Our world is full of many creatures, of all sorts of shapes and sizes. And when it comes to which creatures come out on top, there are many factors at play, like intelligence, speed, and size. For example, humans are top of the food chain, even though there are many animals that are larger, faster, and more ferocious than us.
But in the animal kingdom, a big indicator of power is strength. After all, an animal’s strength determines how well it could beat other animals if it needed to, for survival and asserting dominance and for it’s very survival.
So what are the top 10 strongest land mammals? Well, that depends. Some measure strength by how much an animal can lift or carry, and some measure by strength relative to body weight. For this post, we’ll rank animals by how much weight they can carry, lift, or pull, because that is what would help them win in a fight!
A fun fact: if we were measuring strength compared to body size, the winner would be the dung beetle. This small creature can pull over 1,000 times its own body weight. That’s the equivalent of a human being pulling six double-decker buses full of people!
Another fact to keep in mind when thinking about how strong some of these animals are: the average human really struggles with lifting 100 pounds, only about half their body weight. You’ll quickly see how much stronger some of these animals are.
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10. The Hippopotamus
Number 10 on our list makes it here not for brute strength, but for bite strength, because it is impressive enough to be worth mentioning. Hippos typically weigh between three and four thousand pounds, making them incredibly heavy animals. They are also herbivores, so they mostly use their teeth for chewing grass and plants.
But although they are herbivores, their bites can be deadly. A hippo can bite down with 1,800 pounds of force per square inch, making them one of the strongest biters out there. And for an herbivore, why do they need all that strength? Well, mostly to defend their young and their territory from predators.
Once again, this animal makes it onto the list for impressive bite strength. It is also not a mammal, but it is so powerful that we couldn’t go without mentioning it! Crocodiles have the strongest bite in the animal kingdom, with a whopping maximum of 5,000 pounds of force per square inch.
Crocodiles weigh between one and two thousand pounds, so their size, quick movements, and extreme bite strength make them deadly predators. A crocodile’s bite could easily snap right through bone.
Once again, this is not a mammal, but its surprising strength makes it a worthy mention. A fully grown anaconda typically weighs around 550 pounds. And they are constrictors, so they strangle their food to death.
Anacondas are so strong that they can squeeze anything up to their body weight. That means an anaconda can kill anything up to 550 pounds, making deer, larger reptiles, and even humans easy targets. (But don’t worry. Anacondas don’t eat people, and rarely attack them).
The seventh animal on our list is where we start rating by brute strength. Jaguars weigh a hefty 350 pounds, which makes their incredible agility quite fascinating. But what’s even more fascinating is how much weight they can pull.
At max strength, a Jaguar can drag around 800 pounds of dead weight. That’s more than twice their body weight, and much more than most humans could ever hope to lift.
6. The Grizzly Bear
Everyone knows grizzly bears are ferocious predators, and coming across one can be scarier. And they’re even more impressive when you know that they can lift up to 1,100 pounds.
Since grizzly bears can weigh up to 1,700 pounds, this is only about 0.8 times their body weight. This makes them the only animal on this list whose strength isn’t equal to or greater than their own weight.
Tigers are the strongest felines out there. Although lions may be seen as king of certain things, tigers outmatch them in strength, plus, their strength includes dragging prey up a tree.
A tiger can carry a massive 1,200 pounds, and can even drag that much weight 10 feet up a tree. They do this to keep their food away from other scavengers, so that they can enjoy it in peace. And since most tigers weigh between 400 and 600 pounds, this means they can carry twice their body weight.
4. The Musk Ox
Have you ever heard the saying “as strong as an ox”? Well, there’s a reason for that. A single musk ox can pull nearly 2,000 pounds. This is why many people use them to tow carts or other such things, and they can be helpful with farming.
Most oxen weigh 500 to 900 pounds, so they can pull 1.5 times their own body weight. So although we say “as strong as an ox”, most humans can’t ever match that strength!
Heading towards the top of the list, the animals are getting quite strong. These primates can lift up to 4,400 pounds. That’s the combined weight of 30 human beings.
As most gorillas only weigh 350 pounds, this makes them capable of lifting more than 10 times their own body weight. And for animals that often fight to assert dominance, and need to protect their homes, they certainly put that strength to good use.
2. Draft Horses
Horses usually aren’t on the list of top 10 strongest land mammals, and that’s because their strength varies quite a bit. It depends on the breed of horse as well as the type of weight being carried. However, at maximum strength, draft horses can surpass many other mammals.
Draft horses can only pull about 10% of their body weight in dead weight (they weigh between one and two thousand pounds). However, when wheels are added, they can pull a whopping 8,000 pounds over a short distance!
They aren’t able to pull that kind of weight over long distances, only short ones. But even for short distances, they can usually manage upwards of 200 pounds, making them stronger than most humans.
1. The African Elephant
That’s right. The strongest mammal in the whole world, judged by its brute strength, is one that is incredibly gentle and caring. These massive animals can carry a maximum weight of between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds!
That’s the weight of more than 100 adult human beings. And since elephants also weigh a lot, being somewhere around 10,000 pounds, it is about equal to their body weight.
And that isn’t all they can do. Their powerful trunks alone can lift up to 500 pounds, making them able to move many trees and other heavy objects with ease. Elephants far surpass the strength of any other land mammal.
Well Now You Know
Hopefully, you learned something today that you didn’t know before. Maybe it’s that hippos have a massive bite strength. Perhaps that crocodiles can bite through bone. Maybe that tigers can drag a heavy carcass 10 feet up a tree. Or that elephants are, in fact, the strongest land mammals in the world.
Animals are fascinating creatures, and there is so much to be learned about them, so this is just a start. And next time you think you’re really strong, remember— an elephant can easily carry more than 100 times than you probably can!