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Interspecies Conflict/barbary lion vs african lion


HEY Jonathan,I have been wondering about this question for a long time,who do you think would win in a fight between the barbary lion and the african lion,I know the barbary lion is bigger than the african lion,but I do not think that the difference is huge,also which do you think is stronger pound for pound and which do you think is a better fighter between the two,thanks,joey

Hey Joey! Lovely to hear from you.

From studying Big Cats, you start to comprehend how exaggerated the sizes are of some of these extinct cats are by various scientists, naturalists etc. The Barbary Lion is indeed considered to be the largest of the recently extinct Lion subspecies. When I say extinct also, I mean extinct in the wild. In recent years, there have been various conservation efforts and organisations that have actually managed to breed captive Barbary Lions, and thus their size in maturity has been illuminated. Although not with the knowledge of how big they would grow in the wild combined with natural factors, such as genes, conditions, food supply etc, we can see that most mature males reached a maximum size of around 250kg. This is of course a huge Lion, but not at all dissimilar to the weights healthy mature males can reach in present day East Africa. The discrepancy is not that vast, so therefore the question of who would win in a fight becomes much more arguable.

Also if you detail the Barbary Lion's behaviour and habitat, you can see how it differs from East African Lions, and thus how it might impact on the species when it comes to combat. The Barbary Lion lived in a very remote habitat, along the Barbary coast, that is not typical of East African Lions who live on vast plains, have tightly packed territories and a consistent food source. Barbary Lions were very solitary, only really displaying social Lion behaviour when it came to breeding or occasionally sharing kills, and had to live off a much more limited, and much less varied diet, and thus were less in contact with other predators and more importantly other Lions, so the necessity to fight was lessened, as they were more isolated and less neighbouring than East African Lions, who often infringe one another's territories and fights become commonplace. East African Lions therefore have become hardened and moulded by evolution to become robust, fierce warriors.

That said, Barbary Lions would've eventually had to fight over territory, and they would be no less formidable, if just less accustomed to combat on a regular basis. In a fight between Lions, it is not only size, but temperament, boldness, conviction etc. Sometimes Male Lions that are smaller than other Males can be much more aggressive, and willing to carry out serious injury or even fatal ones. Lions are smart however, and usually only fight to their absolute physical limits. The test of dominance is usually who can force a retreat or submission, rather than death. So the fight between a Barbary Lion and African Lion is too vague to predict without examining the individual character and physical traits of both animals. It's like saying who would win between a French man and an Italian man.

Pound for pound, I would probably say the East African Lion, purely due their lifestyle which has shaped them into being extremely formidable warriors, built to be the dominant predators on the plains of Africa. But like I said, the difference between these Lion species is not vast, and any distinctions in terms of size are not decisive. It's all about the individual.

Great question Joey! Thank you so much for asking!

Keep them coming,


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I can answer any question on land carnivores. Big cats are my main area of expertise. I can answer questions on weight, behavior, and on any possible match-up among mammals, reptiles and insects, but the latter is less preferred. I am not very well informed with dinosaurs and prehistoric animals, so please refrain from asking me questions about them. Just modern animals please. Also questions on bite force are not the best, as they vary greatly.


I am a wildlife enthusiast. I have visited countless zoos globally to observe animal behavior, and i have also seen animals such as Rhinos, Elephants and Big Cats in the wild and synthetic environments. I watch nearly every animal documentary available, and have really acquired considerable knowledge of animals and animal conflicts as a result. I know a lot.

I have written several articles on Wikipedia. I also will soon start writing blogs about Big Cats.

I have a C grade at GCSE Science. However, nothing gives you more knowledge than experiencing animals in the flesh. No qualification can give you that kind of insight.

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