Hyena Bite Force



Bite force for an animal is essential; not only do they use it to chew and eat their food, but the bite force is usually a way for animals to attack and kill their prey. Hyenas are no different, using their bite to attack and crush other animals.

The spotted hyena possesses a bite force of 1,100 psi, making it stronger than most other hyena species and mammals. Given the size of the hyena, the 1,100 psi of bite force is impressive. The aardwolf has the weakest biting force of any hyena due to its size. However, the striped hyena also possesses a powerful 800 psi bite.

The bites of hyenas are among the strongest in the animal kingdom and far more lethal than you would think. Let’s take a look.

Hyena with mouth wide open

Bite Force Of Different Hyena Species

The different species of hyenas possess diverse bite forces. The spotted hyena, the biggest of the species, has the strongest bite force. 

Spotted Hyena Bite Force

The spotted hyena possesses a bite force of 1,100 psi, making it stronger than most other hyena species and mammals. 

Despite being the largest species, the spotted hyena is only about 3 to 4 feet long and weighs between 89 and 140 pounds. 

The 1,100 psi of bite force is fantastic, given their height and weight. 

Spotted hyenas eating a buck

Striped Hyena Bite Force

The 800 psi bite force of the striped hyena is equally impressive. Weights of striped hyenas can range from 22 to 55 kg, averaging 35 kg. 

Shoulder height is between 2 to 2.6 ft, while body length can vary from 2.8 to 4.3 ft.

Spotted and striped Hyenas may eat a variety of prey, with their powerful bites being among the toughest in their habitat.

Aardwolf Bite Force

The aardwolves are the smallest hyenas, only growing to 21 to 31 inches. They don’t require a strong bite force since they consume insects and larvae. 

Brown Hyena Bite Force

The brown hyena, which can grow to a height of 2.3 to 2.6 feet and weighs 83 to 96 pounds, is the second-largest species of hyena. 

It also has a less powerful bite force because they tend to eat carrion and small animals.

Bite Force Comparison of Hyenas With Other Animals

While hyenas are not massive in size, they still possess one of the strongest bites compared to other land animals. Whether they compare to sea animals is a different story.

Let’s compare hyenas’ bite force with some other known powerful animals. 

While comparing, it is essential to keep in mind the difference in sizes of the varying species of animals. The size of an animal is a significant factor when determining how strong its bite force is.

Domestic Dogs

Dogs are comparable in size to hyenas, but the strongest bite force a dog can generate is 743 psi. This is the strength of the large Kangal breed; other large breeds generate anywhere between 200 and 600 psi, much less than hyenas.

Polar Bears

Polar bears can reach heights of 7 feet and weigh more than 1,000 pounds. Their biting force is approximately 1,200 psi. 

How powerful a hyena’s bite is can be understood by contrasting its size to that of a polar bear.

Polar bear showing its teeth

Bengal Tigers

Bengal tigers are reputed to be ferocious predators that terrorize their prey. Despite being known to be one the most dangerous predators, they have a bite force weaker than that of a spotted hyena.

Bengal tigers can bite with a force of 1,050 psi and have razor-sharp teeth that can grow to almost four inches long.

Strongest Bite Force (Nile And Saltwater Crocodiles)

The strongest bite force produced by an animal (that we’ve been able to measure) is 3,700 psi, and this title belongs to the Nile and Saltwater crocodiles.

Why Hyenas Have Such A Strong Bite Force

While it has been established that hyenas possess a powerful bite, it’s essential to understand the need for their strong bite. 

Hyenas often need to break the bones of their prey while trying to hunt them. The fangs and ferocity of a hyena’s bite are helpful for later chewing flesh and bones while eating. 

They can bite across any creature that dwells in their area because of their robust set of 32–34 teeth.

The strong bite of hyenas enables them to eat the thick raw meat of their prey, which they wouldn’t otherwise be able to achieve. For them being able to eat the prey they have hunted is essential, and this is where the bite comes to use.

Hyenas can access the nutrient-dense marrow within the carcass that is otherwise inaccessible to other animals because of their powerful bite.

How Hyenas Have Such Jaw Strength

Understanding how hyenas have such a strong bite will require us to go into the structure of their teeth and how they produce such force. 

Premolars of hyenas have a conical form and are designed specifically for breaking and crushing bone.

These canine-like predatory creatures ensure that no portion of the flesh is thrown away because of their powerful jaws and broad molars.

The strongest jaw muscles amongst land mammals are seen in hyenas. Their skull anatomy is impressive proof of this. 

The rami of the mandible, the posterior section that articulates with the cranium, has a pronounced fossa (depression) that gives hyenas their mighty jaws.

Final Thoughts On Hyena Bite Force

Hyenas possess a special bite force. This is due to the shape of their jaw and the way their teeth are shaped. 

Hyenas need to have such a strong bite because they need to bite off and break the bones of their prey. 

It’s a marvel how strong hyenas’ bite force is compared to other animals with their size. 

Hyena laughing close up


What Do Hyenas Eat That Requires Such a Strong Bite?

Hyenas are carnivorous mammals that consume the carcasses of animals. Most brown and striped hyenas’ diets consist of deceased animals that more giant predators have eaten. The spotted hyena hunts and feeds on the prey it kills to stay alive. Zebras, wildebeest, impalas, and gazelles are all eaten by hyenas.

Do Hyenas Possess Bone-Crushing Teeth?

The hyena can quickly and easily chew through the bone marrow of its prey. In contrast to their reputation as lethargic scavengers, hyenas can easily break bone with their powerful jaws. Hyenas frequently can be seen chewing (and subsequently digesting) the bones of the prey they consume.

Can Hyenas Bite Through Bone? 

The hyena makes the most of the back of its jaw’s crushing force, which carnassials employ to break its victim’s bones. The carnassials are so powerful that they may completely pulverize the skeleton of a massive prey like Gnus

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