What Animal Has The Strongest Bite In The World?

Most animals are not made to be kissed. Nevertheless, humans seem to find the urge irresistible, and often pay the price. Parrots, turtles, monkeys, and more have all found their way to America's Funniest Home Video stardom with a fleshy human bite as a ticket to ride. But which animal has the strongest bite of all?  

According to National Geographic, the honor goes to the saltwater crocodile, boasting the greatest bite force ever directly measured of any living creature, perhaps even rivaling that of the T-Rex.

Crocodiles have a ridiculously strong bite

The results came from a study of all 23 living crocodile species by paleobiologist Gregory M. Erickson and colleagues, finding that saltwater crocs clap their trap with 3,700 pounds per square inch (psi), equivalent to 16,640 newtons of biting prowess. For comparison, humans chomp with about 150 to 200 psi, or 890 newtons, while lions and tigers average around 1000 psi, or 4,450 newtons. To measure the crocodile bites, researchers used a force transducer, described as a "very expensive, very durable, waterproof bathroom scale that's padded with leather." 

Apparently, the force of a crocodile's bite scales with size. The team tested crocs around 17 feet in length, but the species is known to reach sizes of 20 feet or more, translating to an estimated bite force of 7,700 psi, almost twice the power of recorded croc measurements. 

Erickson credits the biting power of crocodiles for their evolutionary success. "That's why I think they've been so successful," he said. "They seized on a remarkable design for producing bite force and pressure to occupy ecological niches on the water's edge for 85 million years, and no one else evolved that could wrest those niches from them."

A great white shark's bite might be even stronger

There may be a rival for the record, though. According to the BBC, great white sharks have been estimated to have a bite force of 4000 psi, placing them firmly above crocs, but the results have only been simulated. Apparently no one's mustered the courage or stupidity to attempt to jam a pressure sensing bathroom scale into a great white's mouth ... yet.

Long story short – don't kiss a crocodile. Or a shark.