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Interspecies Conflict/More enhanced fights


Hi there BK, thanks for your great responses to me last time! I have some more fights for you with modified animals.

My latest creature is a baboon with cat claws on the end of all of its fingers. In every other way it's a normal baboon but it has fearsome talons now. With the great arm and hand strength that baboons and other simians have, it could do a ton of damage, I think.

1: How would the enhanced baboon do against the following animals its own size, at parity:
a--Clouded leopard (I think the baboon takes this, as it is nearly as agile, has comparable fangs, and has more brute strength)
b--Wolverine or honey badger
c--Game-bred American bulldog

2: Scaled up, how would the enhanced baboon do against the following at parity:
a--Brown bear
b--Black bear

3: How would an average-sized troop of these enhanced baboons at normal size, cooperating as hunters, do against:
c--Cape buffalo

4: Could these enhanced baboons, with their ferocious weaponry, intelligence, and cooperation, knock off lions as the apex predator group in their range in sufficient numbers?


Hello Martin.

There are a few species of baboon to choose from.  For this question I'll use a large olive baboon (about 37kg) as it is solid & strong.

1. At parity fights

baboon with claws vs clouded leopard: This would be a close fight.  The strengths of each animals would be close, but I would actually give the cat the edge in this department.  The agility/mobility would be close as well, and the weaponry (fangs & claws) would be comparable.  In a realistic encounter the baboon would probably drive the clouded leopard away after a few bites were landed, but if the clouded leopard is determined to battle to the end, it should have enough of an edge in killing experience to win more times than not.  It would probably try to cling to the baboon with its claws while it sinks its teeth into a vulnerable spot, and the baboon would probably try the bite & retreat method while slashing with its claws.  Close to 50/50; slight edge to the clouded leopard.

baboon with claws vs wolverine/honey badger: Another close fight for the baboon against either opponent.  Normally a baboon would need a weight advantage to defeat a wolverine or a honey badger, but the added claws help close the gap.  However, the hardy wolverine & the thick-skinned honey badger are better protected against injury than the baboon is.  The baboon would have moderate success penetrating the hides of these animals, and the mustelids would be able to use their strength, ferocity, strong jaws & claws to gain the upper hand over the baboon after a hard-fought battle.  Edge to the wolverine & honey badger.

baboon with claws vs game-bred American bulldog: At equal weights the baboon will be almost 20% taller at the shoulder than the canine.  The dog will be sturdier and have larger jaws, but the baboon will have mobility, claws, and long fangs that will do a lot of damage to the American bulldog as it charges in.  The baboon should be quick enough to dodge the initial lunges of the bulldog and land a few bites before the dog latches on.  Once the bulldog secures a bite, it will hang on tight.  Where this bite lands is dependant on how much of a counter-offensive the baboon can offer.  Even if it can't bite back due to the bulldog's jaws being around the neck or head area, the baboon will have claws to continue its attack.  The baboon's teeth & claws can readily breach the hide of the American bulldog.  Not an easy fight, but the baboon should prevail at equal weights.

baboon with claws vs peccary: Peccaries have sharp tusks that serve as weapons, and are strong suids with reasonably tough hides.  Normally a peccary would send a baboon packing, but at equal weights it makes it interesting.  The baboon would need to avoid the dangerous tusks of the peccary long enough to land several good bites, and its claws should enable it to have a little bit more control than it normally would.  The skin of the baboon will not hold up as well to attack than the skin of the peccary, but the baboon will have slightly better weaponry overall with the addition of claws.  Close to 50/50, but the talons should give the baboon a slight edge at equal weights.

2. At parity fights (with baboon scaled up)

baboon with claws vs brown bear: The brown bear would have 3 definite advantages: Strength, endurance, & durability.  The baboon would have the advantage in mobility, but it wouldn't be able to take the kind of punishment the bear could.  The stronger bear would control positioning once the 2 engaged, and overpower the baboon with bites & paw swipes.  The bear wouldn't escape injury, though.

baboon with claws vs black bear: This would be a closer contest than with the brown bear, but the result would be the same for the same reasons.

baboon with claws vs hippopotamus: The mobility of the baboon would likely keep the primate out of the hippo's jaws, and enable it to land bites without having to remain stationary long.  The teeth of this particular scaled-up baboon (which would be much taller than the hippo at the shoulder at equal weights) would likely exceed 16 centimeters in length and could cause a lot of damage to the hippo's hide.  Even though one good chomp from the hippo's jaws would turn the tide, the baboon should be able to avoid this most of the time.  It won't be easy, but the baboon should pull this off.

3. Baboon troop as hunters (average olive baboon troop size is 20-50 (and occasionally over 100), so we'll use 50 individuals for the purpose of this set of questions.

troop of baboons with claws vs wildebeest: Assuming the troop is wired to hunt in a group (ala African wild dogs), they will have the physical ability to subdue the wildebeest.  Baboons are actually adept at leaping, and they could jump onto the antelope en masse, hold on with their claws, and bite repeatedly to induce blood loss & shock.  Wildebeests are no pushovers (and they can injure baboons with horns & hooves), but the sheer numbers advantage by the monkeys will be enough to get the job done.

troop of baboons with claws vs eland: Eland can weigh as much as 3 wildebeests, and will be a far more difficult task for the baboons.  Elands are agile & strong, and have long, sharp horns.  It will take a large percentage of the troop to overcome the eland, but using the same methods here as they would with the wildebeast, the baboons should pull it off.  There will be injuries to the troop without a doubt, but 50 baboons with claws & predatory intent will be favored.

troop of baboons with claws vs cape buffalo: This will be a tall order for the baboon troop.  Lions are successful at killing prey with a neck bite (to strangle) that aids in a quick finish once the lions control the movement of the prey.  The baboons don't have that ability.  They will need to collectively attack and hope to subdue the buffalo with a large accumulation of bites & claw attacks.  The powerful, aggressive Cape buffalo will use its horns to fiercely defend itself, and will trample any baboons in range of its hooves.  The baboons will need to commit to the job with the understanding and acceptance that troop members will perish in the attempt.  It will take a while to overcome the muscular bovid, but 2 tons of baboon determination will eventually cause enough blood loss to quell the Cape buffalo's resistance.  The baboons are capable of defeating the buffalo, but whether or not they would decide it was worth it to do so is another matter entirely.

troop of baboons with claws vs hippopotamus: It will take a lot of time and energy, but the baboons can take down the hippo with an accumulation of injuries.  They will be smart enough (and quick enough) to avoid the jaws of the hippo, and they'll be able to leap on its back & sides (and cling to it with their claws) to deliver bites.  The hippo is massive & powerful, and has a huge bite, but it will not have the ability to get the baboons off (unless it charges into the water).  The baboons won't be able to stop the hippo from escaping into the water, but if they catch the hippo away from the water's edge, they'll have a good chance of making it dinner.

4. Apex predator question

Q: Could these enhanced baboons, with their ferocious weaponry, intelligence, and cooperation, knock off lions as the apex predator group in their range in sufficient numbers?

A: These enhanced baboons will fill out a similar role as the hyena.  Hyenas (for a comparison) form huge clans, and enough of them can unseat a pride of lions from an area.  However, the lion is still considered to be higher up on the totem pole in comparison because most encounters between these 2 species favor the lion.  It would probably take at least 5 of these baboons to equal a lioness, and 8 or more to equal a lion (if the baboons chose to attack).  The baboons likely would avoid taking on a large pride of lions because of how easily a lion could kill a baboon (even one with claws).  The baboons wouldn't knock off the lions as the apex predator in a range, but they would get the better of a few encounters from time-to-time.

Best regards.  

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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.

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