Weakest caniniform bite force for a crocodile
Freshwater crocodile, Crocodylus johnsoni
436 newton(s)
Australia ()

The crocodile with the weakest caniniform bite force (the bite force exerted by the caniniform – canine-like – teeth) recorded is the freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus johnsoni), native to Australia. In a comprehensive 2012 study of bite force in crocodilians, specimens of all 23 species of living crocodilian were utilized to obtain a range of bite force readings for each species. The weakest caniniform bite force recorded was 436 N, from one of five specimens of freshwater crocodile. In comparison, the strongest caniniform bite force recorded was 11,216 N, from a specimen of the saltwater crocodile (C. porosus).

This species has only very slender jaws and needle-like teeth, because it preys upon small, very compliant prey (i.e., prey unlikely to put up much of a struggle), such as fish, insects and crustaceans. Consequently, it has no need for a strong bite force.

Interestingly, when mean caniniform bite forces (as opposed to individual specimen measurements) were produced for all 23 species, the Cuvier's dwarf caiman (Paleosuchus palpebrosus) – native to many parts of South America (including Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador) – yielded a slightly lower value (of 576 N) than the freshwater crocodile (with 629 N).

The research was published on 14 March 2012 in PLOS ONE in a collaborative study by scientists from Florida State University, California State Polytechnic University, the University of Florida, St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park (all USA) and Charles Darwin University (Australia), led by Dr Gregory M Erickson of Florida State University.