Competitive Eaters: You Won’t Believe How Much These Animals Consume
Published on August 15, 2012
A human will get crowned a champ if he inhales 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes. But that's nothing compared to these champion — and, in some cases, rather intrepid — eaters in the animal kingdom.
These cuddly bears can ingest between 20 to 40 pounds of bamboo per day — during mealtimes that can last up to 16 hours!
Although they can pack on up to 200 tons, blue whales live entirely on a diet of tiny marine invertebrates called krill, so they've got to eat a lot of them. Translation: They can consume four tons in a single day!
Human eating competitors may seem fast — but they're not nearly as quick as the chameleon. When this bright green critter's sticky tongue shoots out to snatch prey, it accelerates from 0 to 20 feet per second . . . in just 20 milliseconds.
In the animal kingdom, there's no size requirement for a champion eater: The brown bat is only about four inches long, and weighs less than an ounce, but he can eat 1,000 mosquitoes in a single hour.
Wild elephants can spend 18 hours a day munching on grass, leaves and bark — 200 to 400 pounds of it. The San Diego Zoo has calculated that their male African elephant requires 70,158 calories daily, which is the equivalent of about what 30 adult male humans need.
For some critters, eating is a team sport. A single locust can consume his weight in foliage — but when they gather in swarms of up to 80 million insects, they can ingest over 4 million pounds of plant material in a day.
Spicy foods can be a competitive eater's worst nightmare — in Scotland, a hot curry competition sent two people to the hospital. But fiery foods aren't an issue for birds: Their pain receptor cells are insensitive to capsaicin, the active ingredient in peppers that brings on that mouth-burning sensation.
The strongest biter alive is the crocodile. The saltwater croc, for example, can chomp down with a force of 3,700 pounds. Their ancestors were champions as well — scientists have calculated that extinct crocodiles were able to bite twice as hard as a Tyrannosaurus rex.