Top 10 Strongest Animals in the Ocean
10. Killer Whales
Killer whales, also known as orcas, will prey on almost any animal they find either in the sea or even in the air over the water. Killer whales are the largest species of the dolphin family, and they can weigh up to six tons and grow to almost 32 feet long. Their size makes them the largest warm-blooded animal predator currently in existence. Killer whales have unique teeth which can grow up to four inches long. Killer whales can live in many sea environments including oceans, seas and coastal areas. They travel long distances, and they can live almost anywhere, from near the equator to the most chilly northern waters. These beautiful creatures also live in groups called pods. The pods have a social hierarchy, but despite this, the killer whales also form bonds between one another. Killer whales are considered to be at the top of their food chain because they have no predators except for humans. A killer whale’s teeth are very large, they are a unique shape and their teeth often number between 40-56 in total. A killer whale does not chew its food. Instead, because of the unique makeup of the teeth, an orca uses its teeth to tear it into small pieces before swallowing.
Despite their name, killer whales do not attack humans. Killer whales will eat seals, porpoises, sea lions and even small whales and sharks. In one instance, a killer whale was caught holding a shark upside-down and forcing it to suffocate. Because they are top predators, killer whales may have long life spans. Provided they survive the first six months of their life, a female may live 46 to 50 years and a male may live up to 38 years old.
9. Great White Sharks
Great White Sharks are one of the most famous creatures in the sea thanks to Hollywood movies, such as “Jaws.” Unlike whales, sharks are fish, not mammals. They are also definitely carnivorous. Great white sharks can grow up 15 or 20 feet in length and weigh 5,000 pounds or more, making them the largest predatory fish in the sea. Despite their size, they can swim up to 15 miles per hour and even breach (throw themselves out of the water). Great White Sharks have one of the strongest bites of all fish, and their teeth cut through flesh like a knife through warm butter. Their bite force is said to be one ton per square inch. It is their teeth that make their bites so powerful and devastating, as they have up to 300 serrated triangle shaped teeth in several rows.
Great white sharks are warm blooded, which allows them to live in different water temperatures like the coastal regions of Australia, South Africa, California and the northern United States. Their warm blood and their power allows them to swim throughout the water, and it is not unusual to find them both on the surface and at depths up to 820 feet. Great white sharks live in small groups called a school, but they do not hunt together. These sharks know how powerful they are, as they slap each other to avoid serious fights because one bite from another shark can do serious permanent damage that they would rather avoid. The power and the adaptability of a great white shark can allow it to live up to 70 years, which is longer than the average lifespans of some humans.
Great white sharks are often branded as killers of humans, but they perpetrate only around 10 attacks a year and not all attacks are fatal. In some cases, the shark gives a warning bite before letting go of the human.
8. Giant Pacific Octopus
The giant pacific octopus is a carnivorous octopus that can grow from 10 to 16 feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds. It is the biggest octopus of the species with the biggest giant pacific octopus ever recorded measuring at 30 feet across and weighing over 600 pounds. A giant pacific octopus usually feasts on shrimp, clams, and lobsters, but they are strong enough to hunt and eat sharks, too They use their mouths to puncture and tear flesh before swallowing their food.
An octopus’s tentacles and teeth are strong, but what is really fascinating is the strength of its suckers. An octopus’s suckers can move independently of the tentacles and even “taste” the water around them. Even though the tissue that an octopus’s suckers are made of resembles the same softness of jellyfish jelly, they are able to latch on to many different surfaces and not let go, even on uneven underwater surfaces. Scientists have tried to mimic an octopus’s suckers, but so far they have never been able to replicate the ones found in nature. Yet, the octopus’s suckers are the prototype for what may be a whole new generation of attachment devices.
Octopuses are very intelligent creatures. In labs, they have been taught how to mimic another octopus and even how to solve mazes. In the wild, they are known for tormenting their neighbors in the sea. They can be found juggling crabs and throwing things at other sea creatures. Octopuses have even been taught how to open a jar, and thankfully, the scientists that taught them will probably struggle with a pickle jar again.
7. Tiger Shark
Tiger sharks are carnivorous fish that get their name from the stripes found on their bodies when they are young. Tiger sharks can grow up to 14 feet in length, and the largest tiger shark every recorded weighed 1,400 pounds. They have very sharp teeth and very powerful jaws. Their bite is so powerful that they can crack the shells of turtles, which is a very difficult feat. Tiger sharks, along with great white sharks and bull sharks, are know for attacking humans. However, because tiger sharks aren’t very picky about what they eat, they often kill humans while a great white shark would usually just bite and swim away. A tiger shark’s stomach contents has revealed stingrays, seals, birds and even old tires – talk about an unrefined palate!
There used to be a myth that these indiscriminate predators could be the cure for cancer. This idea rested on the fact that sharks don’t get cancer. In the 1970s, researchers found that cartilage prevented the growth of new vessels in tissue, and these new vessels are one of the key components of cancerous tumors. Because sharks have skeletons made entirely from cartilage, the researchers reasoned that a shark’s skeleton would be the best hope for new therapies. This therapy was never proven nor has it been clinically tested in America. But even still, LaneLabs still sells cartilage pills today and the market for shark cartilage was estimated to reach $30 million in 1995. Unfortunately, this has decreased the number of sharks in North America by up to 80 percent, and as it turns out, sharks actually do get cancer.
6. Giant Squid
Giant squids are some of the most mysterious creatures of the sea as well as being the biggest invertebrate on earth. Measuring around 33 feet, the largest giant squid ever found truly was a giant weighing nearly 2,000 pounds and measuring 59 feet in length. Giant squids are elusive in their natural habitats and difficult to study. Most of what we know about them is from deceased squids that have washed up on beaches. It was not until 2004 that the first images of a live giant squid were taken. Giant squids have been found on beaches all over the world but it is still hard to say how far they swim or what their exact habitats are. These humongous squids also have massive eyes because they live so deep in the ocean that they do not see any light. Little is known about the giant squid but it is possible that when given the chance, they will kill and eat small whales, implying that those massive tentacles must be very strong.
The sperm whale is one the greatest predators of the giant squid but with their giant eyes, giant squids have an early warning of the approach of their massive predators.
5. Lion’s Mane Jellyfish
One of the only creatures longer than the imagined giant squid is the lion’s mane jellyfish, whose tentacles can reach120 feet long. This is longer than the average body of a blue whale! Their bodies are 95 percent water and they have no bones or blood. They don’t even have brains. Yet, jellyfish are some of the longest surviving predators swimming in our seas. Jellyfish have been swimming our oceans for about 650 million years, which is before the dinosaurs even stepped onto the Earth. The lion’s mane jellyfish will eat fish and even other jellyfish, and they can do this because despite not having brains, they are very powerful swimmers. Their swimming is what allows them to get away from predators and also to hunt and kill their own food. Unlike other sea creatures, jellyfish do not have teeth. They use their tentacles to poison and paralyze their prey before swallowing it whole.
4. Sperm Whales
Sperm whales are not the biggest whale swimming in the ocean, even at a whopping 35 tons, but that does not stop them from being formidably powerful creatures. Sperm whales are the owners of the largest brains of any creature known on Earth. Sperm whales are impressive swimmers who can dive in excess of 3,000 feet below the surface to find food, and because they are mammals, they have to hold their breath for the whole 90 minute return trip! Sperm whales can be found anywhere in the ocean and prefer meals of squid. Sperm whales hunt squid though a method which involves them flipping upside down in order to create a vacuum which can hoover a squid up from up to three feet away. Many squids are easy pickings for the huge whales and their vacuum mouths, but species like the giant squid are just big enough to fight back. There have been several notable occurrences of sperm whales fighting with giant squids, and some sperm whales have even been found with the marks of a squid’s suckers on its body, a testament to the strength of the giant squid.
The sperm whale may not be the biggest and most powerful mammal in the sea, but it’s ancestors were certainly contenders for the title. A fossil of a huge sperm whale was found in the Peruvian desert in 2008. The fossil was namedLeviathan melvillei, after Herman Melville, the author of the ultimate seaman’s novel Moby Dick. The whale probably lived around 12 million years ago and is an example of what is probably one of the most powerful predators ever found. It had a skull that was 3 meters long and jaws filled with 36 centimeter teeth., possibly some of the biggest teeth ever found.
3. Bull Shark
A bull shark is related to the tiger and lemon shark, and all are smaller members of the shark family. They can grow to be up to 11.5 feet long and weigh between 200 and 500 pounds. They prefer shallow water, which is bad news for humans in coastal areas because bull sharks are also very aggressive. Bull sharks have even been found half way up the Amazon River because they don’t mind freshwater like other species. It is this that makes the bull shark the most dangerous shark in the world. A bull shark will eat anything it can catch, including other sharks. They frequent waters that are also frequented by humans, and while they do not attack humans to eat them, they have been known to attack people, possibly inadvertently.
Even though they are smaller than other sharks, a bull shark can bite harder than other larger sharks, including its dangerous cousins the great white shark and the tiger shark. Bull sharks can bite with a force equivalent to 6,000 N. It is not understood why the bull shark has such a strong bite, as 6,000 N of force is much more than necessary to easily hunt and eat. A force of that strength is not needed for the type of prey a bull shark eats. It is thought, perhaps, to give the smaller shark a greater advantage earlier in life, as it allows it to eat more kinds of prey. It is also possible that it is an adaptation because visibility is often low in the water that bull sharks are found hunting in. No matter what the explanation is, one thing is certain and that is that you cannot tell a shark’s bite by its size.
2. Blue Whale
The blue whale is the largest mammal to have ever lived on Earth, and it is still swims our oceans today despite being endangered. A blue whale’s tongue weighs as much as an elephant, and their hearts can weigh as much as a Volkswagen Beetle. It’s full body weight can be up to 200 tons, which is the approximate weight of 33 elephants. Blue whales often swim peacefully through the ocean at around five miles per hour. However, if a blue whale becomes agitated or threatened, it can swim up to 20 miles per hour. To put that into perspective, when Usain Bolt runs 100 m he runs it at an average of 23.35 miles per hour, and he definitely does not weigh 200 tons. Because of their swimming speed, blue whales are very strong. Blue whales also migrate from the polar waters in the summer down to the Equator in the winter. By pure brute strength alone, the blue whale is the strongest animal in the world. The blue whale is not only large, it is loud and it is able to make a sound of almost 190 decibels. 190 decibels is so loud that it is on the high side of noise level a gun might make and if humans were able to hear it it would cause immediate damage to our hearing. This level of sound also means that one whale can hear the sounds of another even as far as 1,600 kilometers away.
Despite their size and power, blue whales are occasionally attacked by sharks and killer whales.
1. Saltwater Crocodile
The saltwater crocodile is the largest living crocodile in the world reaching 17 feet and up to 1,000 pounds, but it is not unheard of to find a 23-foot crocodile weighing 2,000 pounds. Saltwater crocodiles are found mostly in the South Pacific in India, Asia and northern Australia. While they are happy to live in the sea, they are also spotted in fresh water. They are excellently camouflaged and will wait low in the water for prey to appear. They can reach speeds of 18 kilometers per hour over short distances in the water, but they are slow moving on land. Saltwater crocodiles will also swim across vast expanses of ocean to reach new territory. Saltwater crocodiles live very long lives, some live to be 100 years old.
A saltwater crocodile will eat anything that comes too close, including humans. While humans aren’t usually on the menu, a human who gets too close to a crocodile risks becoming a main dish for a hungry croc. It may be easy to mistake a crocodile for a partially submerged log thanks to its natural camouflage and patient nature, but many attacks can be avoided if humans respect their natural habitats.
A saltwater crocodile has the largest bite force that has ever been measured, and some scientists suggest that this may rival the extinct dinosaur the Tyrannosaurus rex. A crocodile has an extremely powerful bite, and it exerts pressure of 3,700 pounds per square inch. Scientists think that crocodiles have always had a powerful bite, and this is why they have survived so long. They are currently one of the most ancient reptiles still in existence. The extinct crocodile Deinosuchus has an estimated bite force of 23,100 pounds per square inch. When you think about that, maybe the ‘salties’ of northern Australia aren’t so bad after all.
The animals of our oceans are varied and some poorly understood. They reach weights of thousands of tons, and some are the size of school busses. Even though some of the most powerful animals on Earth live in the dark depths of the sea, they may still be endangered. The greatest threat to the most powerful animals and fish on Earth isn’t their predators, but humans. Humans have been hunting whales and other sea animals for thousands of years. But recent poaching and overfishing has led to a serious decline in the populations of whales, sharks and other important sea animals. Despite being illegal, fisherman still kill 2,000 whales per year. Hollywood films portray some of these animals as blood thirsty creatures, but in reality, many of these animals would rather that humans respected their environment so that they would never meet us at all.