You are here:

Interspecies Conflict/bears, badgers, and cats


Hey Bk
how would a fight between a brown bear and a tiger play out?
Polar bear Vs Kodiak bear (at average size and parity)
honey Badger Vs tasmanian devil
how strong was the honey badger's bite force?
Indian rhino Vs White rhino
Asian elephant vs African elephant
bison vs giant eland
gorilla vs lion
could the komodo dragon bite through an alligators shell?
black bear vs gorill
5,000 lbs saw fish vs 4,000 lbs great white shark
6 lioness vs 1 polar bear
leopard vs cougar
bison vs rodeo bull ( at average weight and at parity)
cape buffalo vs rodeo bull (at average weight and at parity)
walrus vs saltwater crocodile
polar bear vs saltwater crocodile (the bear is on land and the croc is in water 4 ft deep and the bear can see him clearly)
anaconda vs lion
black bear vs burmese python
jaguar vs 2 wolves

Hello Johnny.

brown bear vs tiger: Brown bears cover several bears with varying sizes.  Kodiak bears can weigh over twice as much as a tiger, and would easily defeat it on most occasions.  Grizzly bears & Siberian brown bears are typically larger than tigers as well, and would also be favored against the cat.  Bears have more brute strength than tigers, and have much greater endurance.  Tigers have the advantages of quickness, agility, & killing experience (and they deal with bears on occasion).  At equal weights I would slightly favor the tiger, but a bear with a decent weight advantage will be too formidable for the feline to overcome.  The tiger will likely attempt to latch onto the bear with its front paws and try to force itself in a position favorable enough to land a finishing bite to the neck.  However, the bear will have enough mobility to parry the tiger's attacks with paw swipes & greater strength.  The tiger's paw swipes will be faster & more accurate, but any blow landed by the bear will have greater effect.  It will be very important for the tiger to use its agility to gain a good position before its gas tank runs out.  The tiger will have a fair chance of pulling this off against a bear of similar weight, but a heavier bear will be too tough to overcome.  I answered a similar question on 08/01/2013 (Bear vs Tiger/Lion) that gives more information if you'd like to read it.

polar bear vs kodiak bear: These bears will weigh about the same.  The polar bear is sleeker (built for swimming), but probably is stronger pound-for-pound.  The Kodiak bear has a stockier build, and probably is stronger than the polar bear in the shoulder/neck region (and can generate stronger paw swipes).  The polar bear might have the edge in positioning if the 2 began wrestling around, but the paw swipe war would likely favor the Kodiak bear (which has long claws).  Brown bears are typically more confrontational & aggressive than polar bears, and a realistic encounter would probably end up with the Kodiak bear driving the polar bear away.  In an actual fight to the end, I would slightly favor the more robust Kodiak bear.

honey badger vs tasmanian devil: The honey badger is a bit heavier than the Tasmanian devil.  The honey badger has thick, loose skin that protects it from many attacks, and has a strong bite and short, powerful legs with sharp claws.  The Tasmanian devil isn't as robustly built as the badger, but it has an extremely strong bite.  Because of the honey badger's thick skin, the bite of the Tasmanian devil won't do as much damage to it as the honey badger's bite will do to the Tasmanian devil.  With its size & claws being additional advantages, the honey badger is favored in this matchup.

How strong was the honey badger's bite force?  Not sure, but it has muscular jaws that are probably on par with the wolverine (which can crunch through bone & frozen meat).  Bite force really isn't my forte.

indian rhino vs white rhino: These 2 rhinos are similar in weight.  The Indian rhino has a single horn, and the White rhino has 2 horns.  The front horn of the White rhinoceros can be twice the length of the Indian rhinoceros' horn.  This will be an advantage for the White rhinoceros.  The Indian rhino won't hesitate to bite a rival with its sharp incisors, though.  The White rhino is a bit more aggressive.  White rhinoceros wins.

asian elephant vs african elephant: African elephants are usually larger than Asian elephants, and have larger ears & longer tusks.  The larger African elephant would win.  At equal weights they would be physically comparable, but the longer tusks of the African version might make a difference.

bison vs giant eland: Both of these bovids can exceed 1 ton in weight, but the bison is more robustly built.  The bison has a huge neck & shoulder area, and it typically uses its head as a battering ram in conflicts.  It horns (which are used in conflicts as well) are positioned better for combat than the horns of the eland.  The eland will have the edge in agility, but it will be outmatched in power.  The bison would win this without too much trouble.

gorilla vs lion: The lion would dominate this fight.  These animals can reach reasonably similar weights, but the gorilla would need a substantial weight advantage to compete with a lion.  Lions have greater quickness & agility, greater weaponry (jaws & claws), and killing know-how.  The gorilla may have more brute strength at equal weights, but it won't have an effective enough means of using that advantage before getting mauled by the lion.  I would easily favor a lioness to defeat a gorilla.

Could the komodo dragon bite through an alligator's shell?  Not though the top of it.  A komodo dragon's teeth up to 1" long and are very sharp, but they aren't designed to penetrate the osteoderms of an alligator.  The komodo dragon doesn't have the bite force to do this, either.  Its teeth are designed for a quick, penetrating bite (usually on the leg) on prey items like deer, boar, & buffalo, and to rip open hide of subdued animals by slicing.  The komodo dragon could probably bite through the sides of the alligator where the armor is less dense, but the area on top is too well protected.

black bear vs gorilla: The gorilla simply doesn't have the weaponry to compete with the black bear.  The bear will be typically heavier, but its claws are its trump card.  It has the ability to seriously injure the gorilla before the gorilla can mount much of an offense itself.  The gorilla has a dangerous bite and long, powerful arms, but it won't be able to significantly injure the durable bear before the bear's claws & jaws take their toll.  The gorilla would need a large weight advantage to be an adequate matchup for the black bear, and it just doesn't have it.  Black bear wins.

5,000lb sawfish vs 4.000lb great white shark: This fight could go either way, as both combatants have the means to seriously injure one another.  The rostrum (nose or beak) of the sawfish can be swung side-to-side with enough force to stun & disable the shark, and the shark has a huge bite with razor-sharp teeth that can remove large chunks of flesh quite readily.  With the weight advantage given here, I would slightly favor the sawfish.

6 lionesses vs polar bear: Each lioness will weigh a little more than 1/4th the weight of the bear, but they have a chance to pull this off.  Lionesses are excellent at using teamwork to tackle large prey, but the bear will present a tougher challenge than a typical herbivore because it can use its paws & claws to swipe at the attacking lionesses.  One of the lionesses will need to get into a position to apply a throat bite to defeat the bear, because the cats' paw swipes won't be as effective as the counter-strikes from the polar bear.  A successful throat bite will be hard to complete because the bear can use its front paws to dislodge a lioness from its neck.  The polar bear will have the greater endurance, and it will likely injure 2 or 3 lionesses before it gets overcome itself.  This is a close match, but the lionesses should prevail more times than not if they work together.  They will need to hang onto the bear and use their weight to restrict its movement while one of them tries a throat bite.  The polar bear is a very powerful animal, but 6 lionesses might be too much for it.  If the polar bear can take out a couple of lionesses early on, it will swing the advantage in its favor, but the lionesses will be agile enough to avoid most paw swipes from the bear.  Slight edge to the lionesses.

leopard vs cougar: Cougars can weigh 15% more than leopards.  The leopard has a more muscular head and shoulder area (and is stronger pound-for-pound), but the cougar has longer legs and a better reach.  At parity I would favor the leopard, but with the weight advantage here I would slightly favor the cougar.

bison vs rodeo bull (at average weights): The bison will be heavier than the rodeo bull, and will be able to use its powerful head as a battering ram to potentially upend the smaller bovid.  The bull may be a bit more agile than the bison at these weights, but the bison will overpower it.

bison vs rodeo bull (at parity): This will be a close fight, but the bison will have a more muscular head & shoulder area with which to generate a lot of force with headbutts or horn thrusts.  The rodeo bull has horns that are positioned ideally (curved forward) for combat, but the bison will be too strong for it.  Edge to bison.

cape buffalo vs rodeo bull (at average weights): Rodeo bulls can actually get heavier than Cape buffaloes, but not by much.  The average weight for the rodeo bull varies quite a bit.  The wildness & ill-tempered disposition of the Cape buffalo (and its dealing with an assortment of predators) gives it an edge over the rodeo bull in fighting prowess, but the rodeo bull's horns are positioned more ideally for combat.  I've seen a video in which a rodeo bull (sad to say) tossed a horse about 6ft in the air, so I'm impressed by their power.  At close weights the Cape buffalo would have the edge, but I would favor a rodeo bull once it got about 20% heavier.

cape buffalo vs rodeo bull (at parity): The Cape buffalo is an aggressive, battle-tested animal with sharp, curved horns and a boss (area on the head where the base of each horn meets) to protect its skull.  Rodeo bulls are powerful, but aren't quite the level of a Cape buffalo when confronting another animal.  Edge to Cape buffalo.

walrus vs saltwater crocodile: The walrus will weigh over 50% more than the crocodile.  Walruses have thick, tough skin that is very difficult to penetrate.  Crocodile's teeth aren't meant to puncture, but to grab & hold (so the croc can kill by drowning).  The rotund body of the walrus will make it hard for the crocodile to open its jaws wide enough to get a decent grip.  The crocodile could target the tail or a flipper, but this won't likely disable the larger walrus.  The walrus will have the mobility to get into position to impale the crocodile with its tusks (in the side or belly), and should be able to prevail on most occasions.  Walrus wins.

polar bear (on land) vs saltwater crocodile (in 4ft of clear water): The crocodile can be 50& heavier than the bear.  If the bear enters the water to attack the crocodile, it will be in trouble.  Polar bears can swim well, but it will be hard to apply its weapons (paw strikes & bites) to an adversary in 4ft of water.  The crocodile can clamp onto the bear with its jaws and exert a tremendous amount of torque with its "death roll" technique.  The bear would have a hard time dealing with the armored hide & powerful movements of the heavier crocodile.  If the bear could manage to remain on land and strike the crocodile with its paws, it might could stun the reptile with the right hit.  However, the bear would be within range of the crocodile's lunge.  The only way the bear could prevail is to lure the crocodile onto the land (where the bear's mobility & endurance would give it the edge).  Polar bears often snatch begula whales & seals out of the water and onto the land, but this would be difficult to accomplish against an animal heavier than itself that would be fighting back.  The polar bear would likely attack in this scenario (by entering the water), and while it has the ability to win some of the time, it won't do so on most occasions.

anaconda vs lion: Lions typically weigh more than anacondas.  Anacondas are excellent ambush predators, but are not adept at taking on similar-sized adversaries (on land) face-to-face.  Anacondas have limited mobility & poor stamina on land, and would quickly fall victim to the lion's claws & teeth.  In shallow water the anaconda would fare better, but it would still be outmatched by the weaponry of the larger cat.  At equal weights (in shallow water), it will be close (slight edge to lion).  Once the water gets too deep for the lion to touch the bottom, it will struggle to compete against the anaconda.  If the lion has its typical weight advantage, it will certainly have a chance anyway, but it won't be easy.  At equal weights (in deep water) the lion will be in trouble.

black bear vs burmese python: Black bears can be 2-3 times heavier than a Burmese python.  The bear has the weaponry (claws & jaws) to dispatch the smaller snake, and will have a significant endurance advantage.  Even in shallow water (where the snake will have improved mobility & stamina), the bear will be too big for the python to overcome.  

jaguar vs 2 wolves: A jaguar can weigh more than 2 wolves combined.  Wolves are great team players, and will try to attack the jaguar from different sides to wear it out.  However, the jaguar is very strong, quick, and has sharp claws & vice-like jaws that can crush through turtle shells.  The jaguar has the ability to quickly dispatch one wolf, and then will have no problem finishing the other.  A leopard would be a good match for 2 wolves, but the jaguar is too powerful.  Jaguar wins.

Best regards.

Interspecies Conflict

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




Questions regarding animal conflicts within realistic or unrealistic settings are welcome; my strength lies in medium-to-large species. Small animals (including birds of prey), prehistoric animals, sea creatures, and domestic dog breeds are usually within my scope, but to a lesser degree. I can't confidently answer hypothetical questions about human vs animal, arachnids, insects, or amphibians, but I am willing to field them nonetheless.


From a young age, I have been interested in animals. Starting with the original Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom and World Book Encyclopedias, I have seen many animal shows and documentaries and have read multiple books on the subject. I have a solid understanding of the physiology of many animals and interspecies conflict in general.

Associate degree in unrelated field; biology classes in college.

©2017 All rights reserved.