Interspecies Conflict/crocodile & gaur
Hello, Jonathan! Hope all is well.
On 9-17-2009, I asked expert John Silva a group of questions regarding animal fights(it was titled "who would win?"). He answered all of the questions, and then asked me to give my opinion on each fight(which I did). My opinions on some of these fights have changed over the years while others are about the same.
When I read over it recently, I became curious about a certain matchup and wanted to run it by you. I asked, at maximum weights, who would win between a saltwater crocodile and a gaur on land. At maximum poundage the weights would be similar(depending on what source you employ). The question I asked back then left open the possibilty of the expert assigning weights to each animal being quite different, so variations were to be expected. In other words, a croc like Gustave would outweigh many adult gaurs, but some estimates of gaurs put them at higher weights than others.
John Silva(who I believe to be a very good expert) said this:
"8. Saltwater croc if it lands a good bite. (which should happen)"
This is what I said:
"8. Saltie vs Gaur: This is one of those matchups that is tough to call....two animals of similar weight....both very strong and well armed....I think that the gaur could win by 2 methods: trampling the croc with its hooves and weight----and goring it with its horns. This is what makes this so interesting---the gaur cannot utilize either of these methods without putting itself in danger(by presenting the croc with the very parts it can seize in its jaws to finish the fight--the head and/or the legs)....the croc can move its head side-to-side with great speed as well as lunge effectively(although not as effectively as when it is in water) and has a good chance of grabbing the gaur...the gaur could kill the croc with repeated attacks with its horns and hooves, but the chances are greater that during this exchange the croc would latch on before it ran out of steam. If the croc is able to get his jaws on the head or a leg and clamp down, it will take away the gaur's ability to mount any offense(he would have to free himself first)....I think in most senarios the croc would be victorious."
My opinion on this has changed slightly. The crocodile's hampered mobility and endurance issues might be a serious handicap. If the croc latched on to the gaur, I believe the gaur would have a fairly good chance of freeing itself and resuming its offense. If the croc grabbed on to the gaur(and where it grabbed would be key), it might be put in a "now what do I do?" situation. In the water it would probably be elementary, but on land it would have limited options on offense. If it grabbed a leg or the head, it might be in the game. Anyhow, I give the edge to the gaur.
Despite some of what I have said, I believe the crocodile to be an underrated combatant on land. My guess is that most people would probably give the gaur a resounding victory, but I think the croc is close to being in the neighborhood with it here. The gaur might find it awkward battling a foe so low to the ground. The croc's armor will afford some protection. If the gaur somehow gets it into his head to "flip the croc"(a point I have discussed recently on the "Wild Animals" forum and believe to be akin to mythology) the croc would simply flip back over.
What do you think? Crocodile vs Gaur(or any bovid, really) on land, face-to-face, similar weights, willing to engage.
Hi Brad! Lovely to hear from you once again.
This is a very interesting match-up, but there are certain advantages that can be employed by both on land. Crocodiles are cold-blooded, so their stamina, endurance, acceleration and general energy become impeded. Land-dwelling often puts them in their most vulnerable physical state, but this is often relatively speaking to their superiority in water. Although reduced, they can still perform high octane attacks, using those huge, clamping jaws to devastating effect. The caveat is, that they can't employ this repeatedly on land. After several high-energy movements, they become slow, almost immobile and exhausted.
That said a Gaur would almost be fatalistic in pre-empting an attack with a SaltWater Crocodile of this size. Gaur are always more mobile than Crocodile on land, but they aren't particularly agile. If the Crocodile was able to land an accurate bite hold to the leg/neck, the contest is over. The leverage a Saltwater Crocodile has on those jaws is absolutely awe-inspiring, and also pretty terrifying. A Gaur would be immobilised with such crushing impact applied to its limbs.
The Gaur would have to be extremely quick in its actions and calculated, but that is not generally a Bovid's method of attack. It would be hard for the Gaur to try and out-maneuver the Crocodile without exposing itself to potentially lethal injury. The Gaur would have to the element of surprise to really inflict serious damage on the Crocodile. They aren't like Big Cats, who are extremely agile, intelligent, and have weaponry that can hold and contain the Crocodile, or Elephants, Rhinos or Hippo who have sheer advantages due to their size and resilience to injury due to their physiology.
If the Crocodile was much smaller, I'd give the advantage to the Gaur, but a 2 ton Crocodile is almost immovable and impeccably armed, and even its limitations on land doesn't erase its killer instinct and superior weaponry.
Great question Brad, keep asking as always!