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How Strong Are Lions & Are They The Strongest Feline?

Lions are incredibly strong and one of the strongest felines, only competing with tigers for the top spot. They are large, muscular predators and use their strength to take down large prey like wildebeests and buffaloes. Their bites are deadly and one swipe from their powerful paws is enough to kill an adult human.

Lions are powerful animals. They have muscular builds with broad chests and large heads. Pound for pound they are the most muscular mammal alive today, closely followed by the tiger.

They successfully use their impressive muscle mass, claws, and teeth to hunt. They can take down huge prey, sometimes hunting juvenile elephants.

They are a force to be reckoned with, sitting comfortably at the top of the food chain in their environments.

But how strong are they really?

In this article, we’ll see how strong lions are, what subspecies is the strongest, what makes them so powerful, and more.

How Strong Are Lions?

Lions are large, muscular, and powerful animals with a bite force of around 4450 newtons and a strike force that’s even stronger. They are some of the most efficient hunters on the planet, sitting comfortably at the top of the food chain.

Lions are one of the strongest cats on the planet and very powerful. They use their strength when hunting, chasing prey, and fighting each other for territory and control.

With strong, muscular bodies, lions can output impressive force. They have strong bites, their paws are powerful and deadly, and they can run surprisingly fast over short distances.

Here are the different aspects of a lion’s strength:

  1. Bite Force
  2. Paw Swipe Strength
  3. Raw Power
  4. Fighting Ability
  5. Speed

1. Lion Bite Force

Lion Bite Force

Lions have a powerful bite, estimated at about 1000 psi or 4450 newtons.[1] This is their main killing weapon when hunting. Lions kill their prey by biting its neck and either breaking it or suffocating the animals.

The most common result you’ll find online for a lion’s bite force is something around 600-700 PSI. Bite force measurements are regularly untrue and based on old studies.

This is enough to rival a tiger’s bite force, which comes in at around 1000-1050 psi. 

Some tigers can have a stronger bite, and smaller lions and females have a lesser bite force.

2. Lion Paw Swipe Strength

Lion Paw Swipe Strength

Lions’ paw swipe is their second greatest weapon, and it’s a versatile tool. Lions use their powerful swipes when hunting prey or fighting each other.

A single swipe from a lion to the head or neck is enough to kill any human. In 2013, a lion escaped from its cage and killed a caretaker that was cleaning his confinement.[2]

These incidents are proof that exotic pets are a bad idea, and people need to be cautious around wild animals.[3] Lions aren’t friendly.

Their swipes are powerful thanks to the lion’s impressive musculature. They use their front paws and chest muscles to increase the power of the swipe.

Lions have large paws, about five inches wide and five and a half inches long.

3. Lion Power

Lion Power

Lions are powerful animals, and they use their power to their advantage when hunting, fighting, and running.

Lions usually hunt large animals as small prey doesn’t provide enough meat. They use their powerful limbs to grab large prey, dragging them to the ground where they can deliver a killing blow.[4]

Large lions can bring down African buffalos weighing over 1700 pounds. Taking down prey of this size, and keeping it down, is proof of the lion’s immense strength.

Lions take advantage of their power. They are dangerous hunters and apex predators, fearlessly sitting at the top of the food chain.

4. Lion Fighting Ability

Lion Fighting Ability

The strength of lions is frequently seen in fights. These fights happen with prey, other predators, or other lions.

As lions only eat meat (hypercarnivores), they need to hunt to survive. While the lion itself is strong, so is the large prey that they hunt, including wildebeest and buffalos. It takes a strong predator to kill them.

Not only that, but lions also compete with other predators such as hyenas, or African wild dogs. In some areas, lions lose up to 60% of their kills to hyenas.[5]

That’s why power is crucial to the lion. So they can take out prey and competition.

Nile crocodiles are the only predator that can stand up to lions in a direct confrontation. The two predators frequently fight, with both animals able to win.[6]

5. Lion Speed

Lion Speed

Lions also use their strength for quick, powerful movement. Their strong legs propel them forward at surprisingly fast speeds so they can chase prey over short distances.

They don’t have the greatest stamina so they use the element of surprise to catch their prey. On average, lions can run at about 30-35 mph but they have been recorded going as fast as 46 mph.[7]

Lion Strength by Subspecies

Lions are split into two subspecies, with the southern subspecies being stronger on average than the northern. The northern lions are weaker due to their smaller size.

Lions are split into two officially recognized subspecies:

  • The northern lion
  • The southern lion

The two subspecies are mostly the same. The biggest difference is their size. As southern lions are bigger, they are also stronger.

Here’s a brief comparison of “northern” and “southern” male lions.

TraitPanthera leo leo or the “northern lion”Panthera leo melanochaita or the “southern lion”
Length (without tail)6–6 ft 10 in6–6 ft 10 in
Weight350–420 lbs386–496 lbs

How Are Lions So Strong?

Lions are strong thanks to their substantial amount of muscle mass and their impressive size. They have the largest percentage of muscle mass out of any mammal with almost 59% of their body weight being muscle.

Lions are so strong because a large percentage of their bodies consist of muscle. Felines are generally very muscular and lions are the most muscular of them. 

Lions even have the largest percentage of muscle mass of all mammals with an impressive 58.8% of their body weight being muscle.[8]

The high percentage of muscle coupled with their substantial body weight is what gives them their strength.

How Are Lions So Strong

Why Do Lions Need to Be So Strong?

Lions are strong to survive. They use their strength to maintain their place at the top of the food chain. They need to be strong to catch and kill prey and to defend themselves and their groups.

Lions are strong because they need to be to survive. Without their physical strength, they wouldn’t be able to catch prey. They would also be beaten by the competition.

As lions hunt large animals, they need more power to kill the prey. They need to be strong to kill zebras, wildebeests, African buffalos, and other large herbivores.

Lions also share their habitat with other efficient predators like hyenas, African wild dogs, and leopards. Weaker lions lose their kills to these other predators and have trouble defending their pride.


Lions are strong apex predators. They use their superior power to take down large prey and defend themselves from other predators. They’ve got a powerful bite, their paws are deadly and they can run surprisingly fast. Lions are one of the strongest predators on land.

About Codrin Frunzete

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