Do you know which animal has the strongest bite? When we bring our teeth and jaws together to chew our food, the force that is exerted is called “bite force.” A human’s bite force depends on several different factors, including: how well their teeth are aligned, age and gender. Our jaws have evolved to be quite efficient -- in fact, if our skulls were scaled to the same size, human jaws would actually be more efficient and powerful than primates! The average human bite force is between 120-160 PSI (pounds per square inch).
However, this pales in comparison to many wild animals, many of which use their teeth not only to chew, but also to grip and tear. It should be noted that it is difficult to measure the precise bite force of wild animals, since collecting “hard data of an animal’s bite strength can obviously be quite dangerous. However, researchers use a variety of methods like direct measurement and computer simulation to come to close estimations of animals’ bite forces. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable and dangerous bites in today’s animal kingdom!
Domesticated Dogs come in a huge range of sizes and shapes, but since we’ve all been warned to be careful of a dog’s bite, it seems wise to include them on this list! As any veterinarian will tell you, any dog bite can be dangerous due to their sharp teeth and the potential of bite wound infection. Always treat dogs (and their teeth) with the respect and care they deserve! A domesticated dog’s bite force can range from under 75 PSI (think small and teacup breeds) to over 700 PSI.
#FunFact: Wolves (which all domesticated dogs were descended from) have an average bite force of 406 PSI. However, some researchers have noted that at maximum attack mode, a wolf’s bite force can be over 1000 PSI.
Spotted Hyenas have a fearsome bite force of 1100 PSI.
Polar Bears have the strongest bite force of all bears, with a bite force of 1200 PSI. The Grizzly Bear comes in a close second with a bite force of about 1160 PSI.
Gorillas are mainly plant-eaters - the only non-carnivore on this list! - yet have an incredibly strong bite force of 1300 PSI. They use their powerful jaws to chew and tear through bark and roots, and their large teeth are also used to display force and aggression.
Bull Sharks have an estimated max bite force of 1300 PSI, and the strongest bite force of all sharks. Contrary to popular belief, the Great White Shark’s jaws are not the strongest among the shark world -- in fact, the Great White’s bite force comes out to an estimated 625 PSI.
Jaguars have the strongest bite force of all big cats at 1500 PSI.
#FunFact: Unlike jaguars, their relatives the Domesticated House Cat have a comparatively weak bite force of only about 70 PSI. However, as any cat owner, groomer or vet will tell you, a kitty’s needle-sharp teeth, deep puncture wounds, and unpredictable nature make their bites quite dangerous nevertheless!
The Hippopotamus has the strongest bite of all land animals at about 1820 PSI.
American Alligators have a bite force of about 2125 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)!
#FunFacts: Crocodiles roamed the earth along with the dinosaurs, and have remained virtually biologically unchanged for more than 150 million years. Their efficient hunting techniques and incredibly strong teeth, jaws and bite force have no doubt allowed them to survive and thrive on earth for millions of years!
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