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Top 11 Strongest Mammals in the World (Detailed Guide)

big elephant in the jungle

Top 11 Strongest Mammals in the World (Detailed Guide)

Dozens of animals have greater strength than the strongest man on the planet. While some animals use this power to attack, others use it for protection.

The level of strength is a crucial factor in animals’ everyday survival. This goes for both predators and prey.

While there are many ways to gauge strength, in this article, we’ll discuss the world’s strongest mammals based on raw power (not relative to body size).

The strongest mammal on the land is the African elephant. However, considering the fact that a blue whale’s tongue weighs as much as a fully grown elephant, we can conclude that blue whales are the strongest mammals overall.

Top 11 Strongest Mammals in the World

There are more than 5,400 mammal species on the planet Earth, ranging from 1 inch (Bumblebee bat) to 98 feet (Antarctic Blue Whale) in length. Amongst all these, below are the top eleven most powerful ones:

  • African Elephants
  • Gorillas
  • Rhinos
  • Hippos
  • Musk Ox
  • Kodiak Bears
  • Tigers
  • Grizzly Bears
  • Lions
  • Polar Bears
  • Blue Whales

African Elephants

close up photo of elephant

  • Scientific Name: Loxodonta africana
  • Habitat: Savannas, woodlands, grasslands
  • Diet: Herbivore

Thanks to their enormous size (weighing up to 17,600 pounds), and sheer strength, elephants are considered the strongest land animals.

The most powerful elephant species is the African elephant, also known as the Loxodonta Africana. This incredibly powerful species has a 13 ft shoulder height and can carry up about 2,000 pounds, or the weight of 15 humans!

The adult African elephant has 40,000 muscles and tendons in their trunks, which allows them to lift weights of 700 pounds.

What’s also incredible about it is that it can easily knock down a tree with its tusks. Besides, these long overgrown teeth are also used for digging, lifting objects, and gathering food.

Interestingly, despite their colossal size, elephants are not predators. They are herbivores and only consume grass, leaves, and woody parts of shrubs and trees. 

Elephants can eat about 330 pounds of food a day (the weight of two average adult persons).


big black gorilla

  • Scientific Name: Gorilla
  • Habitat: Tropical forests
  • Diet: Herbivore

Gorillas are amongst the strongest apes in the world and, at the same time, some of the most powerful mammals.

Males can weigh up to 500 pounds, and they can lift 4,400 pounds, demonstrating their amazing strength.

The Western lowland gorilla, in particular, is an incredibly physically strong subspecies with a bite force of 1,300 PSI (twice as powerful as lion jaws). A lot of the gorilla’s powerful bite is attributed to having a large bone crest at the top and back of the skull.

Being plant eaters, gorillas dwell in tropical forests of equatorial Africa. Since they are herbivorous, they don’t hunt other animals.

In fact, gorillas rarely engage in physical conflict, but when they do, they usually attack the opponent with their arms and canines. There are times when a fight can turn fatal.

Gorillas are actually calm animals that only act violently in order to defend themselves. However, thanks to their imposing size and powerful physique, not many creatures would even dare to challenge them.


brown rhino on brown field

  • Scientific Name: Rhinocerotidae
  • Habitat: Savannas and grasslands
  • Diet: Herbivore

The rhino is a powerful beast of nature that weighs up to 7,900 pounds and may reach maximum speeds of up to 34 mph. As such, it can strike enemies with an impressive 8,300 pounds of force.

For the sake of comparison, it takes around 1,700 PSI of pressure to break the femur bone, which is the strongest bone in the human body. You do not want to feel the rhino strength on your skin!

Additionally, rhinos can bite with a force of roughly 1,000 PSI, which is six times stronger than the human bite (about 162 PSI).

You might wonder how rhinos can have such powerful jaw force when they are herbivorous. The answer is that they chew on twigs, shrubs, and roots, for eight hours a day.

Besides their mighty jaws, rhinos use horns for fighting their opponents, powerful enough to cripple almost any living organism.   

However, their horns are fairly breakable, especially when compared to the tusks and horns of some other animals. In fact, a rhino horn has a relatively low fracture toughness compared to other tusked animals.


hippo with mouth wide open

  • Scientific Name: Hippopotamus amphibius
  • Habitat: Lakes and rivers
  • Diet: Herbivore

Weighing up to 10,000 pounds, the hippopotamus is one of the strongest mammals on Earth. In addition to their power, they are also dangerous. To humans, hippos rank as the deadliest mammals.

These beasts are responsible for about 500 human deaths yearly, no other animal kills as many people. (source)

Hippos are extremely unpredictable animals, and when you combine that with their enormous weight, high speed, the bite force of 1,800 PSI, and aggressive behavior, you get the most dangerous mammal.

However, despite being the leading killer of people among all mammals, hippos do not feed on human flesh as they are primarily herbivores.

The most exciting feature that characterizes the force of the hippo is its vast mouth, which has a width of 2 feet, fitting 36 teeth. The canines and incisor teeth are present in both regions of this enormous mammal’s jaws, which may expand to 150 degrees.

Unfortunately, because they have ivory teeth, hippos have long been the victims of hunting and poaching, making their population vulnerable.

Musk Ox

black musk ox in the snow

  • Scientific Name: Ovibos moschatus
  • Habitat: The Arctic
  • Diet: Herbivore

The musk ox is amongst the strongest and largest cattle species out there. Humans have been breeding and domesticating them for about 6,000 years now.

This working animal was used for many years to pull plows and carts, as it weighs up to 900 pounds and has incredible stamina.

It can work for hours, and for this reason, it’s regarded as the symbol of stability, determination, and strength.

Musk oxen are equipped with two thick layers of fur that allow them to survive in some of the harshest environments, with temperatures of –40 degrees.

This bulky mammal is said to be able to carry 1,984 pounds, which is 1.5 times its own body weight. In addition, the musk ox has such strong hooves that it can break through the Arctic solid ice to get to the water. 

When in captivity, musk oxen must be kept surrounded by bars made from hefty metals because nothing else can hold up such a powerful beast.

Kodiak Bears

Kodiak bear near the body of water

  • Scientific Name: Ursus arctos middendorffi
  • Habitat: Islands of the Kodiak Archipelago
  • Diet: Omnivore

Being one of the largest bear species, Kodiak bears are humongous. The large male is over 10 feet tall when on two legs, whereas on four legs, it’s 5 feet.

Male Kodiak bears can weigh 1,500 pounds, while the females are 20% smaller and 30% lighter.

Its sharp and long claws can be about 5 inches in diameter. Having enormous strength, powerful canines, and huge paws, these animals don’t have a problem holding their ground in a fistfight against any creature on the planet.

Like most other bears in nature, the Kodiak bear is an omnivore, which means it eats plants and berry roots, but also fish and deer. 

The jaw strength of the Kodiak bear is measured at 930 PSI, which not many animals can match.

Luckily these mighty mammals do not utilize their strength toward humans. In the last 75 years, only one person has died from a Kodiak bear attack.


strong tiger drinking water

  • Scientific Name: Panther tigris
  • Habitat: Mangrove swamps, grasslands, savannas, jungle rainforests
  • Diet: Carnivore

As the most powerful cats in the world, tigers rightfully earned their spot in the list of strongest mammals. These felines are responsible for more than 300,000 human deaths in the last 200 years!

This mammal has the sharpest and longest canine teeth (4 inches) in the cat family, used to cut through flesh and bones. In addition, the tiger’s bite force can reach 1,050 PSI, almost twice as much as the lion’s. 

The striking force of the tiger matters just as much as its bite force, so the animal can bring down its prey in various manners. 

When it comes to size, the tiger is 10 feet long, from the tip of its nose to the end of its tail, weighing almost 700 pounds. 

Being ambush predators, tigers rely on strength and patience when taking down their prey. They hunt mainly during the night, utilizing their night vision and stealthiness.

Grizzly Bears

grizzly bear walking in the shallow water

  • Scientific Name: Ursus arctos horribilis
  • Habitat: Forests, prairies, woodlands
  • Diet: Omnivore

Grizzly bears are one of the most terrifying creatures you might encounter in the wilderness.

These dangerous animals possess immense physical strength in combination with a bite force of 1,160 PSI, which puts them alongside some of the strongest mammals on the planet.

It has a length of 5.5 feet with an average shoulder height of 3 feet. When standing on its two feet, the grizzly is about 8 feet tall.

The grizzly bear is not only large but also very heavy. The male weighs up to 1,700 pounds, whereas the female can reach a weight of up to 800 pounds.

On average, this powerful mammal has a paw swipe force of about 783 pounds, which is 2-5 times stronger than the punch force of an average human. The punching force of the grizzly bear is strongly related to its size. 

Also, grizzlies have 4-inch razor-sharp claws that can cut through the skin like a hot knife through butter.

Despite their heavy weight and bulky bodies, grizzly bears are the second fastest bear species, capable of reaching speeds of 35 mph. So, if you ever encounter a grizzly (hopefully not), running away is not an option.


big brown adult male lion

  • Scientific Name: Panther leo
  • Habitat: Grasslands, savannahs, open woodlands
  • Diet: Carnivore

A ferocious and keen predator, the lion, is known as the king of the jungle because of its strength and fearlessness. Being the second-largest cat and one of the most powerful predators, this list wouldn’t be absolute without the lion.

Without natural predators, these felines control the environment and the other animals’ lives in their environment.

What also aids their apex predator status is the fact that they are the only social cats. Living in groups, lions don’t only hunt together, but they also fight by each other’s side.

The lion bite force is measured at ‘only’ 650 PSI, comparable to an English mastiff bite. However, the jaws are not the only means of strength for these big cats.

Lions have a paw swipe that delivers a 400 pounds force, meaning they can cripple or kill a human with a single well-placed strike at the neck or head. 

Besides, their roar is 114 decibels loud, so anyone can hear it from 5 miles away. If you’ve heard it, you know how scary it sounds!

Polar Bears

Polar bear walking on the ground coverd in snow

  • Scientific Name: Ursus maritimus
  • Habitat: The Arctic
  • Diet: Carnivore

Another massive and scary bear species, kings of the Arctic, are the largest carnivores known for their exceptional hunting abilities.

Polar bear strength is off the chart that very few animals can match. In fact, polar bears are considered one of the strongest land animals that ever walked the earth.

These deadly creatures have a bite force of 1,200 PSI, more powerful than any other bear species.

The average weight of polar bears is 660-1,700 pounds, but there are huge individuals that can weigh up to 2,200 pounds.

The toed feet of polar bears are equipped with huge paws that can reach 12 inches in diameter. With such huge paws, these powerful mammals can apply a swipe force of more than 1,800 pounds.

Besides deadly weapons, polar bear paws are specially adapted for swimming, reaching speeds of 6 mph.

What’s also surprising about it is that it can run very fast on the icy ground too. When chasing prey, a polar bear can reach speeds of 25 mph (2 miles slower than the fastest man on the planet).

Blue Whales

big blue whale swimming near the water surface

  • Scientific Name: Balaenoptera musculus
  • Habitat: All oceans except the Arctic
  • Diet: Carnivore

Last but not least, blue whales are the largest living mammals (and animals) in the world.

They can reach up to 98 feet in length, which is approximately like the Boeing 737 500 jet aircraft. Their weight is also impressive, as they can reach over 300 000 pounds. That is almost like 20 of the largest elephants.

It takes unbelievable force to swim 20 mph when you weigh 15 tons. It is believed that blue whales are capable of generating 600 horsepower, which is equivalent to top-tier sports cars, such as the Dodge Viper.

Related: Are Blue Whales Dangerous?

There will never be a whale powerlifting competition, so we can’t precisely gauge how much actual weight they can lift (or push), and even marine biologists are unsure of their true strength.

But thanks to their unmatched size, blue whales are considered the strongest aquatic mammal and the strongest animal overall.

FAQs on World’s Strongest Mammals

In this section, we’ll address some extra queries that you might find interesting.

What Mammal Has the Strongest Bite?

With a bite force of 1,800 PSI, the hippopotamus has the strongest jaws of any mammal. They can split practically any living thing in the world in half with their strong jaws and teeth.

What’s also incredible about the hippo is that it can open its mouth wider than its head. 

The teeth of hippos are distributed just like the teeth of humans. However, their canines are much longer (up to 20 inches) and used for combat or when trying to scare enemies off.

What is the Strongest Mammal Pound for Pound?

It is estimated that gorillas can lift up 8-10 times their body weight, which makes gorillas the strongest mammal pound for pound. Relative to their body weight, no other mammal can lift as much.

Considering that different animals have different body mechanics, the question can be interpreted in different ways, so keep in mind that the answer is speculative.


With this, we conclude our article on the strongest mammals in the world.

While there are many powerful mammals in the world, the crown of being the strongest goes to blue whales. Weighting over 300 000 lbs and 98 feet in length, no animal can match the sheer strength of a blue whale. In the category of land animals, elephants win the title of the strongest mammal.

Thank you for reading. If you liked this article, here’s another similar read: What is the strongest bird?

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