How Strong Is A Jaguar? Jaguar Bite Force

How Strong Is A Jaguar

The bite force of a jaguar is about 1,500 pounds per square inch. This bite is delivered thanks to incredibly strong jaw muscles. The jaws of the jaguar are smaller than other big cats, so they close quicker and with more force. They can easily snap bones into pieces or bite right through the skull of a deer or the tough, leathery skin of a crocodile.

You may see a jaguar in a zoo, but you wouldn’t want to meet one in the wild. You certainly shouldn’t keep one as a pet. In fact, in the United States, the Captive Wildlife Safety Act prohibits the sale of wild cats as pets and that includes jaguars. That doesn’t mean they aren’t fascinating to read about, however. So, read on for more information on this big cat and its powerful bite.

How Strong is a Jaguar? (Jaguar Bite Force)

The bite force of an adult jaguar has been measured at 1,500 psi (pounds per square inch).

This bite force is more than twice the bite force of a lion (650 psi) and over 25% more force than a tiger (1,050 psi).

The jaguar’s bite is the strongest among big cats. It also has the strongest bite for its size compared to any other mammal.

Anatomy of Jaguar Jaw Muscles

The jaguar owes its incredibly powerful bite force to the well-developed muscles that control its massive jaws. The jaguar’s jaw muscles, the temporalis, and masseter, provide the strength needed to bite through skulls and thick hides.

Muscular Structure

There are two main sets of muscles that allow the jaguar to open and close its jaws with tremendous force:

Temporalis Muscles

  • The temporalis muscles are located on the sides of the jaguar’s skull, running from the temple to the jawbone.
  • The temporalis muscles are the primary muscles that allow the jaguar to close its jaws and bite down with remarkable force.
  • These strong muscles let an adult jaguar bite with over 1,500 psi, enough to crush bones and skulls.
  • A jaguar’s temporalis muscles are proportionately larger and more powerful compared to other big cats like lions and tigers.

Masseter Muscles

  • Located along the jaguar’s sturdy jawline.
  • Aid the temporalis muscles in closing the jaguar’s jaws to produce an extremely powerful biting and crushing force.
  • These muscles help the jaguar maintain a vice-like grip on large prey, like caiman crocodiles, during a struggle.
  • The masseter gives the jaguar the ability to deliver killing bites that penetrate deep into prey.

Besides these large jaw-closing muscles, jaguars also have smaller pterygoid muscles to open their jaws wide.

Comparing Bite Forces of Other Animals

Saltwater Crocodile

  • The saltwater crocodile has the strongest bite force ever measured – up to an incredible 3,700 psi.
  • That’s more than double the jaguar’s bite force.
  • Its large jaws, strong skull muscles, and powerful teeth make it Earth’s strongest biter.

American Alligator

  • American alligators’ bite force is 2,125 psi, stronger than lions and tigers.
  • Alligators use their biting power to clamp down and drown large prey.


  • Hippos have a bite force of 1,800 psi, which helps them forage on tough aquatic vegetation.
  • Hippos have large jaws and strong teeth designed for biting plants, not crushing bones.

Grizzly Bear

  • Grizzly bears can bite down with 975 psi of force.
  • They need this power to grind up tough foods like nuts and salmon.


  • Hyenas deliver an impressive bite force of 1,100 psi.
  • Their jaws and teeth are adapted for crushing and digesting bone.
  • The jaguar’s bite force is nearly 50% stronger than a hyena’s.

How Many Teeth Does a Jaguar Have?

Jaguars have a total of 30 teeth with three incisors on each side of its powerful jaws. Jaguars use their teeth to deliver a death blow to their prey which is typically done by piercing the skull. Jaguars are also quite adept at cracking open turtle shells to get at the meat inside. Those sharp teeth driven by strong jaws can also snap bones and penetrate the tough hides of deer and crocs.

How Sharp are Jaguars Teeth?

Jaguars have strong sharp teeth that can pierce bone, shells, and tough hides. These sharp teeth are set in powerful jaws that enable the cat to attack animals much larger than themselves. With a bite at the back of the skull, jaguars are able to kill their prey quickly. Their coarse tongues are like sandpaper and can scrape the meat right off of the bones of their prey.

How Powerful is a Jaguar?

Jaguars are lean, mean, powerful predators. They have incredibly strong biting power too. Their bite is quite strong when biting down. The jaws of the jaguar are also smaller than other big cats which provides them with added leverage when biting.

This powerful bite allows them to take down animals such as capybaras and deer with ease. Fish, birds, and porcupines are no match for jaguars and even the tough hides of caiman crocodiles, sea turtles, and armadillos are easy for them to penetrate.

While some big cats go for the throat of their victims, the jaguar is powerful enough to deliver one quick bite at the head. This bite crushes the vertebrae and either kills or incapacitates the animals instantly.

Why Do Jaguars Kill Their Cubs?

It’s not just jaguars that kill their own offspring. Many animals in captivity do this. In most cases, however, it is not their own cubs they kill. For example, when a new male jaguar enters a territory looking to mate, he may kill the cubs of a female jaguar. This triggers the female to go into estrus which makes her eager to mate again. Of course, there are cases where a jaguar will kill its own cubs. This typically occurs when the female is experiencing serious anxiety often a result of captivity.

How Big Do Jaguars Get?

Jaguars vary in size but typically fall into the 126 to 250 pound range. There have been documented instances of jaguars weighing as much as 348 pounds. Males are bigger than females who weigh about a little less than 80 pounds on average.

The length of a jaguar is measured from the base of the tail to the tip of their nose which is about 3 feet, 8 inches up to 6 feet. Jaguars have short tails compared to other big cats. They fall into the range of 18 to 30 inches in length. Jaguars have short legs compared to tigers and lions. Their height ranges between 25 to 30 inches at the shoulders.

Is a Jaguar Bigger Than a Leopard?

Tigers are the largest of the big cats, followed by lions. Jaguars are the third largest which puts them ahead of leopards. An average adult jaguar weighs about 250 pounds while the average eight of a leopard is 175 pounds. Leopards are the smallest of all the big cats. Jaguars are the largest big cat found in the wild of both North and South America.

How Long is a Jaguars Tail?

Jaguars have short tails when compared to other cats. They are usually between 18 and 30 inches in length. Longer tails are found in leopards, for example. Leopards spend a good deal of time above the ground in trees and a longer tail gives them better balance. Jaguars on the other hand hunt on the ground where their powerful bite is a more effective hunting tool than a longer tail.

How Many Claws Do Jaguars Have?

Jaguars, like any cat’s foot, are padded with four toes on the back paws and five on the front paws. These toes each have a retractable claw meaning they are pulled back under the skin of their paws when they are not using them to kill prey, climb trees, or scratch.

How Fast is a Jaguar?

Jaguars are not the fastest cat on the planet. That title belongs to the cheetah which is the fastest animal on land. That said, the jaguar is no slouch when it comes to speed and can hit 50 miles per hour when given enough room to run. That’s almost half that of the cheetah, but jaguars do not hunt in the open plains but are more suited to jungle and forest environments.

Do Jaguars Live Alone?

After the jaguar cub is old enough to look after itself, at about two years old, it spends its adult life in solitude. Jaguars get together to mate, of course, but otherwise, they live alone in the wild.

How Often Do Jaguars Eat?

Jaguars need daily caloric intake to survive so they hunt and eat every day. An adult jaguar eats up to 50 pounds of meat when it can get it. That is in optimal hunting conditions, however, and may not always be an option for them.

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