Creatures of all shapes and sizes roam our planet Earth. From the depths of the oceans to the highest peaks of mountaintops, animals display an incredible amount of strength that demonstrates just how fascinating the natural world is.
Whether it’s the astonishing power of a grizzly bear’s jaws, the exceptional speed of a cheetah, or the amazing endurance of a migrating bird, animal strength encompasses a wide range of abilities that have been developed over millions of years.
Animals have evolved various forms of strength that allow them to survive, thrive, and fulfill their ecological roles.
Strength in the animal world can be manifested in a number of ways, including sheer size, muscular prowess, or bite strength. Animals can also demonstrate their strength through other physical displays, predatory skills, or through their offspring-rearing capabilities.
These displays of strength often serve important ecological functions such as establishing dominance, defending territories, or attracting mates. Ultimately, they allow animals to adapt to their environments and interact with others of their kind.
By examining their remarkable feats, we can gain a deeper appreciation of the power other creatures of the animal kingdom possess. Here’s our pick of the top 10 world’s strongest animals.
10. Grizzly Bear
The grizzly bear is a symbol of raw power. Their muscular build and sharp claws make them exceptional predators; however, their diet also usually consists of nuts, berries, fruits, and leaves.
On their hind legs, they can reach heights of over 8 feet and weigh almost a thousand pounds. Incredibly, they have been seen running at speeds of 30 miles an hour.
If you are attacked by a grizzly bear, do not try to scare it off. Lay flat on your stomach with your hands behind your neck. Remain still and play dead. 1
The green anaconda holds the title of the world’s largest snake, with the ability to reach lengths of 30 feet and weigh up to 550 pounds.
As constrictors, anacondas use their bodies to coil around their prey, restricting their breathing and causing their demise.
These massive snakes possess the remarkable capacity to widen their jaws extensively, allowing them to devour their prey in one piece. Large fish, caiman, and even small deer have been found in the stomachs of anacondas. 2
The African Savanna (Bush) elephant is the world’s largest land animal. Full-grown adults stand up to 3 meters high and weigh more than six tons—that’s approximately the size of three or four cars.
Even at birth, elephants are huge. A baby elephant can weigh around 120 kg and usually within an hour of being born, they can walk!
Their trunks contain approximately 150, 000 muscle units. They are gentle enough to pick up small fruits from the ground but also strong enough to snap trees. Elephants use their trunks to suck up water to drink and also use them as a snorkel when travelling underwater.
7. Musk Ox
Musk oxen live in the Arctic where they can grow up to 800 pounds in size. In the wild, adults can survive for between 12 to 20 years.
These resilient animals have inhabited frigid climates for thousands of years and are often recognized by their long multilayered coats.
Musk oxen live in tight knit herds that work together to fend off predators such as wolves and dogs. Equipped with sharp horns and a robust physique, they can charge with an astonishing amount of force and inflict a considerable degree of damage upon anyone who dares to face them. 3
Instantly recognizable by their orange and black stripes, tigers reign as apex predators that hunt prey of all sizes. Surpassing lions in weight, they can reach up to 660 pounds (300 kilograms).
Like human fingerprints, no two tigers have the same markings on their bodies. Despite their distinctiveness, all tigers share a common purpose for their stripes—camouflage. These remarkable patterns aid them in blending seamlessly with their environments.
A tiger’s bite force is six times stronger than a human being’s and powerful enough to kill prey in a single strike. 4
5. Bald Eagle
Since 1782, the bald eagle has been regarded as a sign of strength in the United States where it adorns the country’s Great Seal. These majestic animals reside predominantly in Canada and Alaska, but they are also found in Mexico and almost every state in the U.S.
They are pure carnivores, thriving on a diet that includes turtles, rabbits, squirrels, and other birds. Armed with razor-sharp talons, they are stealthy hunters capable of spotting prey from the sky up to a mile away on the ground.
Surprisingly, eagles can swim. In the water, they move by moving their wings in a rowing motion, akin to the butterfly stroke used by humans. As a result, they are not only masters of the skies; but explorers of aquatic environments as well.
Gorillas are the largest primates in the world. Lowland gorillas can weigh up to 400 pounds while mountain gorillas can reach nearly 500 pounds.
Despite their size, gorillas are largely herbivores, frequently feeding on vegetation such as fruits, tree bark, roots, and shoots. Adult males can consume approximately 40 pounds of plant matter daily.
Gorillas are highly social animals and reside in groups called troops. They have been observed establishing set feeding times throughout the day and, in between meals, they can be found napping or grooming troop members.
3. Leafcutter ant
Leafcutter ants have superpower-level strength. They can carry objects almost 50 times their own weight. To put that into perspective, that is like a human carrying a car over their heads.
These ants live in highly complex societies made up of millions of members. Each ant has a specialized role and is assigned to a particular group of workers.
Some are responsible for protecting the colony, others for building and maintaining their home. There are even ants dedicated to waste removal and ensuring the cleanliness of the colony.
Leafcutter ants have jaws that are used for, you guessed it, cutting leaves. Their mouths can vibrate at a staggering rate of over a thousand times per second, resembling the rapid motion of a saw. 5
Hercules beetles are some of the largest beetles on earth and are named for the large horns located on the front of their heads. It has been documented that a hercules beetle can lift objects up to 850 times their own bodyweight!
All rhinoceros beetles are herbivores that feed on fruit and sap. In their larvae stage, they eat decaying plant matter.
Most are black or gray, and some even have soft hairs on their bodies. Interestingly, they are found on almost every continent on Earth.
1. Taurus Scarab
The taurus scarab is a species of dung beetle in the family Scarabaeidae, which contains over 30,000 species of beetles, often called scarabs, or scarab beetles.
They are not only the strongest insect on the planet, but the strongest animal based on the amount of matter they can move relative to their size. They can pull up to 1,141 times their own body weight. This is the same as an average man lifting two 18-wheeler trucks.
Their name reflects what comprises most of their diet—dung.
Each beetle has a role. They can be a roller, tunneler, or dweller. Rollers will shape the dung into balls and store them away in piles for later. Tunnellers will burrow through the dung piles and form passageways. Lastly, dwellers stay inside the pile and lay eggs! 6 7
That completes our list of the 10 strongest animals on the planet.
The animal kingdom has an extraordinary array of organisms that have displayed mighty feats of strength. From the enormous elephant to the petite rhinoceros beetle, each species showcases unique adaptations that have allowed them to endure through the ages.
The strength of animals is a captivating demonstration of nature’s power and resilience. While physical strength is undeniably impressive, animals can also possess other gauges of strength, including intelligence and speed. Adaptability, survival instincts, and communication tactics also contribute to an animal’s ability to survive.
Examining and studying the strength of animals not only allows us to marvel at wonders of the natural world, but also serves as a reminder that there is still an abundance of knowledge yet to be discovered from the creatures we share this planet with
Fact Sources & References
- How do these big, boxy creatures with flat feet run so fast? | College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences | Washington State University. Accessed January 14, 2021
- Osterloff, Emily. “What is the biggest snake in the world?” National History Museum. Accessed February 11th, 2022.
- Sarah Marie Elder, “Ovibos moschatus muskox“, Animal Diversity Web.
- Guinness World Records. “Largest feline carnivore.” Accessed April 2, 2022.
- Betsy Painter (2016), “5 Fascinating Facts about Leaf Cutter Ants“, U.S Fish & Wildlife Services.
- Homa Khaleeli (2010), “Just how strong is a dung beetle?“, The Guardian.
- Lauren Schenkman (2010), “ScienceShot: World’s Strongest Insect“, Science.org.