Gorilla Bite Force: How Strong Is a Gorilla Jaw?

The gorilla is pound-for-pound one of the most powerful animals on Earth, and it has incredible physical strength that is necessary for its survival in the jungle. Because vegetation is their standard diet, you may think they don’t need much bite force – but you’d be wrong.

Gorilla bite force has been measured at 1300 psi, the fifth most powerful in the animal kingdom. Their incredibly strong jaws can tear through tree bark and roots, and they are the only non-carnivore in the top ten list of animals with the most powerful bite force.

Let’s take a look at how much force this is relative to a human’s bite force and which animals have the most powerful bite force.

gorilla biting a stick

How much force is the gorilla’s bite of 1300 psi?

1 bar is the equivalent of the atmospheric pressure on Earth at sea level, which equates to 14,89 psi. At 1300 psi, the bite force of a gorilla is 89 times standard atmospheric pressure.

Your average car tire is pressurized to between 32 and 35 psi, so the bite force of a gorilla is roughly 40 times that of your car tire.

To put this into perspective, the adult femur or thigh bone is the strongest bone in your body, and breaking this would require 1700 psi of force.

At 1300 psi, the gorilla may not be able to break it, but it could break the femur of a younger person or teenager in one bite – but as they’re not aggressive animals, this hypothetical scenario is very unlikely to ever happen.

gorilla bite force

Do humans have the same bite force as gorillas?

Humans may think we have powerful jaws but are sadly lacking in this department compared to other species on this planet.

Humans have a bite force of around 160 psi, with a chewing force of about 70 psi. So at 1300 psi, the gorilla has eight times the bite force we have.

The massive difference in required bite force is due to the foods humans eat.

Our food is soft compared to the more robust gorillas’ diet, so we need far less bite force than they do. When biting a tough steak, consider that a gorilla would slice through it as if it were nothing more than a leaf.

gorilla with open mouth

How much bite force do our pets have?

Many of us keep dogs and cats as pets, and even parrots and other birds, but how does their bite force compare to ours and the gorilla?

A domestic dog will have an average bite force of around 230 psi. Typically, the larger the dog, the more bite force they have. Believe it or not, Pitbulls only have a bite force of around 250 psi, while the English Mastiff comes in at more than double that force at 550 psi.

The dog with the highest bite force is the Kangal Shepherd from Turkey, which can deliver 743 psi of force from its massive jaws.

kangal shepherd standing in a meadow

When it comes to cats, they don’t have the jaw size or bite force of dogs, but they can still do damage with those teeth.

Your domestic cat only has a bite force of around 70 psi, but that seems like a lot more when they bite because their teeth are needle-sharp. If you have a parrot, it can exert a bite force between 300 and 400 psi – which is one of the most powerful bites of all our pets.

Compared to the gorilla’s bite force of 1300 psi, this is about five times that of the average dog, almost 20 times that of a cat, and about four times that of a parrot.

Good thing we don’t keep gorillas as pets.

Which animals have the highest bite force?

In the animal kingdom, jaws and teeth play a vital role in their survival, and to be in this top 10, you need some serious chompers. So, let’s look at the animals with the most powerful bite force in the world and why they need it.

Remember that animal bite force is always relative to size, so you may have smaller animals in this list that deliver great bite force.

No. 10: The Lion – 650 psi

Considering the lion’s size and hunting ability, you might have thought that this cat would have more bite force. Compared to the gorilla, it has about half the bite force, but because lions hunt in packs, they don’t need the greater bite force as solitary hunters do.

No. 9: The Bengal Tiger – 975 psi

As one of the biggest cats, the tiger is a solitary hunter that relies on the killer bite to end a hunt and kill prey. 

No. 8: The Hyena – 1100 psi

These canines have a bite force of 1100 Psi. As carnivores and scavengers, hyenas need that bite force to break up bone and flesh from carcasses and kills left by prime predators.

No. 7: The Grizzly Bear – 1160 psi

This fearsome North American predator can deliver around 1160 Psi, enough to crush a human skull or a bowling ball in one bite!

No. 6: The Polar Bear – 1200 psi

With 1200 Psi of bite force, this marine mammal preys on seals and will eat other smaller animals and carcasses.

No. 5: The Gorilla – 1300 psi

It’s phenomenal to consider that gorillas are not prime predators but require this immense bite force for mostly a vegetarian diet.

No. 4: The Jaguar – 1500 psi

Regarding feline bite force, this cat has the most powerful bite of all the big cats, more than double that of the lion.

No. 3: The Hippopotamus – 1800 psi

The hippo is considered one of the most dangerous animals on Earth, and with massive jaws, teeth, and a phenomenal amount of power in their jaws, it’s not hard to see why.

No. 2: The Great White Shark – 4000 psi

This bite force was measured from a 21 ft shark, while most come in between 11-15 feet. A smaller shark would have less bite force, which is why they are at no. 2 on this list.

No. 1: The Crocodile – 3700 psi

nile crocodile with open jaw

Saltwater crocs and the Nile Crocodile have the highest measured bite force based on their average size, and this measurement was taken from a 17ft croc. To escape those jaws, you must be able to bench press a truck.

It was estimated that the T-Rex had a bite force of about 8000 psi, while the highest bite force was from a 400 million-year-old fish called Dunkleosteus Terrelli, which scientists estimated had a bite force of 80 000 psi or 61 times that of a gorilla.

A killer whale is estimated to have a bite force of around 19000 psi, which is more than ten times the gorilla bite force, but this is due to its massive size as an Orca can weigh more than 6 tons and be 30ft long.

Because these are only estimated figures, as no Orca has even been tested, they did not make it into our top ten list.

6 Most Powerful Bites In The Animal Kingdom

Final thoughts on the bite force of a gorilla

It’s impressive to think that the gorilla is the only animal on the top ten list of strongest bite force that is not a carnivore, but when defending their territory or young, they can use that 1300 psi of bite force to inflict proper damage if needed.

Their strong, sharp teeth combined with a considerable bite force have allowed gorillas to thrive by feeding off tough materials like bark and tree roots to make them the strongest ape on the planet.

Who says you can’t get big on a vegan diet?