Amazing Animals That Represent Strength

A cowboy wearing a red shirt, denimmjeans and a light colored cowboy hat riding a light brown bucking bull in a ring at a rodeo. There is a bright yellow fence behind them, against which tow other cowboys are seem leaning. Background of green vegetation and sky.
TFoxFoto/Shutterstock.com

Written by Maxwell Martinson

Published: November 18, 2022

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The animal kingdom is an incredible source of unique behaviors and symbolism, foremost of which is strength, a quality that we aspire to as Homo sapiens.

Strength is certainly one of those virtues. Being strong, however, can have thousands of different meanings, and the animal kingdom is a prime example. Let’s look at some of nature’s strongest animals, and whether their strength comes from brute force or the steadfastness of their resolve.

Following is a compilation of animals who show us what it means to be strong.

Ants

Ants, tiny as they are, can lift incredible amounts of weight relative to the size of their bodies. The shape and arrangement of their joints and legs make them absolutely astounding machines.

Mechanically speaking, ants are one of nature’s greatest masterpieces when it comes to functionality. Research shows that ants can lift up to 5,000 times their body weight!

Translated to a human scale, a person weighing 200 pounds would be able to lift a million pounds! This would be equivalent to hoisting 40 school buses, the world’s largest passenger jet, or 3 blue whales! In terms of the size-to-strength ratio, ants absolutely are incredible strong, miracles of nature.

A red ant walking along a  length of tart white rope while carrying what appears to be a small radish., which is several times larger than the ant against a blur of green .

Research shows that ants can lift up to 5,000 toes their body weight.

Bulls

Bulls have represented strength for thousands of years. This is, in part, because they were one of the first animals that humans domesticated and utilized for their strength.

Bulls can pull incredible amounts of weight, and the domestication of these animals made them exceptionally useful for farming and the transport of heavy loads. The strength of an bull easily outmatches of humans.

Bulls are still used to pull carts and plow fields. They are also used in sports, from the running of the bulls at Pamplona to bull-riding rodeo cowboys. There’s a reason bull riding has been deemed the most dangerous 8 seconds in sports.

Aside from the bull’s utility and sheer force in the sporting arena, it also looks mythically strong. A lean bull’s musculature is often visible, particularly when it’s leaping and bucking.

Bulls are used in sports, from the running of the bulls at Pamplona to bull-riding rodeo cowboys.

Beavers

You probably weren’t expecting to find beavers on this list!

While they’re not the most visibly strong and resilient animals, beavers have a unique strength. Their industrious nature creates some of the most stable and effective structures of the natural world.

Beavers cut down trees with their teeth and use them to build dams. It’s a simple fact of nature, but it’s an incredible thing when you consider that mature beavers are only about the size of the family pooch, weighing between 24-70 pounds.

Beavers feed on the thin layer of bark and wood, but the wood and brush left over are used in the construction of their dams and homes. If it weren’t enough to cut down their own trees and build their own structures, these structures actually restrict the flow of rivers, some of the most powerful forces on earth, carving and shaping even the strongest stone.

Once the beaver dam is constructed, it plugs the river flowage, allowing only small amounts of water to move through at any given time. The backed-up water builds and spreads out into the surrounding land creating a wetland.

Those wetlands nourish countless plants and animals and are an integral to North American ecosystems. Without the beaver, tens of thousands of species would cease to have suitable living environments.

full frame of a beaver, partially submerged in water, munching on some a greenish limb.

Beavers feed on the thin layer of bark and wood.

Elephants

Elephants are the strongest land mammals on the planet. The trunk of an adult Asian elephant can lift nearly 800 pounds alone. The nimble trunk of an elephant utilizes around 100,000 muscles

That isn’t even accounting for the back, legs, and abdominal muscles that allow elephants to pull incredible amounts of weight.

If their sheer size wasn’t enough, they also have denser bones than most mammals, allowing them to put more physical pressure on themselves.

All of these physical descriptions say nothing about the elephant’s mental strength. Elephants famously have great memories, they can understand human pointing, they grieve, they help struggling friends, and they’re incredibly emotional.

These are all signs of intellectual strength, particularly in non-primates. As the land giants of our planet, elephants hold a proportionately large roll in their ecosystems. Each respective type of elephant is keystone species, upon which many life forms depend.

An tusked elephant walking through reddish-brown dirt, with its trunk dragging the ground. The elephant is grey with reddish-brown scents, possibly thanks to the dirt, Its skin is wrinkled. Leafless vegetation makes up the background.

Elephants are the strongest of all land mammals.

Gorillas

Gorillas have arguably the most deadly combination of brute strength and dexterity in the world. They’re capable of defending themselves in almost any situation, and they’re explosively quick.

Gorillas can apply up to 1,300 pounds of pressure with the force of their bite. That bite force is accompanied by the ability of the gorilla to lift roughly 10 times its own body weight.

Weighing between 200 and 500 pounds on average, this means a 500 pound gorilla would be able to lift 5,000 pounds!

Gorillas are the largest and most powerful of the primates, a diverse order mammals, to which humans also belong.

Gorillas have all of the same parts that humans, just in different proportions. Humans and gorillas have been known to have close friendships.

Gorillas are also protective of their families and do a pretty good job of managing their emotions and withholding the full force of their strength unless it’s necessary for defense. The power of having incredible strength but knowing when to use it makes gorillas even more admirable.

A gorilla eating a piece of orange rinded white pulped fruit with its right hand, while carrying / holding/cradling fruit in its left hand.  The gorilla's hand is covering the majority of the fruit it is eating.The top of the gorilla's head is rust colored, the rest of its body dark brown-to-black. Blurry bright green background, with an orange blotch that is probably another fruit.

Gorillas have all of the same parts that humans, just in different proportions!

Grizzly Bears

Grizzly bears aren’t necessarily the largest or strongest members of the bear family, but they’re the most iconic. Kodiac bears are larger brown bears who might have more strength on average, and the polar bear is in a category of its own.

That said, there’s something about grizzly bears that makes them one of the perfect symbols of strength in the natural world. Plus, just because grizzlies aren’t the largest bears doesn’t mean they’re not incredibly strong and powerful.

A grizzly bear is the apex predator in whatever environment it’s found unless there are larger bears present.

A grizzly’s natural strength and confidence in the wild is what draws thousands of visitors to places like Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks where grizzlies roam.

When someone does encounter one of these massive creatures in the wild, their strength and power are immediately apparent. Most of us would much rather see a bear from a distance rather than encounter one on a hike—and for good reason!

A brownish-rust grizzly bear bounding through an expanse of water. The water is unsettled around the bear, whose massive paws are visible above the water line.

Grizzly bears aren’t necessarily the largest or strongest members of the bear family, but they’re the most iconic.

Horses

Horses, much like bulls, exude strength. A horse is a beautiful specimen and one that humans have played a role in domesticating.

Horses have shaped the way that human beings travel, live, and work. Animals with such integral relationships to our own species are typically woven into our ideas of various virtues, and the horse is no different.

The horse is a great symbol of strength, but also a symbol of freedom. The image of a wild horse galloping fiercely through a field, turning in circles, and neighing to the heavens is one that screams freedom.

In terms of strength horses are no slouches. The metric for determining an engine’s output is called horsepower, and a workhorse is the person who preforms much of the labor required of a group task.

The massive neck, sturdy abdomen, and the gargantuan rump are indicative of a creature with which you wouldn’t want to mess around.

A brownish-red horse with a dark brown tail and mane running around a grassy paddock, a white rat fence in the near background., blurry outbuildings are seen beyond the fence.

Horses have shaped the way that human beings travel, live, and work.

Tigers

Tigers are one of the creatures on this planet that strike fear and awe into almost every human being.

A single tiger might have a territory of hundreds of miles, and the introduction of just one other tiger to that space could throw off the balance of the ecosystem, as tigers require a great deal of food. Tigers prey on water buffalo, antelope, and pigs.

Tigers aren’t the largest or strongest animals, but they might be one of the most intimidating. Having the perfect combination of physical strength, intelligence, and ability, makes tigers terrifying.

a orange and black striped tiger tiger, center frame, relaxing  in snow. The tiger, whose head is to the right of the frame is strange at the camera.

A single

tiger

might have a territory of hundreds of miles.

Eagles

Although the bald eagle holds a special place in North American lore, eagles are beloved symbols of strength around the world.

The largest and most powerful eagle in the Americas is the Harpy Eagle. Its name comes from the harpies found in Greek mythology. These were beautiful female creatures who had the bodies of birds with human faces.

The Harpy Eagle certainly deserves its place among the characters of Greek mythology. It is a terrifying example of what nature can do. Eagles, in general, are symbols of strength, and play an important role in maintaining the health and balance of their individual territory.

A harpy eagle perched in a branch. Its talons are bright yellow with black claws,. The underbelly is white, the back a ix of earthy colors, and the tail feathers ar striped, alternating  brown and white.background is out of ficus forest greenery.

Eagles are beloved symbols of strength.

Lions

Lions aren’t the strongest animals on the planet, but they’re extremely capable and typically stand tall as the kings of their habitats.

Their massive size in combination with their lack of fear allows lions to dominate their domain.

Lions assess perceived threats confidently, and will not run away from larger animals. Experts believe this behaviors is a result of the lion‘s intuitive belief that it is actually the most threatening animal around.

This attitude is expressed in the way a lion will lie in the sun, casually resting like royalty. Is it any wonder that a group of lions is called a pride?

full frame of a lion's  golden head / mane. The lion's eyes are closed and it appears to be yawning, its mouth wide open, exposing its pink tongue, and itsupper and lower fangs (teeth) that appear to need a good brushing, as they are the same color as the lion's fur.

Their massive size in combination with their lack of fear allows lions to dominate their domain

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About the Author

Hi! I'm Max and I'm a writer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I've been freelancing for more than five years and love the freedom and variety that this profession offers. Animals are also a big part of my life, and a lot of my time is dedicated to playing with my cat, Herbie.

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