buoyancy. The sperm whale’s head is enormous, accounting for at least one third of its body mass.

14. Bald Uakari

The bald uakari is known for its red face, and bald head. These monkeys reside exclusively in the Amazon River basin and prefer habitats that are either permanently or seasonally flooded, like rain forests near lakes and rivers. They also have really strong jaws that can open hard fruits, seeds, and nuts.

15. Cows

Cows can have horns that come out on either side of the head above their ears, or they can be poll (or hornless), which just means without horns. The shape of the horns is simple, with a bulge in between them which makes a cow’s forehead appear to be big.

16. Cassowary

All cassowary species have a projecting structure on their head called a casque, which starts to develop when the bird is one to two years old. The casque, or helmet, is composed of a spongy substance and then covered by a strong layer of keratin – the same thing that makes up our fingernails. Even though it is fairly tough, the casque can be depressed slightly in the middle.

17. Bison

The bison’s head is massive, with a thick skull that can withstand forceful collisions. Bison use their heads and horns to fight rivals, both male and female bison have short curved black horns ideal for this purpose. These horns make their head look even bigger than it already is.

18. Musk Ox

The Musk Ox is a large-headed creature that inhabits North America and Europe’s cold environments. The large horns on their head protect their skull against impacts, even though it’s not clear if they sustain brain damage from these collisions. Both sexes of this animal have long, curved horns.

19. Squid

The squid’s enormous head houses eyes as large as dinner plates — the biggest in the animal world. With a diameter of 1 foot (30 centimeters), these eyes can absorb more light than smaller ones, helping the squid see bioluminescent prey or predators in the dark. Its eyes caused their forehead to look big.

20. Bowhead Whale

Bowhead whales have huge skulls that are about 16.5 feet long, which is nearly one-third the size of their whole body. These big skulls help them smash through sea ice that’s up to eight inches thick. Even though they aren’t the biggest type of whale, bowhead whales are very heavy and live longer than any other sea creature.

Final Thoughts

These are just some of the animals that have big foreheads. Whether it’s for protection, camouflage, or just to look cool, these animals have definitely mastered the art of the big forehead. We hope you enjoyed learning about these amazing creatures!

Bowhead Whale Image by: Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons