Meet the top 10 predators with the scientifically proven most crushing jaw pressures.
As you read this article, keep in mind that the average human bite strength is 162 pounds per square inch (psi).
Number 10 - Bengal Tiger (1050 psi)
There were eight tiger subspecies at one time, but three became extinct during the 20th century. Over the last 100 years, hunting and forest destruction have reduced tiger populations from hundreds of thousands of animals to perhaps fewer than 2,500.
Number 9 - Spotted Hyena (1100 psi)
Reputation: Hyenas only eat dead things, sometimes lions, sometimes even humans.
Reality: Working in the Ngorogoro Crater in Tanzania back in the 1970s, zoologist Hans Kruuk found that the lions scavenged spotted hyena kills more often than the other way round.
Number 8 - the Polar Bear (1235 psi)
For bears, height is usually measured at the shoulder when the animal is on all fours, according to Polar Bear International. On average, polar bears on all fours are 1 - 1.5m (3.5 - 5ft) tall, but when standing on its hind legs, an adult male polar bear may reach more than 3m (10ft).
To keep them warm, polar bears have black skin over a thick layer of fat that can measure up to 11.4cm (4.5in).
Their fur isn’t actually white—it just looks that way. Each hair shaft is pigment-free and transparent with a hollow core that scatters and reflects visible light.
Their claws are thick, curved and sharp, each measures more than 5cm (1.97in) long.
Check out the video of BBC Earth's, 'When a wild polar bear tried to break in'
Number 7 - the Bull Shark (1250 psi)
This animal has a bite with the greatest force among sharks, pound-for-pound, greater even than great whites or hammerheads, biologists report.
Number 6 - the Grizzly Bear (1250 psi)
Grizzly bears are powerful, top-of-the-food-chain predators, yet much of their diet consists of nuts, berries, fruit, leaves, and roots. Bears also eat other animals, from rodents to moose. Despite their impressive size, grizzlies are quite fast and have been clocked at 30 miles an hour.
Number 5 - the Gorilla's bite has been recorded to reach the strength of 1,300 psi
This is stronger than that of a great white shark (669 psi) or a lion (691 psi). This is largely thanks to their diet, consisting of hard plants like bamboo, which has allowed the jaw to adapt to chewing with greater force.
Number 4 - the Hippopotamus (1820 psi)
Hippo's huge mouths consist of lips that are 2 feet wide and teeth that can bite a 10 foot crocodile in half. Hippos can open their mouths to a massive 150 degrees or 4 feet wide which show their large tusk-like canines and razor-sharp incisors, capable of biting a small boat in half.
Number 3 - the American Alligator (2125 psi)
The American alligator is a rare success story of an endangered animal not only saved from extinction but now thriving. State and federal protections, habitat preservation efforts, and reduced demand for alligator products have improved the species' wild population to more than one million and growing today. (National Geographic)
Number 2 - the Nile Crocodile has a recorded bite of 5,000 psi
The Nile crocodile has a somewhat deserved reputation as a vicious man-eater.
The proximity of much of its habitat to people means run-ins are frequent. And its virtually indiscriminate diet means a villager washing clothes by a riverbank might look just as tasty as a migrating wildebeest. Firm numbers are sketchy, but estimates are that up to 200 people may die each year in the jaws of a Nile croc. (National Geographic)
Number 1 - the Saltwater Crocodile has a 7,700 psi bite
Earth’s largest living crocodilian—and, some say, the animal most likely to eat a human—is the saltwater or estuarine crocodile. Average-size males reach 17 feet and 1,000 pounds, but specimens 23 feet long and weighing 2,200 pounds are not uncommon. (National Geographic)
But what about the strongest bite ever?
This belonged to a marine dinosaur that was discovered between mainland Norway and the North Pole back in 2009.
Which dinosaur had the strongest bite force?
BBC Earth excerpt - March 2009
A giant fossil sea monster found in the Arctic had a bite that would have been able to crush a 4x4 car, according to its discoverers.
Researchers say the marine reptile, which measured an impressive 15m (50ft) long, had a bite force of about 16 tonnes (35,000lbs).
The creature's partial skull was dug up last summer in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard by a Norwegian-led team.
Dubbed "Predator X", it patrolled the oceans some 147 million years ago..
Its jaws may have been more powerful than those of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, though estimates of the dinosaur's bite vary substantially.
It is thought to belong to a new species of pliosaur - a group of large, short-necked reptiles that lived at the time of the dinosaurs. BBC Earth
Which mammal has the strongest bite?
Saltwater crocodile (7,700 psi - 3.5 tonnes)
Which dinosaur had the strongest bite force?
Pliosaur (33,000 - 35,000 psi - 16,000 tonnes)
Which shark has the strongest bite?
Bull sharks (1250 psi - 560kgs)
What is the world's deadliest animal? (BBC News)
- Hippopotamus is the world's deadliest large land mammal responsible for 500 deaths a year.
- Worldwide, crocodiles are estimated to kill about 1000 humans a year many more than sharks.
- An estimated 10,000 die from the disease African trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness. carried by the tsetse fly in Africa.
- Rabid dogs are responsible for the deaths of an estimated 25,000 people per year. There are estimated 4.5 million dog bites in the US every year alone, only about 30 people die on average.
- An estimated 50,000 people are killed every year by snakes.
- About 725,000 people are killed every year by mosquito-borne diseases.
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