A lot goes into an impressive bite. Our fascinating list of extreme marine biters consists of hundreds of teeth, thousands of kilograms of power, and unique muscle structures from both fresh and saltwater habitats.
Whether it’s an effective way to catch dinner or merely a means of self-defense, the top 10 marine animals with the most forceful bites all have some pretty cool features that we’re going to highlight today.
Top 10 Marine Animals with the Strongest Bites
To put things into focus for you here, we’d like to point out that the average strength of a human bite is about 162 pounds per square inch (PSI). In no particular order, check out these marine animals with powerful bites that certainly pack a punch.
10. Killer Whale
We’ve left this beautiful beast for last on our list for a couple of reasons. The first is that while there have been estimates, scientific guesses, and captive animal studies, so far, it has been practically impossible to actually measure the biting force of a Killer Whale.
That being said, the second reason we listed it here was to save the (potential) best for last, as estimates show a Killer Whale could have a biting force of 19,000 PSI or more. As far as numbers go, this one is absolutely insane.
It makes sense when you think about it, considering this large dolphin feeds on large prey such as Great Whites, Humpback Whales, and saltwater crocodiles. While any other creature would stay away from these frightening beasts, the Killer Whale takes them on with this incredible force and a set of 50 razor-sharp teeth to boot.
9. Black Piranha
In most cases, you can expect the strength of an animal’s jaw to be proportionate to its size. However, the Black Piranha is undoubtedly an exception to this rule.
Though this nasty fish is only about 20 inches long, it has incredible jaw strength measuring as much as 455 PSI. That force measures far beyond the typical standard in terms of body weight, making this piranha a truly unexpected animal.
Put it into perspective this way: if the alligator were to be shrunk down to the same size, the piranha’s bite force would be almost three times greater than the alligator.
This bite force, along with a set of super-sharp teeth, has made the piranha infamous and feared. It has the strongest bite of all living fish today, comparatively.
8. Humboldt Squid
When you think of a powerful jaw, a squid probably isn’t the first thing to come to mind. Squids are known for their unique makeup that has neither an internal nor an external skeleton. Though it’s highly dangerous and difficult to get close to these creatures, scientists say their powerful beak has a biting force of almost 6,000 PSI.
(You might be interested in reading about the most Dangerous Fish in the Ocean)
As if this squid needs any additional help, it also has eight tentacles that boast several suction cups that capture and immobilize their prey. Their strong mouth muscles then finish the job, leaving other animals with no fighting chance.
How much harm could a big, floppy creature with an old man mustache really cause? Answer: a lot. Though these goofy-looking animals seem cuddly and harmless, they’re actually known for eating more than just shellfish. A walrus will quickly kill and feed on seals, and it can even hold its own against polar bears with its giant tusks.
It’s not just a walrus’s giant tusks that make it a force to be reckoned with, but its powerful jaw. With a strength of 1,850 PSI, seals don’t stand a chance at survival.
So, next time you think of a walrus as just a blob of flubber hanging out and catching fish, remember that it can just as easily fight for its life when a polar bear comes knocking.
We could go on and talk about the differences between crocodiles and alligators, or we could focus on one thing they have in common: powerful and dangerous jaw muscles.
While the alligator’s bite isn’t quite as ferocious as the crocodile we talked about, it’s still strong enough to take down fish, turtles, and even sometimes deer. With a bite of about 2,125 PSI, it’s stronger than a Great White Shark and has also been known to consume local pets that get too close.
Alligators are typically considered aggressive towards humans, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe to be around. Several people in Florida – a popular habitat location for alligators – have been attacked and even killed by alligators.
Though their biting force is mainly used for hunting for live food, an alligator’s bite could easily take off an entire human limb – if not more.
5. Bull Shark
Though the name “Great White Shark” certainly seems to emulate some kind of dominance in the shark world, it actually does not have the strongest bite in the species. The Bull Shark surpasses the Great White in this category, coming in with a bite force of 1,300 PSI as the back of their jaw where it’s the most powerful.
The Bull Shark can easily break through both bones and shells, allowing it to feed on all kinds of marine life – including turtles with their durable outer protection.
Bull Sharks tend to live in freshwater habitats that usually involve murky, unclear water. For that reason, their jaw strength is incredibly important, as it ensures they catch their dinner with one chomp before they lose it.
(You might be interested in reading about the other Most Dangerous Freshwater Fish )
4. Great White Shark
After diving into our first three powerful bites on this list, the Great White might not seem so impressive. First, let’s recall the average human’s bite force: 162 PSI. Let’s also consider how many large, sharp teeth a Great White Shark has: about 50, in multiple rows.
That being said, a Great White Shark’s bite force of 625 PSI compared to a saltwater alligator may not sound impressive, but it’s no joke from a feeble human standpoint.
These sharks simply don’t need to have as massive a biting force as the other animals. For example, a hippo’s biting force may seem extreme for an herbivore, but we have to remember that hippos don’t have sharp teeth. On the other hand, the Great White essentially owns a personal set of high-quality, sharpened razor blades.
So while their biting strength is still terrifying on its own accord, it’s the whole package that makes this marine animal nothing to sneeze at.
3. Alligator Snapping Turtle
Most turtles are small, cute, slow, and mostly harmless; the alligator snapping turtle is not one of those turtles. Smaller than most of the animals on our list today at an average of 26 inches long, these little guys are no joke.
Alligator snapping turtles are different from your average snapping turtle in that they have a bite measuring 1,000 PSI. Remember the giant hippo we talked about earlier? Even though this turtle is far smaller than that mammal, its bite is still half as strong and far exceeds that of a human – or your pet dog, for that matter.
This super-strong jaw could easily snap off a finger or two, so it’s best to stick to the little guys when searching for a new shelled pet.
2. Saltwater Crocodile
Speaking of crocodiles, the saltwater crocodile is a terrifying creature with an unbelievable biting strength of 4,000 pounds per square inch. In fact, this croc has the most substantial bite of any living animal in the world.
While that number alone should be enough for you to want to keep your distance, we’ll take it a step further by letting you know saltwater crocodiles use their intense biting strength to hunt and kill live zebras and antelopes from their hidden spots in the watering hole.
While their biting down strength is more than impressive, it’s worth acknowledging their opening strength is actually frail. Trained experts can easily keep this croc’s mouth shut with just a few layers of duct tape.
Though the hippopotamus, more affectionately referred to as the hippo, is classified as a mammal, it spends much of its life living in the water, making it perfect for our list of marine animals with captivating jaw muscles.
This large animal is often portrayed as cute, cuddly, and round, but its bite says otherwise. A hippo’s jaw is incredibly strong, with a force of 2,000 pounds per square inch. As if that wasn’t enough to strike a little fear, this animal can also open its mouth as full as 180 degrees.
Hippos are herbivores, but their hefty bite comes in handy when they need to defend themselves or their babies against predators like crocodiles.
A Few Other Animals With Strong Jaws Worth Mentioning
The above marine animals have incredible and unbelievable biting strength, but we did want to highlight just a few more than didn’t quite make the top ten but are still ferociously strong.
- Megalodon: 110,000 to 180,000 newtons
- Tiger Shark: 1,330 lbf
- Nile Crocodile: 5,000 lbf
While it’s unlikely that you’ll be running into most of these animals during your everyday activities, it’s best to stay away altogether if you can. These animals mean business, and they can do some serious damage if they get the chance.