In anticipation of the upcoming Godzilla® movie, Big G is doing some cross-promotions, including his recent commercial for Snickers®.
Now, while I will accept that many of Godzilla’s rampages are hunger-driven, I do not accept that a regular-size Snickers bar would stop him. The question is: how big a Snickers bar would you need?
The first step to figuring out how big a Snickers bar you would need to satisfy a giant monster like Godzilla is figuring out his daily calorie demands. We can do this using studies that link the size of an animal to its energy needs. According to this study, there was a logarithmic relationship between the size of an animal and its daily calorie demands. Extrapolating from the calorie demands of a 59-ton active predator (2.4 million kJ a day, or 570,000 Calories), we find out that a 60,000 ton Godzilla (the size of the second Godzilla from the Heisei series, the most recent one contained in the Official Godzilla Compendium) would require something on the order of 98 billion Calories a day, or about 49,000,000 times the diet of a person who eats about 2000 Calories a day.
Assuming that the normal Snickers bar satisfies a normal person, then, we need a Snickers bar that is 49,000,000 times the size of a normal Snickers to satisfy Godzilla. Since a regular-size Snickers is about 1.5 cm high, 2.5 cm wide, and 9.5 cm long, a Godzilla-satisfying Snickers would have to be about 366 (roughly the cube root of 49,000,000) times as large in each dimension, or 549 cm high, 915 cm wide, and 3477 cm long. In English units, that’s about 18 feet high, 30 feet wide, and 114 feet long. It would weigh about 2848 tons and have over 12 million Calories.
Now, because of the way my mind works, I automatically wondered how Egon’s metaphorical Twinkie compares to Godzilla-scale. Now, Egon’s 35-foot-long, 600-pound estimate of a Twinkie, it turns out, isn’t accurate to an actual Twinkie’s proportions. It turns out that a 35-foot long Twinkie would weight about 108,000 pounds and would have about 156 million Calories. So it’s a dainty little snack for Godzilla.
This is a question that’s not addressed much in the movies. We have basically two possibilities of what Godzilla really eats. Either he feeds on nuclear energy like the Godzilla 1985 version or he eats fish like the 1998 American version.
Let’s tackle the tuna first. A can of tuna (packed in water) contains about 150 Calories, so Godzilla would need to eat about 650 million cans of tuna a day. With a global canning rate of tuna of about 50 million cans a day, we couldn’t easily keep this Godzilla fed.
Now, if we’re going to assume Godzilla eats nuclear power, it’s useful to convert his energy needs into a power-plant-friendly unit. It turns out he needs about 110 GWh per day. Since many Japanese reactors have a production capacity of 1100 MW or 1.1 GW, it would take something like four days for him to meet his daily energy needs at the reactor’s nominal output. He seems to have a much more efficient method of drawing power from the core, since he is only at a reactor for a few minutes at a time, and, like many predators, he doesn’t seem to need to eat every day. But since his method destroys the reactor, he would likely soon run out of reactors in Japan and have to look for them elsewhere.
Since we’re neuromuscular dentists, it also makes sense for us to wonder about Godzilla’s bite. How strong would it be? For the anthropomorphic Godzilla of the 1960s and 70s, it makes sense to look at a gorilla’s bite (incidentally, did you know that Godzilla’s original name, Gojira, is a combination of the Japanese words for gorilla (gorira) and whale (kujira)?). For other Godzillas, it might make sense to use a different model (a crocodile seems apt for the Millenium Godzilla, for example), but this is one for which we have good data.
Primate bite forces are related logarithmically to their body mass. This would estimate that his bite is about 6 million pounds of force. That’s about 14,000 times the force of a human bite, which raises the question: what are Godzilla’s teeth made of? A question we will leave for another day.
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