The 10 Absolute Strongest Animals on Earth: Pure Force From Land to Sea

Strongest Animals
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Written by Rebecca Bales

Published: June 9, 2024

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In the constant war between predator and prey, size and strength can be decisive factors to help an animal survive the cruel whims of nature. However, there are several ways to measure strength, including lifting strength, bite strength, kick strength, and overall power.

red ant isolated on a white background

When considering strength relative to body size – insects like ants would be the most powerful animals on earth.

©Andrey Pavlov/

How do we define a strong animal? For the purpose of this article, we will be defining strength in absolute terms, not in strength relative to body size (which would make insects some of the most powerful animals on the planet). Note that this article also lists animals in their general groups. A group may be defined as an entire order or just an individual species.

Let’s have a look at some strong animals!

Exerts Most Absolute Force: Whales

A blue whale can generate a maximum force of approximately 60 kilonewtons.

©Danny Sullivan/

Whales can claim the title of the strongest creature on the planet simply due to their enormous size. Although unable to lift, grip, or kick, they do need an enormous amount of force to power their massive bodies through the water.

This movement is facilitated by two large muscle groups near their tail: the epaxial muscles for the upstroke and the hypaxial muscles for the downstroke. The blue whale can generate a maximum force of around 60 kilonewtons (a single kilonewton is enough force to accelerate a 1,000-kilogram (2,200-pound) object at a rate of one meter per second). 

Read more about the powerful, yet graceful blue whale here.

Most Powerful Land Animal: Elephants


An elephant’s trunk is capable of lifting up to 800 pounds.


Elephants are extremely powerful creatures, with size and strength varying among species. The African bush elephant holds the distinction of being the largest land animal on the planet. It has a maximum shoulder height of 12 feet and weighs up to 12,000 pounds. The closely related Asian elephant can weigh around 11,000 pounds.

The trunk is the elephant’s main tactile instrument. It is composed of muscles, nerves, and blood vessels with minimal amounts of fat and bone. The typical Asian elephant has 100,000 muscles and tendons arranged along the length of the trunk. This enables it to lift almost 800 pounds with relative ease — or about the size of a large tree.

The elephant’s trunk has many potential uses, including feeding, touching, cleaning, arranging objects, and communicating with others. It also has the ability to hold approximately two gallons of water at a time.

The elephant’s body is also specially adapted for strength. Whereas most mammals have small bone cavities, elephants have very dense bones that allow them to perform all kinds of impressive acts like standing on their hind legs. This allows some species to carry up to 14,000 pounds!

Learn more about the different species on the elephant encyclopedia page.

Strongest Primate: Gorillas

Mountain Gorilla

A gorilla’s bite can generate approximately 1,300 pounds of pressure per square inch.

©Ondrej Prosicky/

By any metric, the gorilla is one of the strongest animals on the planet. With such muscular and elongated arms, it is at least six times stronger than the average human. Its bite can also generate approximately 1,300 pounds of pressure per square inch.

As the largest primate, a typical male gorilla can weigh anywhere between 200 and 500 pounds. Although largely herbivorous and not very aggressive, its intimidating display can scare off even the most dangerous animals.

Find out more about the intelligent and mighty gorilla.

Most Powerful Biter: Crocodiles

Crocodile on a shore

A crocodile’s powerful jaws exert up to 5,000 pounds of pressure per square inch.

©Naypong Studio/

The crocodile has perhaps the strongest biting force on the planet. With its powerful jaws, the creature can instantly kill almost any prey by exerting up to 5,000 pounds of pressure per square inch (depending on the species).

For comparison’s sake, a human can only bite with around 100 pounds per square inch. The key to the crocodile’s remarkable strength is its enormous jaw muscles. However, this ability does have one weakness: their mouths exhibit very little opening strength. It’s possible to keep the jaws clamped down with a rubber band.

Read more about the sneaky, strong crocodile.

Massively Strong: Bears

Grizzly Bear Roar

An individual grizzly bear has the strength of approximately 5 human adults.

©Scott E Read/

The bear is a familiar but intimidating presence throughout many of the world’s parks and ecosystems. They are swathed in huge muscles and powerful claws that enable them to dig and hunt with incredible expertise.

Among all bear species, both the grizzly bear and polar bear take the crown as the strongest. Weighing more than around 800 pounds — the maximum recorded size is twice that figure — an individual male grizzly is equivalent to around five humans in strength … and even more when enraged.

The key to the grizzly bear’s strength is the large mass of muscles attached directly to its backbone. This gives the bear a rounded, humped appearance. Polar bears are also massively strong, potentially weighing up to 1,600 pounds. They can also chomp down at around 1,200 pounds of pressure per square inch.

Find out more about how strength in bear species varies here.

Forceful Hunter: Tigers

Wild Bengal Tiger lying on the grass and yawns.

A tiger’s bite can exert approximately 1,000 pounds of force per square inch.


The tiger is one of the largest carnivores in the world, eclipsed only by the polar and grizzly bears. The most intimidating species, the Siberian tiger, can potentially weigh up to 800 pounds. As solitary hunters, tigers can swim, leap, and take down prey with amazing force. And unlike many other carnivores, it can easily stand and attack from its hind legs.

Tigers have night vision that is six times better than that of humans, which helps them hunt successfully in the dark. A tiger will mainly hunt pigs and deer but is capable of taking prey larger than itself

These remarkable abilities are enabled by the tiger’s incredibly dense muscular structure. It is estimated that their bite can exert around 1,000 pounds of force per square inch.

Learn more about the beautiful, yet dangerous tiger.

Surprisingly Strong Herbivore: Hippopotamuses

Hippopotamus emerging from water

The average hippopotamus weighs up to 4,000 pounds and has a bite that exerts approximately 1,800 pounds of force per square inch.

©Radek Borovka/

At first glance, the hippopotamus may seem like a placid, lumbering, veggie-munching softy, but when disturbed, it is one of the most dangerous creatures in the animal kingdom. To understand just how dangerous they are, it is necessary to fully appreciate the hippo’s sheer size.

The average hippo can weigh anywhere between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds, and scientists have recorded some individuals with twice that weight. With the ability to open its mouth at a 180-degree angle, the hippopotamus has a bite that exerts around 1,800 pounds of force per square inch. It is a creature that can tussle with even the fiercest predators.

Learn more about the hippopotamus here.

Intense Defensive Strength: Rhinoceros

Rhino looking at camera



can charge up to 40 miles per hour and can be territorial.


The rhinoceros is another fearsome herbivore with a penchant for rather violent displays of self-defense. Although under threat by humans, the white rhino is the world’s largest rhino species at around 13 feet long and weighing 5,000 pounds — sometimes much more.

They can also make a harrowing charge of 30 to 40 mph. Although not particularly aggressive, these strong creatures will defend their territory from threats, and they have been known to rock or tip over entire vehicles. Their intimidating horn is composed of keratin — the same substance as hair, fingernails, and feathers.

Find out more interesting rhinoceros facts here!

Fiercely Strong Feline: Jaguars


A jaguar can drag a carcass equal to its own body size up into trees.

©Pedro Helder Pinheiro/

The jaguar is a powerful cat native to an enormous range throughout Central and South America. Weighing up to 350 pounds at its maximum, the jaguar is not the largest cat, but with a powerful bite force of approximately 1,500 pounds per square inch, it only needs one quick strike to subdue its prey.

The jaguar can open its mouth wide and pierce the skull or armored shell with its enormous teeth. It also has the strength to drag a huge carcass about equal to its own body size up into the trees. Jaguars will feed on almost anything, including deer, capybaras, boars, primates, and ungulates.

Read more about the hunting skills of the jaguar.

Unexpectedly Powerful Beast: Bovines

When threatened, buffalos have been known to tip over large vehicles or charge at other animals or people.

©THP Creative/

Bovines are defined as a group of ungulates that includes bison, buffalo, yaks, and cattle. Due to their immense strength, bovines were domesticated by humans thousands of years ago for the purpose of towing carts, plows, and other materials.

As one of the largest bovines, the African buffalo is an immense beast that can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. When they feel threatened, buffaloes have been known to tip over large vehicles or charge at animals or people. With their powerful muscles, intimidating horns, and defensive posture, more people die of bovine attacks every year than almost any other animal.

Read more about the mighty buffalo here

Most Powerful Bird: Harpy Eagle

Harpy Eagle of Panama


Harpy Eagle

is the most powerful bird of prey in the world.


If you were wondering who the king of the air is, look no further than the harpy eagle. Experts have found that this fierce bird of prey is the strongest, pound for pound, in the world. The force of grip of its talons is incredible, able to crush the bones of its prey, which are typically monkeys, sloths, and opossums.

The harpy eagle typically weighs in at 13 pounds, has a wingspan of 5.7 feet, and can fly up to 50mph. They’re found in rainforests in South America, but spotting one in the wild is rare.

Bonus: More Strong Animals

green anaconda

Anacondas have a squeezing force measuring at 90 PSI.

©Patrick K. Campbell/

Here are the bonus animals that are strong but didn’t make the list:

Anacondas have intense squeezing force, measuring at 90 PSI, surpassing pythons in the pressure they apply to their adversaries. They are highly capable of overpowering large mammals and fish.

Great white sharks are renowned for their remarkable bite force, signifying the immense pressure they can generate with their jaws. The estimated bite force of a great white shark stands at approximately 1.8 tonnes, making it the highest among all predatory fish.

The Hercules beetle is named after its remarkable strength akin to that of the mythological figure Hercules. These beetles, in their adult stage, possess the astonishing ability to hoist objects weighing 850 times their own mass, a feat analogous to a human lifting twenty mid-sized cars!

Summary Of The 10 Absolute Strongest Animals On Earth

Of all of the animals in the world, these are the strongest in the world!

Here’s a recap of the most powerful animals in the world and where their strength lies:

1WhaleExerts most powerful force
2ElephantMost powerful land animal
3GorillaStrongest primate
4CrocodileMost powerful biter
5BearMassively strong
6TigerForceful hunter
7HippopotamusStrongest herbivore
8RhinocerosIntense defensive strength
9JaguarFiercely strong feline
10BovineUnexpected power

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About the Author

Rebecca is an experienced Professional Freelancer with nearly a decade of expertise in writing SEO Content, Digital Illustrations, and Graphic Design. When not engrossed in her creative endeavors, Rebecca dedicates her time to cycling and filming her nature adventures. When not focused on her passion for creating and crafting optimized materials, she harbors a deep fascination and love for cats, jumping spiders, and pet rats.

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