From huge horses and elephants … to beastly beetles and mighty mites ... here are 15 of the strongest animals in the world
Subscribe for weekly wacky videos and learn interesting facts about the world with awesome top 10 lists and other amazing videos.
So how and why did we make this list? Well, it’s just to show that homo sapiens isn’t necessarily a weakling when it comes to exhibiting some raw power. We mentioned how a gorilla could lift 1,800 pounds (815 kg) of dead weight. Did you know that in 1957 a powerlifter named Paul Anderson back-lifted a weight of 6,270 pounds (2,840 kg)? That would have been more than 17 times his listed weight of 360 pounds (163 kg)! While that is an unofficial record, it is still recognized by Guinness. And most sources consider it to be the greatest weight ever lifted by a human. Maybe you’re stronger than you think.
Weighing up to 14,000 pounds (6,300 kg) and standing 13 feet tall (4 m), African Bush Elephants are the world’s largest and heaviest terrestrial animals. Larger specimens have been known to carry up to 20,000 pounds (9,000 kg). While not as big, Asian elephants have been used throughout history for transporting people and materials through dense jungle terrain. Even today it’s not unusual for elephants working in Sri Lanka to pull up to 8,800 pounds (4 metric tons).
#6 Leafcutter Ants 20x their body weight
These insects can be found from the US and into South America. They’re able to carry up to 20 times their body weight, so that lands them at number five. While their strength is impressive, these animals are even more remarkable for something else. Leafcutter Ants have created the largest and most complex societies in the world after humans. Their underground nests can grow nearly 100 feet across (30 m), cover almost 6,500 square feet (600 sq meters), and hold 8 million individuals.
#5 Horse Power
The Shire horse is a breed of draught (draft) horse that originated in Britain. The largest of them weighed 3,360 pounds (1,524 kg) and stood more than 20 feet tall (6 m). They’re known for their exceptional power used for weight-pulling. In 1924 a pair of Shire horses pulled a starting load at a British exhibition that weighed an estimated 50 metric tons (that’s more than 110,000 pounds)! The same pair of horses later pulled nearly 19 metric tons (42,000 pounds) in slippery footing. Since Shire horses can weigh upwards of 1,090 kg (2,400 pounds) each, those horses would have pulled more than 20 times their individual body weight in the first example. That’s why we didn’t rank these animals higher on the list.
#4 Trap-Jaw Ants
From here on you’ll notice how the smallest critters are the strongest as measured on a proportional basis. Let’s start with Trap-Jaw Ants which can carry up to 50 times their mass. Their common name is a reference to their scary-looking mandibles. After being locked in place, the mandibles can rapidly snap shut, not unlike a spring-loaded trap and can exert a force that’s 300 times the ant’s weight. Experts say their jaws are the fastest moving predatory appendages found in the animal kingdom. On average, they can clamp down at speeds exceeding 140 miles per hour (225 km/h). Their mandibles can also be used to propel them away from threats. Or they can be used as catapults to eject intruders!
#3 Hercules Beetle
They’re named for the mythical demigod because they can lift up to 850 times their body mass. Experts say that would be comparable to a human carrying 65 tons (59,000 kg)! Including the horn, male specimens can measure up to 7 inches (17.5 cm) long. The length makes them the world’s longest extant species of beetle. That’s in addition to being one of the largest flying insects as well. This species of rhinoceros beetle is native to rainforests from Central and South America. While those horns look capable of delivering some nasty damage, they’re mainly used as the males fight each other during mating season.
#2 Horned Dung Beetle
These insects are known for rolling balls of poo that are used for a food source and breeding purposes. As impressive as that is, they’re also known for their great strength. They’re able to roll dung balls that are up to 10 times their weight. And they are known to bury dung that’s 250 heavier times than themselves in a single night. Did you know they can pull more than 1,140 times their body weight? That would be roughly equivalent to an adult human pulling six fully loaded double decker busses along a road! By many accounts, these critters are Earth’s mightiest animals. But the following beast might have something to say about that.