Have you ever wondered what the strongest animal on earth is? Whilst some strong animals possess a strength that far surpasses humans, the truth is that different animals have different types of strength.
For example, is an African elephant stronger than a dung beetle? That depends, of course, on how you measure strength. Some animals have pure brute strength, meaning they can lift or drag enormous weights. Some smaller animals have incredible power relative to their size – allowing them to lift many times their body weight. And some members of the animal kingdom have jaws that can perform incredibly strong and powerful bites.
So what is the strongest animal in the world? In this article, we look at the total, relative to size/body weight, and bite strength of all species. We’ve gone one better than the top 10 strongest animals, and list 15 of the very strongest creatures alive today:
The strongest animals in the world by pure strength
African Bush Elephant
What’s the most powerful animal in the world? African bush elephants are the world’s largest land animals, and the strongest mammals, able to carry up to 9,000 kg – the weight of 130 humans!
It’s not just their size (up to 4.5 meters tall and 12 tons) that makes them the most powerful animal on the planet – their trunks contain 40,000 muscles and tendons, and can carry 300 kg. On top of this strength, African bush elephants are known for their long tusks, growing to over 2 meters and used for digging, defending themselves aggressively from predators, and fighting between males.
Gorillas are the largest apes (not monkeys!) and the strongest primate, known for their impressive strength. These powerful animals weigh up to 200 kg, and can lift almost 2,000 kg – 10 times their body weight.
Compared to human beings, the arms of gorillas are particularly large, long, and strong – with an arm span of up to 2.5 meters. Their lifestyle of climbing and knuckle-walking strengthens their arms, and it’s estimated a gorilla is around 15 times stronger than the average human.
Tigers are the largest and strongest species of all big cats. Of the ten sub-species found across Asia, the Siberian tiger is the largest at almost 2.5 meters long and around 300kg.
Tigers are known to be able to carry kills up to twice their own body weight – not only along the ground but many meters up a tree.
Grizzly bears are found across Canada and the Northwest United States, often living in close proximity to humans. Grizzlies are a keystone species that are amongst the largest land animals alive today, reaching heights of 2.5 meters when standing on their hind legs, and weights of up to 770 kg.
Their size, and muscular bodies, allow them to lift up to 80% of their body weight. In addition to being the strongest bear, grizzly bears are easily irritated and can be aggressive – particularly if they feel their cubs are threatened.
The eagle is the strongest bird by some way, able to lift and fly with close to four times their own body weight – perfect for their preferred prey of deer, monkeys, foxes, and wildcats. Their power to fly with such heavy prey is achieved by a combination of size, wingspan, and powerful feet with sharp talons.
Eagles fly at heights of up to 4,000 meters and can glide for hours without rest, using their strong vision to spot prey from long distances before tracking and swooping. Learn about the biggest eagles in the world.
Oxen (also known as bullock) are the largest and strongest breed of cattle, and have been domesticated and bred by humans for at least the last 6,000 years to pull carts and ploughs.
They weigh up to 650 kilograms and are able to pull double their own body weight, using their incredible stamina to work for hours on end. It’s for these reasons that oxen are considered a symbol of strength, stability, and determination in many cultures.
There are four sub-species of anacondas in South America, with the largest being the green anaconda, coming in at up to 250 kg and 10 meters long.
Anacondas can constrict, kill, and eat prey up to their own bodyweight, allowing them to take on large prey such as caimans, wild pigs, and even jaguars. They make this list of the world’s strongest animals due to their power of being able to squeeze and crush such large animals – some people believe that an anaconda would win a fight with a gorilla!
The anaconda’s body design allows them to swallow their dead prey in one and digest the entire meal in just a few days, with a metabolism that means they can go for months without eating.
The strongest animals in the world relative to size & body weight
Dung beetles are the world’s strongest insect, and when looking at strength relative to bodyweight they are the pound for pound strongest animal in the world. A male dung beetle is able to lift objects a whopping 1,1,00 times its own weight – the equivalent of a human carrying 80 tons (or six double-decker buses loaded with people!).
Found on every continent except Antarctica, the male dung beetles need their strength to fight other males to compete for a mate, and to maneuver the balls of animal dung they use to either eat or to live in.
Rhinoceros beetles are the largest group of beetles in the world, reaching up to 15 cm long. This size helps the rhinoceros beetle claim the position of the second strongest insect, and the second strongest animal in the world when measuring strength related to body weight.
Rhinoceros beetles can lift around 850 times their own weight, an incredible achievement. If a human had equivalent strength of lifting 850 times their weight they would be able to lift a 65 ton object!
The 2 centimeter long leafcutter ant is the third strongest insect, with the ability to lift and carry something 50 times its own weight in its jaws. Not only this, but they have the stamina to carry these objects over long distances back to their nest. The equivalent would be a human lifting a truck with its teeth and walking a few kilometers with it.
The strongest animals in the world by bite power
The saltwater crocodile is found in salt and brackish waters in parts of Asia, Australia, and India, and has the most powerful bite of any animal. Its top recorded bite strength is 2.6M kg per m², which is estimated to be even more powerful than a Tyrannosaurus Rex!
Know the key differences between a crocodile and an alligator?
The jaguar has the strongest bite of all the cat family. With a bite-force 1.4M kg per m² its bite is twice as strong as a lion’s.
Know the key differences between a jaguar and a leopard?
And that’s your lot for our pick of the world’s strongest animals. What do you think – did any surprise you? Please let us know your thoughts or any experiences you have of seeing any of these strongest animals in the wild in the comments section below!