Strongest Animals in the World: Exploring Earth’s Mighty Creatures

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Strength is a fascinating concept in the animal kingdom. When comparing the strength of different species, it's not just about sheer muscle power or the ability to lift heavy objects. The truth is that strength manifests in various forms. Each of these types of strength serves a unique purpose in the wild. But what different types of strength are there?

First, there's pure brute strength, which is the raw power that allows animals like elephants and gorillas to carry, lift, or pull enormous weights. This type of strength is often associated with large mammals. It enables them to dominate their habitats and it helps them protect themselves from predators.

Another way to compare strength is by relative strength, where size doesn't necessarily matter much. Some of the smallest creatures - such as ants and beetles – show incredible strength when compared to their body weight. They can lift or carry objects many times their size, proving a different kind of power that's equally (maybe even more) impressive.

Lastly, there's bite power. This is a specialized form of strength that focuses on the force exerted by an animal's jaws. Creatures like crocodiles and jaguars possess some of the strongest bites in the animal kingdom. These bites allow them to hunt, eat, and defend themselves effectively. Animals with lots of bite power might not be able to lift heavy objects or win in a wrestling match, but their strength is just as impressive and (in some way) the scariest type of strength on the list.

In today’s blog, we want to explore all of these different aspects of strength and take a peek into the world of the strongest animals on Earth – divided by their categories of strength. We'll uncover the secrets behind their power (how they can be so strong), how they use it, and what makes each one unique. This article is for you if you're a curious adult or an aspiring young naturalist. We will shed light on these mighty creatures' incredible diversity and adaptability. We're sure you will learn something new today if you keep reading.

Some of the Strongest Animals by Pure Strength

These animals that represent strength, each in their unique way, demonstrate the incredible range of pure brute force found in the animal kingdom. While many other species are powerful, these are some of the strongest animals in the world. From lifting and carrying to constricting and flying, their abilities are awe-inspiring and serve as proof of nature's power and diversity.

African Bush Elephant (can carry up to 20,000 pounds)

Elephant in Kruger National Park

Big male African bush elephant / CC BY-SA 4.0

The African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) is the largest land animal on Earth, with males weighing up to 6,800 kg (about 15,000 lbs.). They are native to the savannas and grasslands of Africa. These incredibly majestic creatures are known for their immense strength. Their powerful trunks alone can lift objects weighing hundreds of kilograms. But what's truly astonishing is their ability to carry loads up to 9,000 kg (almost 20,000 lbs.). This is equivalent to carrying an entire adult male rhinoceros! highlights this incredible feat that proves the elephant's unrivaled strength in the animal kingdom.

That is why they sit at the number one spot for the strongest animal when ranked by pure strength or force. So, if you have been wondering, "What is the strongest animal in the world?" here's your answer. You wouldn’t want to fight or mess with an African Bush Elephant. We can assure you of that.

Gorilla (can carry up to 4,000 pounds) 

Elephant in Kruger National Park

A silver back gorilla standing and looking alert in a grass field.

Gorillas (Gorilla beringei) are the largest primates - were you aware of that? Well, you might have known that fact, and you might also know that they inhabit the dense forests of central Africa. What you probably didn’t know is that with their muscular arms and robust bodies, they can lift almost 2,000 kg (about 4,000 lbs.). That is nearly ten times their body weight! This extraordinary strength allows them to break bamboo, climb trees, and even engage in playful wrestling matches with each other.

Tiger (can carry up to 1,300 pounds)

Tiger laying in grass

Powerful tiger resting on grass. 

The tiger (Panthera tigris), the largest of the big cats, roams the forests and grasslands of Asia. Known for their striking appearance and stealthy hunting skills, tigers have the strength to carry kills up to twice their body weight. A male tiger can weigh up to 300 kg (about 660 lbs.), which means it can carry up to 600 kg (or 1,300 lbs.) worth of prey they hunt down. This ability enables them to drag prey to secluded spots, away from other predators.

Grizzly Bear (can lift up to 1,050 pounds)

Mother Grizzly Bear and Cubs

Grizzly bear cubs standing with mom.

Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) are found in North America's forests and coastal areas. They are renowned for their intimidating size and strength. They might look fluffy, and their babies might resemble cute teddy bears, but if you get too close to one of the cubs, be prepared to deal with an angry momma bear. With powerful limbs and a robust build, they can lift up to 80% of their body weight. With a body weight of up to 600 kg (about 1300 lbs.), they can lift up to 480 kilograms (about 1,050 lbs.). This strength aids them in digging dens, overpowering prey, and lifting huge rocks in search of food. You definitely don’t want to be caught up in their grip, that’s for sure!

Harpy Eagle (can lift up to 30 pounds)

Harpy Eagle holding white rabbit prey

Harpy Eagle ready to eat a white rabbit.

The harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) is known as the most powerful bird of prey in the world. With only the bald eagle as its closest competition, the harpy eagle's prowess is unmatched among other birds and air-borne predators. Measuring 3 to 3.5 feet in length and with a wingspan of 6.5 feet, harpy eagles weigh between 9 to 20 pounds. Their strength is so immense that they can carry prey equal to or even greater than their own weight, up to 30 pounds. This incredible capability allows them to dominate their canopy habitat.

Harpy eagles primarily prey on large tree-dwelling animals such as snakes, monkeys, macaws, and sloths. Their legs are as thick as a human's wrist, and their four-inch talons are comparable in size to claws of a grizzly bear. These physical attributes make it possible for them to snatch their prey with precision and power.

With eyesight eight times better than humans, they are silent predators that glide across the forest like stealth drones. A few more interesting facts about the harpy eagle are its monogamous nature, with bonded pairs staying together for up to 30 years, and its massive nests that are made of over 300 branches. 

Green Anaconda (eat up to 120 pounds)

Green Anaconda resting on grass

Green Anaconda the heaviest snake in the world can eat prey as large as deer.

The green anaconda (Eunectes murinus), the heaviest snake in the world weighing up to 550 pounds, slithers through the swamps and rivers of South America. With powerful muscles running along its entire body, it can constrict and eat prey up to 120 pounds. This remarkable strength enables the anaconda to overpower animals as large as deer and caimans, squeezing them with a force few can withstand.

Small Body – Huge Power 

These examples of relative strength prove that size doesn't always matter when it comes to power. From beetles to ants, some of the smallest creatures exhibit strength that defies their diminutive stature. Their abilities are here to remind us that strength comes in many forms. And they’re pretty inspiring, showing that even the tiniest animals can achieve feats that are nothing short of extraordinary.

Dung Beetle (1,100 times their weight)

Forest dung beetle sits in the forest

The dung beetle can lift 1,100 times their weight.

The dung beetle (Scarabaeidae) is found on every continent except Antarctica. This little bug is a true marvel of strength. These small insects, measuring just a few centimeters in length, have the astonishing ability to lift objects 1,100 times their weight. That's equivalent to a human lifting six double-decker buses! They use this incredible strength to roll dung balls, which can serve as food and nesting grounds for their young.

Rhinoceros Beetle (850 times their weight)

Rhinoceros beetle sits on a leaf

Rhinoceros beetle can power lift 850 times their weight.

The Rhinoceros Beetle (Xyloryctes jamaicensis) - named for its horn-like structure - inhabits the tropical forests of Asia, Africa, and the Americas. This beetle feeds primarily on fruit and plant matter despite its intimidating appearance. Its ability to lift around 850 times its weight is truly remarkable. This strength allows them to move obstacles, dig into the soil, and even fend off much bigger predators.

Leafcutter Ant (50 times their weight) 

leafcutter ant cutting a leaf

Leafcutter ant can lift 50 times their weight.

Leafcutter ants (Atta cephalotes), native to the Americas, are known for their cooperative behavior and impressive strength. These industrious insects cut leaves and carry them back to their nests, where they use them to cultivate fungus for food. According to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, a single leafcutter ant can lift and carry something 50 times its weight.

This is comparable to a human carrying a car over their head! Their collective strength and teamwork enable them to sustain large and complex colonies. That’s the true power of unity in the animal kingdom.

Some of the Strongest Animals by Bite Power

Bite power is a specialized form of strength that serves various purposes. It can be used for things such as hunting and feeding but also for defense and dominance. If you have ever wondered what animal has the strongest bite force, you now know the answer to that question.

These animals we talked about, each with their unique bite, show us the diversity of strength in the animal kingdom. Their powerful jaws are not just tools of survival. They are also awe-inspiring symbols of their adaptability and role in the natural world.

Saltwater Crocodile (3,700 psi)

Saltwater crocodile with open mouth

Saltwater crocodile has a 3700 psi bite force.

The saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is found in the coastal regions of Southeast Asia and Northern Australia. An impressive fact about this crocodile is that it is the largest living reptile. With its massive jaws and sharp teeth, it possesses the strongest bite in the animal kingdom. Can you guess just how strong its bite is? If you guessed correctly, then that’s pretty impressive.

The saltwater crocodile exerts a force of 3,700  pounds per square inch (psi). This incredible bite power allows the them to crush bones, shells, and even metal. As you can imagine, this makes it a fearsome predator in its habitat.

Hippopotamus (1,800 psi)

hippopotamus mouth open in water

Hippopotamus has a bite power of 2,000 psi.

The hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), found in the rivers and lakes of sub-Saharan Africa, is a large and primarily herbivorous mammal. Despite its seemingly gentle nature, they have a bite power of 1,800 psi.

These powerful jaws can snap a canoe in half and are used to fight other hippos, defend territory, and protect young. The hippopotamus's bite is a surprising and often underestimated aspect of its strength. Our tip: Don’t get your hand stuck in a hippopotamus’ mouth!

Jaguar (1,500 psi)

Jaguar in Amazon Forest

Jaguar has a bite force of 1500 pounds per square inch.

The jaguar (Panthera onca) - native to the Americas - is known for its beautiful spotted coat and powerful build. Unlike other big cats, jaguar's bite is uniquely strong, with a force of 1,500 psi. This strength enables the jaguar to pierce through its prey's thick skulls and shells.

These are, for example, animals such as turtles and armadillos. Their bite shows its adaptability and hunting prowess in the diverse ecosystems it inhabits. Very impressive, if you ask us! 

Hyena (1,100 psi)

Hyena powerful jaws

Hyena has a max bite force of 1,100 psi.

The hyena (Crocuta crocuta) is an animal that is native to Africa and Asia. It is known for its distinctive laugh and scavenging behavior. But what sets the hyena apart is its bite power. It exerts a force of 1,100 psi.

This strong bite enables these top predators to crush bones and access the nutritious marrow inside. Like it or not, it plays a vital role in the ecosystem by consuming carcasses and leaving little waste behind.

Strength in All Its Variations

Strength in the animal kingdom is a captivating phenomenon, as you can see. It’s not as easy as comparing each animal with the load it can carry. Instead, we can appreciate and marvel at the variation in different types of strength and features that different animal species have. We’ve now looked at the sheer brute force of the African Bush Elephant and explored the relative strength of the tiny Dung Beetle and the powerful bite of the bone-crushing saltwater crocodile. 

The examples of some of the world’s strongest animals we've explored showcase these creatures' incredible diversity and adaptability. All of them are very impressive, be it lifting enormous weights, carrying objects many times their size, or exerting jaw-dropping bite power. Each animal's strength serves a unique purpose in its survival and role in the ecosystem – fascinating, wouldn’t you agree?

We encourage you to explore and dive deeper into the world of wildlife, learn more about these strong animals, and even venture into other intriguing topics. For example, you might want to check out where our exploration of the fastest land animals led. Feel free to share this article with fellow nature lovers and continue your journey into the marvels of the natural world. Together, we can celebrate, appreciate, and protect the extraordinary animals – big or small - that share our planet.