Interspecies Conflict/sharks and swipes


If a rhino was the same size as a rhino, would its headbutt still be deadlier?
Caribbean Reef Shark v Goliath Tigerfish
big horn sheep vs mountain gorilla
water monitor vs honey badger
polar bear vs cape buffalo
hyena vs dire wolf
Leopard Seal v Largetooth Sawfish
Common Warthog v Ostrich
polar bear vs cape buffalo
hyena vs anaconda
leopard vs deinonychus

approximately, how strong is the impact of these animals' headbutts?
bighorn sheep

approximately, how strong in pounds is the impact of these animals paw swipes?
polar bear
gorilla (i am fairly certain they do not "swipe", but how strong is a punch, or a downward smash?)

Hello Johnny.

Q: If a rhino was the same size as a bison, would its headbutt still be deadlier?
A: Yes.  Even though its headbutt wouldn't be an actual dome-of-the-skull impact on its adversary, the presence of the long horn (combined with the strength of the animal) would make the collision deadlier than one a bison could produce at equal weights.


Caribbean Reef Shark v Goliath Tigerfish: The Caribbean reef shark will weigh approximately 40% more than the goliath tigerfish.  The reef shark can make quick movements to either side to land a bite (and will likely do so), and its teeth can slice into another fish quite easily.  The tigerfish has long, pointed teeth that are spaced out a bit, and are perfect for securing struggling fish by penetrating their bodies like little spears.  Because of the its larger size & teeth better suited for creating an avulsion, the shark will probably prevail most of the time.  Caribbean reef shark wins.

Bighorn sheep vs Mountain gorilla: The bighorn sheep will be about 60% of the gorilla's weight.  The gorilla has the physical ability to easily overpower the bighorn sheep, but it won't have the experience to effectively do so.  The bighorn sheep will likely try to headbutt the gorilla (and this can injure the ape), but the grabbing & biting the gorilla will be instinctively doing to counter this will likely knock the sheep over.  Neither animal is typically aggressive without being provoked, and any realistic confrontation might be much ado about nothing.  Because of the greater size & strength the gorilla brings to the table, it will probably find itself in a more advantageous position than the bighorn sheep as the battle goes on.  Mountain gorilla wins.

Water monitor vs Honey badger: This depends on the size assigned to each animal, but typically the water monitor will weigh almost 50% more.  Water monitors can be fierce, and will readily fight tooth & claw (and with their long tail).  Honey badgers have a reputation for being fearless.  They have very thick skin that affords them protection during conflicts, and will also use sharp claws & a strong bite.  The honey badger will have an advantage in mobility & endurance (which will be key), and it will be able to wound the lizard easier than the lizard can wound it.  Not an easy battle for the honey badger, but it should be able to prevail here.  Honey badger wins.

Polar bear vs Cape buffalo: These animals will be close to the same weight, and the polar bear's shoulder height (when on all fours) will be about 90% the height of the Cape buffalo.  Even though they aren't used to tackling large, mobile prey (the muskox being the exception), they have the tools to pull this off.  The bear's large paws and incredible strength will give it some control as it latches onto the front of the bovid (to neutralize the horns and force the bovid to the ground).  Bears have great endurance, and this will come into play during a prolonged struggle.  The buffalo will be attempting to gore the bear, but the bear's robust build can take a lot of abuse without it slowing down.  This will be a very close fight because the buffalo's mobility and horn thrusts will be problematic, but a determined polar bear will have the edge.  Slight edge to polar bear.

Hyena vs Dire wolf: The dire wolf will be slightly heavier (12% or so) than the hyena (assuming it is a spotted one).  Both animals will have very strong bite forces.  The hyena is very durable, but the dire wolf will probably have an advantage in agility.  Dire wolves are built stockier than today's grey wolves (and have shorter legs).  At equal weights this would likely be a toss-up; at these weights the dire wolf wins.

Leopard Seal v Large-tooth Sawfish: The large-tooth sawfish will weigh a little more than the leopard seal.  The seal will have greater mobility in the water, but it will need to land numerous bites to subdue the sawfish.  The sawfish's rostrum (protrusion on snout) can seriously injure the leopard seal with a direct hit, and the chances of the mammal getting struck while it tries to attack are rather good.  Large-tooth sawfish wins.

Common Warthog v Ostrich: These animals will weigh about the same.  The ostrich has dangerous kicks that can cause serious injury to an attacker, and the warthog has long tusks that can be used to gore & slash an adversary.  A charge from the warthog can topple the bird, and the warthog's chances to finish will be great if it does so.  The ostrich has a chance to win with a well-placed kick, but it can only kick forward.  The weaponry of the suid can be used in a more diversified manner, and this will give it the edge on most occasions.  Warthog wins.

Hyena vs Anaconda: The hyena (if spotted) will be about 35-40% of the anaconda's weight.  Anacondas are tremendous ambush predators, but are poor combatants on land when faced with a large, mobile animal.  The anaconda's lack of mobility & endurance serve to short-circuit its effectiveness in confrontations on land.  The hyena is somewhat ungainly, and getting bitten by the snake is a possibility, but it has bone-crushing jaws that can do damage to an anaconda over the course of the fight.  The anaconda will try to latch onto the hyena with its jaws (to create an anchoring point), and pull itself toward the mammal to begin the coiling process.  The hyena will need to wear the anaconda down with bites before this process gets too far along (if the anaconda can secure a couple of coils around the hyena, it won't have a means of escape) and counter-attack until the snake tires out.  This fight could go either way.  The anaconda should be able to land a bite; it will need to hold on & coil before it tires out.  The hyena may be able to keep the anaconda's jaws from staying attached as it uses its own bite, and will need to continue to do so until the snake succumbs to fatigue.  I would probably favor an anaconda over a brown hyena or a striped hyena, but the more powerful spotted hyena is a good match for it.  50/50.

Leopard vs Deinonychus: The leopard will weigh about 25% more than the Deinonychus.  The ability to leap upon the dinosaur will be a great asset for the cat in this battle.  The leopard is quick & agile, and will probably be able to avoid any serious damage from the slashing kicks of the Deinonychus as it mounts its offense.  The leopard will latch onto the dinosaur (and possibly knock it to the ground) and sink in a throat bite.  As long as the leopard is careful, it should prevail most of the time.  Leopard wins.

Impact of headbutts (this is approximate; variables include the weight of the animal, the strength of the animal, the speed of the impact, description of the impact surface, & the amount of surface area making contact during impact)

elephant: A 6-ton elephant running at 10mph would create quite an impact with its head (with or without tusks).  It would be at least 5,592lbs (using mass x acceleration = force), but likely much higher depending on how the other variables are factored in.  

rhinoceros: Probably similar to the elephant at 4,660lbs (doesn't weigh as much, but charges faster).  An impact with the tip of the horn would rate very high if pounds per square inch was calculated.

bison: 2,055lbs probably would be a reasonable estimate (a faster charge would increase this number).

bighorn sheep: The speed of the collision (although it starts slow) is actually very fast; a 280lb animal that does this all the time could feasibly produce over 1,000lbs of force (and perhaps much higher).

Impact of paw swipes (this is not my forte; these answers are approximate)

polar bear: Probably around 1,500lbs of force; possibly much greater

tiger: Probably around 500lbs of force; possibly much greater

gorilla: Probably around 450lbs (won't have the speed of the bear or the cats); possibly much greater

jaguar: Probably between 350-375lbs of force; possibly much greater

leopard: Probably around 220lbs of force; possibly much greater

* These may be much lower than they actually are, I say this because a boxer (like Earnie Shavers) can reportedly throw a punch with over 750lbs of force & wild animals are typically much stronger than humans.  I'm not really sure about these.

Best regards.  

Interspecies Conflict

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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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