Which animals have the strongest bite?

The Saltwater Crocodile (porous crocodylus) has the highest bite force of any animal alive today. (Image credit: DianaLynne via Getty Images)

tyrannosaurus rex and megalodon are repeat sci-fi stars for a reason: their bites were ferocious. But which extinct and living creatures actually exert the strongest biting force?

Bite force, according to a study published in Borders (opens in a new tab), is the force that the muscles and bones of the upper and lower jaw generate when an animal bites. Animals with strong bite forces usually have no problem overpowering struggling prey. Some predators are even able to pierce their prey with particularly strong armor.

Of all living creatures today, the saltwater crocodile (porous crocodylus) has the strongest known bite force, at 16,460 newtons (newtons measure the magnitude of force), a 2012 study in the journal PLOS One (opens in a new tab) find. For comparison, 1 newton is about a quarter pound of force. Everything in the jaws of a saltwater crocodile is subjected to extreme force during its dying gasps.

Paleobiologist Gregory M. Erickson measures the bite force of an alligator. (Image credit: Photo by: Gregory M. Erickson via Florida State University)

There are two contenders that could challenge – and possibly beat – the fang, but their bite strengths haven’t been measured in a live setting because these animals are aquatic predators. If confirmed, the strongest bite force could be that of the killer whale (Orcinus orc), estimated at 84,516 newtons by the Dutch Shark Society (opens in a new tab)distantly followed by the bite force of a great White shark (Carcharodon carcharias), to about 18,000 newtons, according to computer models used in a 2008 study published in the zoology journal (opens in a new tab).

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