When measuring what scientists call the "bite force" of an animal, there is both consensus and dissent amongst those doing the measuring. Bite force describes the force exerted when teeth and jaws are brought together to bite and chew food. It is measured in pounds per square inch (psi) of force that an animal exerts on its prey.
Things like jaw size, teeth shape, and of course, the size and shape of the prey/food all impact the measurement of bite strength. Humans, for example, have evolved to eat omnivorous food (both plants and meat), and the meat we eat has already been caught and cooked. The animals on this list with the strongest bite force have to catch their prey and eat it raw, and as such, have evolved accordingly. Some of the animals on this list are predictable, and some might surprise you! As there is a certain amount of disagreement amongst scientists measuring bite force, this list is not in an order that everyone agrees with. Most of the bite force measurements are estimates.
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1. Orca - 19,000 psi
Orcasare the reason why Nile and saltwater crocodiles are combined on this list because their bite force is thought to eclipse all of the other contenders for the strongest bite by such a wide margin. Orcas in captivity have a bite force of around 19,000 psi.
Orcas are considered generalist predators and pods (or families) will hunt any number of sea creatures, including fish, squid, dolphins, seals, sea lions, and other whales. They are also apex predators, are at the top of the food chain in their ecosystems, and have no natural predators. They need to eat approximately four percent of their body weight daily. Females of the species can weigh up to 4,000 kgs and live for up to fifty years.
Despite being known askiller whales, orcas are not members of the whale family - they are the largest members of the dolphin family and inhabit nearly every ocean on earth. Orcas are protected species and endangered in several parts of the world due to climate change and decreased ability to access adequate food sources.
2. Crocodiles - 3,700 to 5,000 psi
BothNile crocodilesand saltwater crocodiles have bite forces of between 3,700 and 5,000 psi. Saltwater crocodiles are the world's largest living reptile, and though Nile crocodiles are smaller, they have the strongest bite force of all reptiles.
Saltwater crocodilesuse their tremendous bite force to capture prey, which they then bring into a "death roll" in the water. In adulthood (where they can reach sizes of up to 1,000 kgs) they are considered apex predators, with no natural predation outside humans. Like alligators, their lifespan is up to seventy years, and crocodiles are often referred to as "living fossils" as they have evolved very little in the history of their species. Saltwater crocodiles will eat anything they can take down into their death roll, including turtles, snakes, fish, livestock, wild boars, and buffalo who get too close to the water.
Nile crocodiles are native to Sub-Saharan Africa, primarily living in freshwater habitats, though they can survive in saline and brackish conditions. Though they are generally smaller than their saltwater counterparts, the largest Nile crocodile on record is over a thousand kilograms. Nile crocodiles have a stronger bite force than theirlarger cousinsbut are very territorial and opportunistically wait out (then crush) their prey as apex predators who are thought to be able to take down any-sized animal that strays into their path. Nile crocodiles are social animals who live in hierarchical communities where eating order is determined by size.
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3. Great White Shark - 4,000 psi
Great white sharksuse their estimated 4,000 psi of bite force to hunt pinnipeds like seals and sea lions, although young great whites often hunt smaller prey such as fish. These carnivores are found in coastal waters in the world's major oceans. Though many great white sharks do not survive infancy, they can look forward to an estimatedseventy-yearlifespan if they do.
Despite having nearly 300 teeth, sharks do not chew their food. They use their ferocious bite to tear prey into manageable pieces, which are then swallowed whole. They can grow up to twenty feet in length.Recently,a ten-foot-long great white was spotted in the Gulf of Mexico.
The World Wildlife Fund lists great white sharks as a vulnerable animal population. This is due both to climate change as well as years of sharks being hunted for their fins and teeth and for trophies. Little is known about the movements and habits of great white sharks, and part of restoring their numbers will come from monitoring and studying their migrations.
4. Alligator - 2,000 psi
With a bite force of over 2,000 psi, thealligatoris the next animal on our list. They live in parts of the United States, Mexico, andChina. Alligators generally live in freshwater habitats, as they lack the gland that their crocodile pals possess, which helps them expel saltwater from their mouths. Alligators are generally considered less aggressive than crocodiles, though both should be avoided when possible.
Alligators only typically eat about once per week and are opportunistic hunters and carnivores. They occasionally snack on fruit but prefer to eat meat as the bulk of their diet. When young alligators learn to hunt, they tend to be more energetic in their pursuit of prey, even going so far as to hunt birds out of the air. As they age, their opportunistic hunting nature becomes more prevalent, and they tend to eat snakes, fish, and mammals that come close to the water.
Florida has the greatest number of recordedalligatorattacks on humans. Researchers believe that the strength of an alligator's bite could lift a vehicle. As such, attacks on humans can be quite deadly, despite alligators' natural fear of humans and less aggressive nature than crocodiles.
Read MoreHow Many Types Of Alligators Live In The World Today?
5. Hippopotamus - 1,800 psi
Hippopotamus, colloquially called "hippos," come in around fifth place on our list of animals with the most potent bite forces. Theirs is measured at around 1,800 psi. They are the third largest living mammal, are semi-aquatic, and live in Sub-Saharan Africa. The word "hippopotamus" can be roughly translated to "river horse" in Greek.
Though they have a powerful bite force, hippos are herbivores. Their bites have evolved to help them ward off apex predators and fight otherhippopotamifor herd status. Though they're primarily vegetarians, hippos are considered dangerous to humans and can be quite aggressive. Weighing in at up to 8,000 pounds, hippos can move relatively quickly to their size. They're able to reach speeds of up to thirty miles per hour and are thought to be very difficult to domesticate or train. With their severe bites and huge mouths, biting a human fatally is not beyond their scope of ability.
As with many of the animals on this list,hippopotamiface endangerment due to shrinking habitats, with the World Wildlife Fund listing their numbers at around 110,000.
6. Jaguar - 1,500 psi
Jaguarslive in Central and South America, as well as in the Southwestern United States. They are large cats and can grow up to 1.8 meters in length and nearly a hundred kilograms in mass. They are extremely fast runners and can reach up to eighty miles per hour. They have a bite force of up to 1,500 psi, which, coupled with their speed, enables them to hunt animals up to four times their size. Their name, "jaguar," comes from the Indigenous word "yaguar," which means "kills with one leap."
Jaguars' bite force allows them to bite through the tough shells of a tortoise, the armored skin of a crocodile and crush the skull of any animal they can catch. They are opportunistic carnivores who eat a wide variety of different animals. Jaguars will eat snakes, lizards, large and small mammals, and even fish. Like so many animals,deforestation and climate change threaten jaguars'territories and numbers. Industrialized agriculture and meat production contributed to shrinking habitats and less prey for jaguars to hunt. They are also vulnerable to illegal hunting, called poaching.
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7. Gorilla - 1,300 psi
Despite having a tremendous bite force of around 1,300 psi,gorillasare primarily herbivores (meaning they're basically vegetarians). Their habitat is in the tropical forests of equatorial Africa, and they mainly live on the ground. They use their strong bites to strip the bark of trees, though they occasionally like to snack on ants, snails, and grubs as well. If it's available,gorillasenjoy eating fruit and sometimes even flowers!
Interestingly,gorillasdon't need to eat much protein in their diet because their digestive systems grow protein in the bacteria that live inside them. Despite their diet not containing much protein, gorillas can grow to up to 200kg and can stand as tall as a fully grown human. In fact, they share nearly 98% of their DNA withhumans, which means that human diseases like the common cold can negatively impact their health.
Gorillas are social animals and like to live in family-like systems and communities. Both males and females help care for infants, and the entire community sleeps in a kind of nest together at night. Unfortunately, gorilla populations are dwindling due to climate change and industrialization. Their habitats are often infringed upon by expanding cities. At last count, there are only 1,063 mountain gorillas left in the world, and they are considered an endangered species by the World Wildlife Federation.
8. Polar Bear - 1,200 psi
Polar bearslive in the Arctic Circle, where they fight for life in some of the harshest temperatures on earth. They are the predators at the top of the food chain in the Arctic marine ecosystem, feasting primarily on ringed seals. Their bite force is upwards of 1,200 psi and is the strongest in the bear family. This may be partly because they sometimes go three or four months without food and need to stock up during times when food in the Arctic is plentiful.
To keep warm in the harsh Arctic cold, polar bears need to acquire and digest a large amount of fat. Their stomachs are incredibly efficient at extracting the nutrients they require (fats and proteins, primarily) to survive in such a chilly landscape.
Thoughpolar bearsare the most carnivorous of all bears, they will occasionally hunt on land and, during that time, will forage for berries or seaweed. When polar bear young are learning how to hunt, often by sitting very still next to holes in the ice and waiting for seals to surface, they will occasionally have to dine on other bears' kills to survive.
Due toclimate change, polar bears' hunting habitats are becoming less and less accessible to them. Often they are forced to wait further and further into the year for ice packs to form for them to eat their preferred diet of up to four pounds of seal fat per day. Human influence has also negatively impacted aspolar bearscan become attracted to the smell of garbage in nearby communities. They have incredibly sensitive noses and use their sense of smell for most of their hunting.
9. Grizzly Bear - 900 to 1,200 psi
Grizzly bearslive in North America. They can weigh up to 700 pounds, and their bite force is between 900 and 1,200 psi. Unlike polar bears, grizzly bears are not strictly carnivorous. Omnivores likegrizzlybears need to consume a diet that contains plants as well. They enjoy dining on berries, roots, and grass, as well as fish. In fact, grizzly bears are thought to be nearly 85% vegetarians. Grizzlies also eat deer and moose when they can catch them, though these make for more challenging prey.
Interestingly, the grizzly bear will also scavenge and eat off other animals' kills if necessary. When hunting, they use their powerful bite, razor-sharp claws, and large size to hold larger prey in place. Because they aren't as agile at hunting as other animals, grizzly bears often end up hunting sick or wounded animals.
Before hibernating in winter, grizzly bears need to eat enough food to help them survive the entire winter. They can eat up to ninety pounds of food per day during that pre-hibernation time and can sometimes even double in size.
In spite of their relatively slower hunting skills and enjoyment of vegetation, grizzly bears can be extremely dangerous to humans in the wild. Though their bite force is less than that of their polar bear kin, it is still strong enough to crush a bowling ball (or a human skull) with little effort.
10. Hyena - 1,000 psi
Interestingly, although they look like members of the dog family,hyenasare more closely related to the cat family -- and they are not actually a member of either. They are so unique that they have a family all to themselves.Hyenaslive in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia and have surprisingly strong bites for their size.
Clocking in at an estimated 1,100 pounds per square inch of bite force, designed to get to the marrow of the bones of their prey, hyenas have a stronger bite than wolves (estimated at a maximum of 1,000 psi) and a much stronger bite force than domestic dogs (the largest of which is somewhere around 700 psi). To compare them to members of the cat family, hyenas have a stronger bite force than lions, who are their main hunting competition in nature. Lions only bite at about 650 psi.
Thoughhyenasare often thought of as carnivorous, they are survivors and scavengers first of all. If fresh meat is not available to be hunted, they will eat the leftovers from the kills of other animals. They will also eat vegetation if there is no meat available. Their teeth and digestive systems are evolved to chew and digest bones, and nothing goes to waste for hyenas.
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What About Humans?
Human beings are often the only predators up to the task of several of the animals on this list. In several cases, human involvement and human-caused incidences such as climate change and deforestation are the only threats to these important members of their ecosystems. When it comes to bite force, however, we are woefully behind even our tenth-place contestants. Human beings only bite at a force of approximately 160 psi, so it is probably best if we avoid getting into any biting contests with hyenas (let alone orcas).
Erin McDonald December 12 2022 in Nature
|1||Great White Shark||4,000 PSI|
|2||Saltwater Crocodile||3,700 PSI|
|3||Nile Crocodile||3,000 PSI|
|4||American Alligator||2,980 PSI|
And the strongest known bite force of the entire animal kingdom is…. The Crocodile -- specifically, the Saltwater Crocodile (the highest recorded “live” bite of 3700 PSI) and the Nile Crocodile (estimated 4000-5000 PSI)!Which animal has 10000 bite force? ›
Computers don't lie: T. Rex was shown to have a bite force of over 10,000 pounds per square inch, enough to bite through the head and frill of an adult Triceratops or even (just possibly) penetrate the armor of a full-grown Ankylosaurus.What animals do humans have a stronger bite than? ›
In the first comparison of its kind, Australian researchers have found that the lightly built human skull has a far more efficient bite than those of the chimp, gorilla and orang-utan, and of two prehistoric members of our family, Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus boisei.What is the strongest bite force in history? ›
The T. rex had the strongest bite of any land animal in Earth's history. Its toothy jaw delivered upwards of 7 tons of pressure when it chomped its prey.What is the fastest bite in animals? ›
Dracula ants of the species Mystrium camillae can snap their jaws together so fast, you could fit 5,000 strikes into the time it takes us to blink an eye. This means the blood-suckers wield the fastest known movement in nature, according to a study published this week in the journal Royal Society Open Science.What animal has the strongest kick? ›
Strongest Kick: Zebra – Kicks with About 3,000 Pounds of Force. Between the well-known force behind the kick of a red kangaroo and a giraffe, you might be surprised to read that the zebra beats them both. When threatened, an adult zebra can kill a fully grown male African lion with a single blow to the body.What is the biggest bite ever? ›
In August 1986, Richard Hofmann (b. 1949) of Lake City, Florida, USA, achieved a bite strength of 442 kg (975 lb) for approximately 2 sec in a research test using a gnathodynamometer at the College of Dentistry, University of Florida, USA.What is the biggest animal bites ever? ›
The "winners"—saltwater crocodiles—slammed their jaws shut with 3,700 pounds per square inch (psi), or 16,460 newtons, of bite force. By contrast, you might tear into a steak with 150 to 200 psi (890 newtons). Hyenas, lions, and tigers generate around 1,000 psi (4,450 newtons).How strong is a human bite? ›
Compared with other mammals (like dogs and bears), humans don't have the strongest bite. Scientists measure the amount of pressure exerted by an animal's bite in pounds per square inch (psi). The human bite force is 162 psi.
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, leading one to question why humans do not have an armor-like hide composed of this amazing organic substance.Is a human bite stronger than a gorilla? ›
Unlike some of the other animals whose bite packs a punch, gorillas stick to a mainly herbivore diet. Their incredible bite force is just one of their many feats of strength that are important in helping them survive in the wild. While similar to humans, their bites are around 8 times stronger than ours.Is a human bite stronger than a wolf? ›
A human's bite force is only about 120 pounds per square inch, and a large domestic dog's is about 320 pounds per square inch—but the bite force of a wolf is almost 400 pounds of pressure per square inch!What dog has the strongest bite? ›
The Kangal is a large, muscular dog that typically weighs between 100 and 130 pounds. They have been trained to guard sheep and other flocks against giant predators such as wolves, jackals, and bears. The Kangal has a mighty bite, with a bite force of 743 PSI. It is the highest bite force of any dog breed.What animal has the weakest bite force? ›
The anteater, on the other hand, is one mammal with virtually no bite force. In fact, it can barely move its jaws at all! Anteaters collect ants and other foods by extending a long tongue and drawing it back into their mouths.What bite is stronger than Trex? ›
A new study shows that the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex's bite was far less than the bite of a much smaller modern dinosaur — a tiny Galapagos finch. Researchers evaluated the crunching strength in the bites of hundreds of animals — living and extinct.What is the bite force of Godzilla? ›
Godzilla can use his tail as a swinging weapon which trips and stuns foes too close. Godzilla can bite down with a 500k bite force which tears through the bones and flesh of many kaijus it faces.Can megalodon bite through metal? ›
They have a rough exterior that gets smoother at the tooth's finely serrated edges, and are set in massive jaws that pack an estimated 10,900- to 18,100-kilogram bite force, enough to comfortably snap steel.Is megalodon bite force stronger than T Rex? ›
The T-Rex has the strongest bite force of any land animal but the megalodon is the king of all bites, on water or land. The Deinosuchus and Purussaurus are now extinct and are ancestors of caiman and alligators.What animal can beat a grizzly bear? ›
In the battle of the grizzly bear vs tiger, a Siberian tiger would win a fight against a grizzly bear. The Siberian tiger is an ambush predator, and it's the only big cat that comes close to the grizzly bear in terms of size and power.
- The dhole is a wild dog native to Asia. ©Nimit Virdi/Shutterstock.com.
- Asian elephants can stomp, and crush a tiger. ©CherylRamalho/Shutterstock.com.
- Crocodiles have enough jaw power to kill a tiger with one bite. ...
- A brown bear is twice the size of a male tiger. ...
- Humans are the biggest threat to tigers.
In a battle royale for Most Powerful Animal, a red kangaroo might take the martial-arts belt, thanks to a bone-shattering kick that delivers 759 pounds of force. Evolution has nudged wild creatures to hone their blows, bites, and brute strength for survival.What pet is most likely to bite? ›
Pit Bull have the greatest frequency of bites (25.07%), with Labrador Retrievers having the second highest rate of bite attacks (13.72%). Dog breeds with wide heads and weighing between 66-100 pounds are most likely to bite and attack.What pet bites the most? ›
Statistics show that the highest dog attacks by breed are from Pit Bulls. Their natural aggression and high provocation rate from humans cause Pit Bulls to have the highest attack rate in the United States when compared to other dog breeds.Which big cat has the strongest bite? ›
Jaguars have the strongest jaw muscles of all of the big cats. Their bite force is around 1,500 pounds per square inch, which is about double that of a tiger!What is the 1 on 1 strongest animal? ›
1. Dung Beetle. A dung beetle is not only the world's strongest insect but also the strongest animal on the planet compared to body weight. They can pull 1,141 times their own body weight.What animal has the strongest touch? ›
The star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata) deserves special mention: not only is this animal the acknowledged record holder for the sense of touch, with its peculiar nasal appendages crammed with mechanoreceptors that give it six times the sensitivity of the human hand, our most sensitive area, but it can also sniff out ...What animals can a human beat in a fight? ›
Rats and house cats were the easiest presumed pushovers, with two-thirds of participants claiming they could see one off, while grizzly bears, elephants and lions were rightfully respected – only 2 per cent of pollsters claimed they would be able to take one down.How strong was a megalodon bite? ›
Humans have been measured with a bite force of around 1,317 Newtons (N), while great white sharks have been predicted to be able to bite down with a force of 18,216N. Researchers have estimated that megalodon had a bite of between 108,514 and 182,201N.
A hickey, hickie or love bite in British English, is a bruise or bruise-like mark caused by kissing or sucking skin, usually on the neck, arm, or earlobe.
What is the bite force of a Squirrel? Gray squirrels have a bite force of around 7,000 pounds per square inch (psi). For comparison, most humans have a bite force around 500 psi. Like other rodents, squirrels' incisors grow constantly throughout their lives.What to do if a child bites you? ›
The first thing to do for any biting injury is to wash the area with soap and water. Even little teeth can break the skin. If the bite is bleeding and the wound appears to be deep, call your child's doctor. The bite may need medical treatment, which could include antibiotics or a tetanus shot, or both.Can human jaws break bone? ›
Like other bones in the body, the jawbone can experience a fracture (broken bone). You can also dislocate the jawbone. A dislocation means the lower jawbone moves out of one of the two temporomandibular joints (TMJ) that connect the mandible to the skull.Are humans the deadliest bite? ›
Human bites are often more dangerous than animal bites because the human mouth has more bacteria in it than most animals' mouths. It is very easy for a human bite to become infected. However, any bite that breaks the skin can become infected and should be treated by your healthcare provider.Are teeth harder than diamonds? ›
Just how hard is tooth enamel? It is, in fact, the human body's hardest substance. Using the scale of mineral hardness developed by German mineralogist Frederich Mohs in 1812, tooth enamel ranked 5 out of the 1-10 values. Diamonds ranked 10 (hardest) and plaster of Paris ranked only 2 on the Moh's scale.Could a human punch a gorilla? ›
Unarmed Human vs Gorilla: Offensive Capabilities
In this fight, they're severely disadvantaged by their lack of access to weapons. Humans can punch, kick, and grapple. They can only bite with a force of between 120 and 160 PSI, and human teeth are too small and blunt to be a threat to a gorilla.
Great apes like chimps, bonobos and gorillas can't make fists with their hands, so they can't actually punch, making it difficult to directly compare our fighting abilities with theirs.Can a human beat a lion? ›
If you change the question to: “Can a single, average-sized, athletic man armed with a primitive spear and minimal training defeat a lion, tiger, or bear in a fight?” the answer would be yes. He can, but it's certainly not assured. A tremendous amount of luck would be required. It's unlikely.Is a human bite stronger than a lion? ›
While some animals, like alligators and lions, can chomp down with over 1,000 pounds of force, the average human bite force is only around 200–300 pounds of force. The big difference may seem strange, but there's a good reason for it.What's the bite force of a pitbull? ›
"The American Pit Bull Terrier is a breed that is known for its strength and determination. With a bite force of 240-330 PSI, this breed can definitely bring down larger prey," Sarah-Jane explains. "Pitbull terriers are legal in the United States. But in Canada, pit bulls are banned in many towns and cities.
The Kangal is a large, muscular dog that typically weighs between 100 and 130 pounds. They have been trained to guard sheep and other flocks against giant predators such as wolves, jackals, and bears. The Kangal has a mighty bite, with a bite force of 743 PSI. It is the highest bite force of any dog breed.What dog bites harder than a wolf? ›
The Kangle is the breed with the strongest bite force at 743 psi, which is the strongest of all dogs. The Wolf has one of the strongest bite forces when compared with most dogs but some breeds that are larger are able to produce much more force than a wolf.What dog has the 2 strongest bite? ›
|Rank||Dog Breed||Bite Force|
|4.||Tosa Inu||556 PSI|
|3.||Dogue de Bordeaux||556 PSI|
|2.||Cane Corso||700 PSI|
Strongest Kick: Zebra – Kicks with About 3,000 Pounds of Force. Between the well-known force behind the kick of a red kangaroo and a giraffe, you might be surprised to read that the zebra beats them both. When threatened, an adult zebra can kill a fully grown male African lion with a single blow to the body.What is the smartest animal? ›
CHIMPANZEES. RECKONED to be the most-intelligent animals on the planet, chimps can manipulate the environment and their surroundings to help themselves and their community. They can work out how to use things as tools to get things done faster, and they have outsmarted people many a time.