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What is the Strongest Animal?

The African bush elephant can carry 5 tons.
The blue whale is the strongest animal.
The rhinoceros beetle can carry 220 lbs.
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  • Written By: Michael Anissimov
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  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2014
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The term "strongest animal" can be misleading, but most often it refers to how much an animal can lift relative to its own weight. It was thought that the rhinoceros beetle was the world's strongest by this standard, capable of lifting 850 times its own weight. This is comparable to a 150 lb (68 kg) human lifting a 67 ton (about 60.78 metric tons) Abrams tank. Some of the largest rhinoceros beetles weigh 4.23 ounces (120 grams), making them capable of carrying about 220 lbs (100 kg). This means that a strong rhinoceros beetle would be capable of carrying a heavy man.

In 2007, Michael Heethoff and Lars Koerner measured the strength of a tropical mite, Archegozetes longisetosus, finding it has a pull force equal to 1,150 times its own weight, five times more than expected for an organism of its size (1 mm, 100 µg). As this study was the first to measure microarthropod claw forces, there are probably many other mites who might compete for the title of strongest. To put this strength in human terms, this would be like a 150 lb (68 kg) human lifting an 86 ton (78 metric ton) tank, or an elephant with a tower of 1,150 elephants on its back.

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The strongest animal on land in terms of absolute strength is likely the African bush elephant, whose weight can range up to 13 tons (11.79 metric tons), and whose carrying capacity is at least 5 tons (4.53 metric tons). Despite this, African bush elephants are afraid of some tiny insects, like honey bees. When scared or upset, an African bush elephant can run at 25 mph (40 km/h), which gives an idea of its strength.

In general, the strongest animal is the blue whale, weighing above 209 tons (189.6 metric tons), with a length of 100 ft (30 m). It can travel up to 30 mph (50 km/h) in short bursts. The kinetic energy of a whale at such a speed probably outclasses any other animal by an order of magnitude.

Historically, some of the largest dinosaurs (like Brachiosaurus or Supersaurus) were stronger than any living animal.

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orangey03
Post 12

@giddion – Dogs can be surprisingly strong! My friend has a mastiff, which is known to be the strongest dog of all, and let's just say it takes her for walks!

I am fascinated and intimidated by strong animals. There are some reptiles that terrify me because of their extreme strength.

Anacondas are huge, and they can kill mammals that are just as big as they are by choking them to death. I would never swim in a river in countries where they might be found!

Also, saltwater crocodiles are incredibly strong. They kill people and animals by chomping into them with a death grip and rolling them around underwater. They die of either drowning or bleeding to death as their limbs are ripped from their bodies!

giddion
Post 11

I know that he's probably not the strongest animal in the world, but my dog is the strongest animal I've ever known. He's a cross between a pit bull and a German shepherd, and he can pull my weight around!

He is ninety pounds of muscle. The muscular build comes from being a pit, but he is much taller and longer than a typical pit because of his shepherd side.

When playing tug, he can whip my other dogs around in the air. He can pull me across the yard, too. I'm thankful that he is friendly and playful instead of using his strength for evil!

feasting
Post 10

Considering all the huge animals around the world, I was astonished to read that a beetle is actually the strongest thing on the planet. Of course, it's all in how you measure strength.

I am more inclined to go with the explanation of the elephant or the whale being the strongest. I associate strength with size, speed, and power, and they have all these things.

fify
Post 9

Birds are not mentioned here but some eagles are very strong. I think the crowned eagle is the strongest one, carrying about four or five times its weight.

Gorillas definitely reign supreme though, carrying about ten times their own weight. If it's true that as animals get larger, they are able to carry less weight, then the gorilla is more amazing than we realize.

SteamLouis
Post 8

@fBoyle-- It depends on the type of ant. The typical fire ant can carry up to fifty times its own weight which is not the most impressive.

An Asian weaver ant on the other hand can carry one hundred times its weight. There is even a famous picture where one is shown carrying a 500 mg piece of weight. Now that is impressive.

fBoyle
Post 7
I think ants are quite strong too, right?

I often see them carrying food particles much larger than their size. I'm surprised to see that they are able to do so.

anon109305
Post 5

the most you tend to see (in weight lifting records)is guys moving three times their body weight. Maybe 3.5. I've never seen four times. thanks to dipster for the area explanation. i've always wondered why heavier powerlifters lift smaller percentages of body weight.

anon104426
Post 4

To dudla: That's not true. The strongest man (by Strongman standards)was in the 300 pound-plus and pulled a 188.83 ton CC-177 Globemaster III plane about 29 feet. By powerlifting standards, the 360 pound Andy Bolton pulled 945 pounds in a deadlift raw. Me, at 240 pounds and 15, I can pull 500 pounds three times in a deadlift, or roughly 540 one time.

dipster99
Post 3

@techgeek – While it is somewhat counter intuitive, an insect’s small size is actually responsible for its great relative strength. This is because the strength of a muscle is not proportional to its mass or volume, but to its surface area.

You might recall from geometry class the surface area is found by multiplying two dimensions whereas volume (and also mass calculations based on volume x density) are found by multiplying three dimensions. This means that as an animal increases in size, the volume/mass of the animal’s muscles will increase much faster than the surface area of those muscles.

The consequence of this is that small things can lift very impressive weights relative to their size. Although the article mentions that the Rhinoceros beetle’s strength is comparable to a human being able to lift a 67 tank, this beetle would not actually be able to lift this load if it were the size of a human since its muscle surface area would not increase proportionally to its muscle volume/mass.

techgeek1
Post 2

@dudla – it’s hard to imagine how something so small can be so (relatively) strong! You’d never think that an insect would be the "strongest" animal. I wonder what makes them so strong?

dudla
Post 1

The strongest man has been able to lift something like 200 to 260 kg, and that's a 150+ kg guy. So, the strongest men can carry something like double their weight -- not very comparable to others in the animal kingdom!

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