In the battle between the ocean’s apex predators, the orca and the great white shark are at the top of the food chain. However, we won’t include those in our top animals with the strongest bite. There is not enough accurate information to verify the strength of their bite.
So, which animal has the strongest bite?
Bite force: 1,500 psi
Jaguars are the largest big cat in the Americas and are an impressive apex predator. One that is at the top of the food chain, with no natural predators.
Jaguars have the strongest bite of all big cats. Their powerful jaw and mighty teeth will pierce tough crocodile hide and the hard shell of a turtle. Jaguars have large skulls and a short jaw, allowing them to open their mouths wider and grip tighter when shut. They stalk and kill prey three or four times the size of their body weight and will only start eating their victim after dragging the body out of sight.
Unlike many big cats, which bite the throat or neck, jaguars kill by biting the back of a skull.
The term jaguar comes from the word ‘yaguara,’ indigenous to the South American language, Tupi-Guarani. It means to kill with one leap.
Bite force: 1,800 psi
The hippopotamus is the only non-predator on our list of animals with the strongest bite. You might be thinking, why does a hippo need a strong bite force?
The hippo is a much-loved African animal. Primarily herbivores, they eat a considerable amount of grass, up to 35 kg daily. However, hippos will eat flesh and intestinal tissues from carcasses. Why do they need a strong bite force if they are not hunters?
They use their powerful bite to defend against apex predators like Nile crocodiles and lions, and their strong bite helps to attack and defend against other hippos.
They are surprisingly aggressive and are the most dangerous land animals, killing approximately 500 people per year in Africa. As land animals with one of the strongest bite forces, hippos can cause major trauma and amputation.
3. American Alligator
Bite force: 2,980 psi
Once facing extinction and being placed on the endangered species list, the American Alligator’s numbers have recovered to over a million living individuals.
While not as powerful as the crocodiles, American Alligators are still formidable apex predators.
You will find American Alligators lurking in slow-moving freshwater rivers, swamps, and marshes of the southeastern United States.
An American Alligator is an apex predator that enjoys fish, snakes, turtles, and small animals. They are opportunist feeders who attack anything that comes to the water for a drink. Despite their strong bite force and sharp teeth, they are partial to the odd piece of fruit.
2. Saltwater Crocodile
Bite force: 3,700 psi
Saltwater crocodiles, or ‘Salties,’ as the Australians call them, live in northern Australia, Southeast Asia, and east India. Their ideal habitat is coastal wetlands and rivers. That is why more than 100,000 Saltwater crocodiles are attracted to the Northern Territory of Australia.
They are primarily aquatic and spend extended periods in the water, venturing out to sea for days or weeks without eating or drinking. There have been sightings of saltwater crocodiles in the open ocean, however, they will only undertake that journey when the currents favor them.
Like the Nile crocodile, the Saltwater crocodile eats mostly fish but will eat anything, including buffalo and wild boar. With the size and strength of the Saltwater, there is little it cannot tackle. They are patient predators and will remain submerged until ready to pounce.
The Saltwater crocodile is bigger than the Nile crocodile, with some growing to 23 feet (7 meters) and weighing 2,200 lbs. (approximately 1,000 kgs). It is less aggressive than other crocs, but is still known to attack humans occasionally. They are territorial and intolerant of intruders, even of their kind.
1. The Nile Crocodile
Bite force: 5,000 psi
Native to sub-Saharan Africa, the Nile Crocodile not only claims the title of having the strongest bite but also holds ownership of being the most dangerous crocodile. Reaching lengths of up to 20 feet (6 meters), some Nile crocodiles weigh more than 2,000 lbs. (1,000 kgs).
Nile crocodiles live in freshwater habitats like the Nile Basin, rivers, marshes, and swamps. Their diet consists of up to 70% fish. However, they will attack anything that gets in their way, including birds, zebras, wildebeest, hippos, and humans. They have a notorious reputation for being a maneater. Humans and crocodiles often share the same environment. According to Simon Pooley, research into human-crocodile relations suggests why crocodiles attack humans, such as defending territory, protecting their young, or being opportunistic.
A Nile crocodile has the strongest bite because of a second jaw, which magnifies its bite force. They clamp down hard, holding onto prey with greater force distribution.
Their strong jaw and teeth mean an adult Nile crocodile has no other predators, making it one of the top-ranking apex predators in the world.