An animal’s strength is correlated with size and the amount of hurt and destruction the animal can inflict on other living things. From land to sea and air, several strong animals are known. However, there may be some misconceptions about which of them are the strongest animals.
Any animal’s true strength is based on its physical size in relation to what it can do. The creatures on this list may surprise you in some ways. However, the critical lesson from this list is that though size is essential, it’s not entirely how you think it. Keep reading to find out.
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Determinants of strength in animals
Strength often goes beyond just being big. Specific pointers are used to determine an animal’s absolute strength and are explained below.
1. The bite force
Most animals in the wild are known for their ability to hunt for food using their bite strength. Expressed in pound-force per square inch (PSI), researchers have used specific methods to estimate how much force happens in one bite.
Stronger animals have a higher bite strength which is measured using a combination of direct measurement and software modeling to measure the pressure the animal exerts when biting. Jaw muscle, jaw bones, teeth structure, and the overall weight/size of the animal are also considered when measuring the PSI, as this help to determine how strong an animal’s bite is.
This means that a small animal can be stronger than a larger animal when its PSI is calculated in relation to its size.
2. Brute Strength
Animals with pure strength are able to lift or drag large weights. This kind of strength is peculiar in carnivorous animals that have to overpower other animals when hunting for food. The pure strength of an animal is determined by its general weight and ability to overpower other animals that are even bigger than it.
3. Power relative to body size
Some animals may be smaller, but they are able to carry enormous weights that are unbelievably higher than their own weight. The strength of such animals is judged by how many times their own size and weight they are able to carry.
12 strongest animals in the world
Let’s take a look at some of the strongest animals in the world according to pure strength, power relative to body size, and bite power.
1. Strongest animals by pure strength
Belonging to the order of primates, the gorilla is the largest living primate in the world and is native to parts of Africa. This ‘king kong’ has an average height of 1.5 meters and can weigh anywhere between 100 and 270kg. They are herbivores but don’t let that fool you; a gorilla can fatally fight any animal when threatened.
Gorillas have a life span of 35-40 years but can live beyond that. They have arms that are very big, strong, and long compared to humans; their arm span can reach 2.5 meters, and they are thought to be 15 times stronger than the ordinary person.
This muscular ape is mighty and capable of lifting weights of up to 2000kg. The next time you see a gorilla, try to stay on its good side to avoid being torn by this powerful animal.
2. African bush elephant
Cute ivory tusks and long trunks are not the only distinct features that elephants possess. They are the most giant land animals by size on the planet and can weigh up to 6000kg or more. That’s enough to make it the strongest, but that’s not all.
The African Bush Elephants can carry up to 9,000kg in weight and lift to 300kg using their trunks. The trunk of an elephant is very muscular and can grow up to 2 meters in length. The elephant trunk helps the elephant feed, dig and fight off predators.
3. Grizzly bear
Grizzly bears are strong and resilient mammals. These brown bear subspecies in North America have giant heads, robust rumps, round ears, and lengthy claws, which they are not afraid to use
The humps on grizzlies’ backs are a distinctive feature that sets them apart from black bears. A grizzly bear’s rear hump is actually a muscle that it uses to rip apart logs in quest of grubs and plant bulbs as well as to excavate dens.
Known for their sharp and precise eyesight, these air hunters are considered to be the kings of the sky because of their prowess in taking on prey. They are any bird that belongs to the family Accipitridae. With a wingspan of up to 1.8 meters, eagles are the largest flying birds, aside from vultures. They can detect large vertebrates up to two kilometers away and do not mind preying on them.
According to records, some eagles have been seen flying with prey weighing up to 6.8 kilograms. This is enormous, considering that eagles weigh only between 2.9 to 6.3kg. Some species have also been reported to kill prey weighing between 30 and 37 kg.
They have strong long claws, which they use in snatching prey with heavy heads, and beaks, which they use in tearing their prey.
Native to tropical South America, Anacondas are water reptiles of the Boa family that hunts by circling and constricting their prey till there is no life left in it. They weigh about 250kg and can grow up to 10metres in length.
Anacondas can take on enormous prey like wild pigs and even adult humans. They strangle, kill, and eat animals up to their own body weight. They like their meals whole and would swallow the full length of their strangled prey. This meal is capable of sustaining them for many weeks, after which they begin to hunt for their next meal.
The ability to squeeze and crush enormous animals earns them a spot on this list of the strongest animals by pure strength.
2. Strongest animals by strength relative to body weight
In terms of strength relative to body weight, dung beetles are the strongest insect in the world and the most potent animal overall. The ability of a male dung beetle to raise things up to 1,100 times its own weight is similar to a person lifting 80 tons or six double-decker buses full of passengers.
The male dung beetles, which may be found on every continent except Antarctica, require intense strength to battle other males for a mate and to move the balls of animal excrement they live in or eat.
You’ve probably caught an ant lifting unimaginable things like a large chunk of sugar, bread, or another ant bigger than itself. Ants are capable of lifting things that are 50 times above their own body weight.
Leafcutter ants are one of the strongest of the ant family. They are able to lift enormous weights using their mouths while walking long distances.
3. Strongest animals by bite power
Crocodiles are members of the reptile family and are primarily found in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Their habitats include wetlands, such as rivers and lakes, and saltwater regions, such as lagoons and estuaries.
The saltwater crocodile has the strongest recorded bite strength of any animal, with a PSI of 3,700. In addition to having strong bites, saltwater crocodiles are the biggest members of the crocodile family and can weigh up to 1,000 pounds. They are estimated to be responsible for about 3,000 to 5,000 human deaths yearly. Scientists calculated that prehistoric 40-foot crocodiles would likely have had a bite force of 23,000 PSI.
These bite power champions have a lifespan of about 75 years and can grow up to 7m long. They can weigh up to 2,600 lb or 1,200kg. Considering their bite force, heavyweight, and length, crocodiles are unquestionably a force of nature and are the number one strongest animals in the world by bite power.
After white rhinos and elephants, hippos are the largest living land mammals on the planet. Hippos have a weight range of 1.4 to 5 tons. Surprisingly, they feed on plants which makes them omnivores. They require about 80 pounds of grass per night to maintain their weight but don’t be deceived; they can eat as much meat and have been known to attack live animals and even humans.
Hippos can move at rates of up to 30mph (approximately 50km/h), despite their size. They have a lifetime of about 50 years and can move quickly and gracefully on both lands and in water, thanks to their adaptation to semi-aquatic settings. Rivers, marshes, and wetlands all serve as their habitats.
Hippos’ mouths may open to a maximum of 150 degrees, exposing their incisors. This ferocious animal has an enormous jaw and teeth with a bite force of 1820 PSI, putting it at number 2 on our list of the strongest animal by bite power.
The lion may be the king of the jungle, but the jaguar is the king of all cats when it comes to bite force. With a bite power of 1500 PSI, the jaguar is one animal you do not want to mess with.
Jaguars are carnivores that prefer a diet of deer or anteaters and would hardly attack humans except when provoked or wounded. They would, however, take up odd menus such as hunting turtles when they are feeling adventurous. Their strong bite power and sharp teeth allow them to pierce turtles effortlessly despite their tough skin and shell.
This animal is native to South America and is equally strong in other ways. This is why it deserves a spot on our list of strongest animals in the world.
Hyenas are predators that are found in parts of South America, Asia, and Africa. These animals in the dog family can weigh anywhere between 35kg to 80kg, but don’t let their small size fool you; they can be quite dangerous, especially when it’s time to hunt.
A typical hyena has a bite force of 1100 PSI. Their strong skull and sharp teeth make them ferocious hunters even though they won’t mind scavenging on carcasses hunted by other animals.
Did you ever see the movie jaws? If you did, then you’ll understand how ruthless these saltwater animals are. Sharks are aquatic animals of the Elasmobranchii subclass under the class Chondrichthyes.
Sharks’ teeth are adaptive to their diet and constantly fall off with the growth of new replacements throughout their lifetime. These teeth are complimentary to their strong, wide jaws that connect to their skeleton with cartilage. This cartilage helps them absorb impacts.
With the help of its jaws and teeth, a shark’s bite can range from 625 – 1300 PSI, with bull sharks having the strongest bites.
The animal kingdom is surely full of surprises. You probably expected some animals that didn’t make this list. Which animal on the list surprised you the most? Let us know in the comment section.