Classified as Old World Monkeys but very closely related to humans, baboons are mainly herbivorous primates feeding on fruits, nuts, roots, vegetables, and tubers. Despite their dietary preference, baboons are aggressive monkeys known to engage in violent fights between one another. They can also be aggressive towards humans. But if it came to a one-on-one between baboons and other primates, who would win? How strong are baboons?
Baboons are some of the strongest monkeys, but they are overall weaker than humans and other great apes. They have a powerful bite force of about 500 PSI, but their punch force is closer to that of a weaker, untrained human. However, their speed would still allow them to gain enough momentum to easily fight you off with one strike.
Quick baboon strength facts:
- Baboon bite force: 500 to 550 PSI
- Baboon arm strength (lifting): 100 to 200 lbs.
- Adult baboon punch force: 2,970 lb.-ft./s
- Male baboon weight: 41 to 99 lbs.
- Baboon standing height: 1.6 to 3.75 feet
Slightly smaller than orangutans and a lot smaller than gorillas and humans, baboons are classified as Old World Monkeys. Nonetheless, they share about 91% of their DNA with humans and are stronger than they look.
Running at speeds up to 30 miles per hour, baboons have a strike force between 660 and 2,970 lb.-ft./s. That’s about four times weaker than a gorilla but up to three times higher than that of a human.
As you’d expect, the actual force varies with the size. There are six baboon species, but the differences in size and weight are negligible. Olive baboons, yellow baboons, chacma baboons, and Guinea baboons are the largest, although the yellow baboons and Guinea baboons have slender bodies and an average lower weight compared to the olive and chacma baboons.
The hamadryas and kinda baboons are smaller in size, but their weight range is similar to the other species.
The table below highlights the slight length, weight, and strike force differences between the various baboon species:
Species Avg. length Avg. weight Strike force
Olive baboon 1.6 – 3.75 feet 22 – 82 lbs. 1,560 lb.-ft./s
Yellow baboon 1.6 – 3.75 feet 26 – 50 lbs. 1,140 lb.-ft./s
Chacma baboon 1.6 – 3.75 feet 26 – 99 lbs. 1,875 lb.-ft./s
Guinea baboon 1.6 – 3.75 feet 28 – 57 lbs. 1,275 lb.-ft./s
Hamadryas baboon 1.3 – 2.58 feet 22 – 66 lbs. 1,320 lb.-ft./s
Kinda baboon 1.6 – 2.50 feet 24 – 41 lbs. 975 lb.-ft./s
Note: The average strike forces above are calculated considering the average individual weight for each subspecies and considering the top speed of 30 miles per hour. Like all primates, baboons are sexually dimorphic. Males are considerably larger and stronger than females – a trait that encourages bullying and aggressiveness towards the females and the young.
How Strong Is A Baboon Compared To A Human?
In terms of bite force, baboons are about three times stronger than humans. However, humans have a more powerful punch – about three to four times stronger than the punch force of a baboon. Baboons are faster, though, so they have a higher momentum compared to humans. In a one-on-one, baboons would likely win the fight.
Baboons may not be as strong as the great apes, but they are some of the strongest monkeys. Their strength is closer to that of a human than a gorilla, but they are still powerful enough to win against the average, untrained human.
Their main advantage is the bite force. Baboons have wide mouths and very long, very sharp fangs that can easily slice through the skin. Their jaw force is also about three times the bite force of a human: about 500 PSI baboons vs. 162 PSI humans.
From a standing position, humans would have the advantage of a punch about four times stronger than that of a baboon. However, a fight involves movement, and baboons have the advantage of speed.
A baboon’s momentum is over two times the momentum of a human. They also have stronger arm muscles compared to the average individual. While most humans struggle to lift more than their own body weight above their head, baboons climb trees regularly – which means that they are able to lift at least 1.5 to two times their own body weight.
Could the average man still win the fight? Probably, if he would fight against a young male baboon or a female. When fighting against an adult male, the baboon would likely win.
Wondering how strong a baboon bite is? Baboons have strong jaws and a bite force that can reach up to 500 to 550 PSI. This is about the same as the bite force of a chimpanzee, but slightly weaker than an orangutan. Baboons have a bite force about three times stronger than a human but much weaker than that of a gorilla.
While there are no specific studies regarding the baboon’s bite force, a study investigating the effects of teeth fracture on the bite force and tooth function concluded that baboons have about the same tooth size (except for the canines) and enamel thickness as orangutans and chimpanzees.
The critical force loads required to fracture the teeth were also similar between the three species. Comparing the correlation between bite force, enamel thickness, and tooth size of these primates and the other species included in the study, we can assume that baboons have about the same bite force as a chimpanzee or orangutan.
The skull morphology also leads us to assume that baboons have a powerful bite. Unlike other apes and monkeys, which have a hominid-like face and a rounder skull shape, baboons have dog-like noses, elongated jaws, and dagger-sharp teeth that can grow up to 6 inches long.
Male baboons usually have longer fangs compared to the females, using their teeth as weapons in combat with other baboon males. However, this is not the only reason baboons have strong teeth.
While baboons are majorly herbivores, they can also eat bird eggs and meat. Their sharp fangs come in handy for hunting and tearing the flesh off the bones.
Is A Baboon Stronger Than A Chimpanzee?
Baboons and chimpanzees have similar strength, but chimpanzees are slightly more powerful and more aggressive. Thus, they can usually fight off baboons.
The two primate species are very similar in terms of strength. Both baboons and chimpanzees have a similar bite force of about 500 to 550 PSI. Chimps tend to have stronger jaws. However, they have shorter canine teeth and mouths that are not designed for biting in the same way baboon mouths are.
Chimpanzees are larger than baboons, but they are slower. Nevertheless, their strike force is stronger than the strike force of baboons. The lift force is similar.
While the differences seem negligible, the truth is that chimpanzees are more powerful, and those slight differences can help them fight off baboons.
Are Baboons Stronger Than Gorillas?
Gorillas are large apes and are much stronger than baboons. Not only do gorillas have a more powerful bite force, but they also have an incredible lift force and strike power. In a one-on-one against gorillas, baboons wouldn’t stand a chance.
The table below compares the strength of a gorilla vs. a baboon:
|Bite force||500 PSI||1,300 PSI|
|Strike force||2,970 lb.-ft./s||12,500 lb.-ft./s|
|Lift force||200 lbs.||1,800 lbs.|
|Speed||30 mph||20 mph|
|Weight||99 lbs.||500 lbs.|
A lot larger and heavier, gorillas are no match for baboons. While gorillas are generally calm animals, they can become very aggressive and dangerous if provoked.
Not only are they physically larger, but gorillas have jaws that are much more powerful than those of a baboon. In fact, their bite force is 1,300 PSI, almost three times stronger than that of a baboon. Baboons have longer fangs, but the sharp teeth won’t make much of a difference when it comes to actually biting.
Gorillas are also much stronger physically. Not only do they have a strike force about four times stronger than baboons, but they can also lift up to 1,800 pounds, which is about nine times the lift force of a baboon.
In a one-on-one fight, baboons would have only one real advantage: their speed. Thus, their only hope is that of running fast enough to get away from the angry gorilla.
Related: How strong are silverback gorillas?