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The African continent is known for its incredible diversity of wildlife, with a range of predators and prey that have evolved over centuries to survive in the wild. If you're curious about the strength of these animals, their bite force is a good place to start.

Understanding their bite force can give us a glimpse into their hunting techniques, survival strategies, and overall physiology. From the brave lions to the stealth leopards, each animal has its unique way of thriving in the wild. 

In this article, we'll delve into the bite force of African animals and explore what makes them such fascinating creatures. We'll give you some insight so that you don't just know the figures, you understand them too.

Strongest Bites Of African Wild Animals

Here is a table to summarize and easily visualize the bite force of the African animals shown below. The bite force of the animals is represented in PSI (pounds per square inch) as the unit of measuring the pressure exerted.

Keep reading to each animal to see how the strong bite helps the animals - whether for feeding, defence or any other purpose.

 Animal  Bite Force (PSI) 
1 Nile Crocodile  3700 - 4000 PSI
2 Hippopotamus  1825 PSI
3 Gorilla 1300 PSI
4 Chimpanzee 1300 PSI
5 Spotted Hyena  1100 PSI
6 African Lion 650 PSI
7 Cheetah 475 PSI
8 African Wild Dog 317 PSI
9 Leopard 300 PSI

1. Nile Crocodile (PSI: 3,700 - 4,000)

crocodile attacking wildebeest

With a PSI (pounds per square inch) of 3,700 - 4,000, the Nile crocodile has the greatest biting power of any African animal. This robust reptile has strong teeth that can easily crush its prey's bones. The Nile crocodile may be found all throughout Africa and is known to attack humans and other wildlife.

2. Hippopotamus (PSI: 1,825)

hippos open mouth

The hippopotamus sports one of the strongest bites in the animal kingdom, with a biting force of 1,825 PSI. The hippo has strong and sharp protruding incisors that can easily tear through the flesh and bones of most animals. 

A hippo can easily kill an adult lion in one single bite. And given their volatile nature, hippos are one of the most dangerous animals in the African savannah.

Here is a full article that explores how dangerous a hippo really is.

3. Gorilla (PSI: 1300)

big gorilla eating

The gorilla has a bite force of 1300 PSI, giving it the strongest bites of all primates. Gorillas are herbivores, but their powerful jaws and teeth are used for crushing and grinding tough plant material such as twigs, barks, bamboo shoots, and leaves - which a gorilla eats for sustenance.

In cases, when gorillas are engaged in a fight for superiority, silverbacks can also use their teeth to seriously injure each other.

4. Chimpanzee (PSI: 1300)


A chimpanzee's biting force is estimated to be roughly 1,300 pounds per square inch (psi). This is around six times stronger than the average human's biting force.

Chimpanzees have relatively large and powerful jaw muscles for their omnivorous diet, which includes hard plant items and occasionally meat. In hostile interactions with other chimpanzees or when pursuing monkeys, chimps can use their strong biting ability.

5. Spotted Hyena (PSI: 1,100)

hyena kill

The spotted hyena has a biting force of 1,100 PSI, enabling it to break bones and consume thick skins. Hyenas can easily crush the strongest bone of a human being - the femur in a single bite. Hyenas are notorious for scavenging, but they are also adept hunters capable of taking down bigger animals such as zebras and wildebeests.

6. African Lion (PSI: 650)

male lion eating zebra

The African lion has a bite force of 650 PSI, which is powerful enough to kill its target with a single bite to the neck. Lions are social animals that hunt in groups of the same pride and are known for their impressive bravery, strength, and agility.

Since lions don't have the strongest bite, their bravery and cooperation in hunting are what raise them to the top of the food chain when compared with other animals on this list. 

Take a look at our full article that looks at the hunting success rate of African animals to get an idea of how a lion uses its advantages, and how it compares with other animals such as cheetahs, leopards or African wilddogs.

7. Cheetah (PSI: 475)

cheetahs eating meat

The cheetah's biting force, which is 475 PSI, is lower than that of other large cats. The cheetah, on the other hand, is the world's fastest land mammal and hunts utilizing its speed and agility. They just need enough biting power to kill a small-medium-sized animal that is already run down.

Related article: What do cheetahs eat in the wild

8. African Wild Dog (PSI: 317)

african wild dog eating

The biting force of the African wild dog is 317 PSI, which may not seem like much when compared to other African predators. Wild dogs, on the other hand, have a distinct hunting technique that entails cooperating in groups to take down huge animals.

African wild dogs have incredible stamina and will generally pursue their prey until it is too exhausted to continue or fight back. At that point, their sharp teeth will readily kill the animal, regardless of how big it is.

9. Leopard (PSI: 300)

leopard with prey

The 300 PSI of the leopard's bite allows it to kill several animals, especially ones that are larger than itself. Leopards are renowned for their agility and strength when they hunt alone.

A leopard is capable of carrying prey bigger than itself up a tree because it has very strong neck muscles. These are also helpful in hunting such that when it has ambushed the prey, there is no chance of escaping.

Final Thoughts

The African wild is the real-life story of survival for the fittest. Some animals need the strong biting power as a way of protection but others need it for protection. While the biting force numbers are truly impressive, that is not all that is required to truly make it in Africa's wild places.

Factors such as speed, intelligence and social cooperation make a big part of the survival strategy of many of these animals - and others. In the end, each animal has its advantages and limitations - and that is how nature maintains the delicate balance of life. 

A prime example of this is comparing us humans with a biteforce of around 160 PSI to a crocodile or a gorilla with 4,000 and 1300 PSI respectively. On biteforce alone, we lose, but our adaptability and advanced social structures make it so that we are 'fitter to survive'.

That being said, it is important to understand that these animals are quite powerful and should you find yourself in their natural habitat, follow the rules for your safety.

Overall, bite force is an impressive and crucial component of an animal's biology, allowing it to hunt and defend itself in its respective habitats.

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