Interspecies Conflict/island of battle


QUESTION: If cougars and leopards lived in the same habitat, can they co-exist or will one out compete the other? If so, which one?
I will create an island. The center will be an inactive volcano, surrounded by swamp. Most of the island will grassland with patches of shrub forest. The north will be a forest, similar to those of Europe. Even further to the north is a mountain range. The forest and mountain range will be much colder than the other areas, the mountains being snowy. There is desert in the south that is moderately hot. Rocky coast. Rivers that feed into all parts.  Can you rate from 1-100 how plentiful the following animals will be, how they will live, and who they will come into conflict with. Lets say there is enough plants for all the herbivores.
most notable Animals: Wolf, hyena, camel, african wild dog, coyote, lion, tiger, jaguar, leopard, cougar, sun bear, sloth bear, black bear, brown bear, wildebeest, zebra, elk, moose, antelope, ses lion, koala, sloth, caiman, crocodile, alligator, gharial, gaur, bison, cape buffalo, galapagos tortoise, dingo, lynx, snow leopard, mountain goat, big horn sheep, honey badger, wolverine, horse, wild boar, cheetah, warthog, dire wolf, giraffe, red fox, kangaroo, tree wallaby, clouded leopard, serval, margay, tree monitor, caracal, anaconda, electric eel, bull shark, komodo dragon, jackal, racoon, river otter, piranha, hary eagle, golden eagle, bad eagle, hippo, capybara
gorilla vs anaconda
komodo dragon vs king cobra
i'm goind to create an animal the "devil giraffe". 3,000 pounds, 15 feet tall, much more agile than real giraffes. Has Spikes on the side of its head, and fights by swing its head like a mace. Black with red eyes.
Devil giraffe vs gaur

ANSWER: Hello Johnny.

Q: If cougars and leopards lived in the same habitat, can they co-exist or will one out compete the other?
A: They would likely co-exist, much like jaguars & cougars co-exist or lions & leopards co-exist.  There would be conflicts if the 2 met, of course, but mutual avoidance might be the more prominent action.  As with the other cats, they would use their specialized methods of hunting to carve out their respective niches in the habitat they share.  Both animals are successful hunters, and it's unlikely one would out-compete the other.

Island habitat:  There's a lot of variables to consider with 64 animals being placed on an island together.  The ranking of how plentiful they will be can't reasonably be done because there's nothing to base it on unless all current populations of each are used.  Man has interfered greatly with the natural order of things in the animal kingdom, and the true populations of animals today (or how they should be) are not close to how they would otherwise be.  Once a certain amount of each animal is put on this island, their population down the road will be determined by interspecies interactions, frequency & size of offspring produced, average life span, etc., & this can't be nailed down hypothetically.  The animals would gravitate to the habitats that are most like the ones they currently live in on our planet.  Another thing to consider will be the size of the island.  With so many apex predators included, there will need to be plenty of space so these creatures aren't on top of one another.  The island would need to be huge (larger than Antarctica) if a decent amount of each animal is placed upon it.  Each animal on our planet has evolved to survive where it is, and it would take years of evolution for them to adapt to dealing with a new influx of animals.  The dilemma we current face with invasive species demonstrates this point.  Reticulated & Burmese pythons have been introduced to the Everglades (mostly by irresponsible pet owners) recently, and the animals therein haven't evolved to defend themselves against large constrictors.  This is throwing the ecosystem out of balance, and the ultimate outcome won't be a natural process.  Another example is where cats were introduced to a habitat to help control the rat population, and the cats attacked the ground-dwelling birds & induced their eradication.  Depending on the size of this island, many of the listed species put upon it will be in contact with something they aren't equipped to deal with (because evolution hasn't prepared them for it).  Consider the komodo dragon - it has been the unrivaled apex predator in various isolated locations due to the absence of other formidable predators.  If another large carnivore species (like wolves, hyenas, etc.) was introduced to the islands the komodo inhabits, the lizards would probably be wiped out rather quickly.  On this island habitat proposed here, the komodo dragon would likely come into contact with a large variety of animals that could push it to extinction.  Because there are so many animal interactions to consider, I can't feasibly provide detail on each of them.  I will list each animal & include information that is most prominent regarding it (with the assumption no humans inhabit this island).  If you need any greater detail on a specific matchup, send a follow-up & I'll see what I can do!

Wolf: Will be one of the more successful species with the advantage of a pack & adaptability to live in various temperatures.

Hyena: Advantages of a clan; can scavenge as well as predate.

Camel: Living is arid regions will keep them from having too many dangerous interactions, but some of the more adaptable canids may pose problems.

African wild dog: Advantages of a pack.  Should be quite successful.

Coyote: Some safety in numbers, but larger canids (and possibly hyenas) may cause trouble for it.

Lion: Will have a large range on the grasslands, and the formation of the pride will ensure its dominance in most situations.

Tiger: Will stick to the forest (and scrub forest) primarily.  Will have problems with bears & canid packs on occasion, but is crafty enough to carve out its niche.

Jaguar: This carnivore is used to being an apex predator, and will now face competition from other apex predators (canid packs, bears, lions) & adapting may be difficult.

Leopard: Very versatile hunter (climbing trees is a plus), and should manage despite the new arrivals.

Cougar: Usually elusive & stealthy, should be able to manage, but will have harder challenges.

Sun bear: May have trouble dealing with canid groups, larger bears, & big cats.

Sloth bear: Canid packs & tigers will be menaces.

Black bear: Should be OK for the most part, but larger bears & interactions with tigers will be problematic.

Brown bear: Will usually be the apex predators of the apex predators, but will have problems with lion prides (though meeting won't be common due to habitat) & large canid groups from time-to-time.

Wildebeest: Basically a lunchbox with horns.

Zebra: Basically a lunchbox with stripes.

Elk: Wolves, bears, tigers, etc., will be dangers.

Moose: Bears, wolves, & tigers adapted to the cold (as a Siberian tiger would be) will be dangers.

Antelope: Will need to be very plentiful to survive.  Speed & alertness will be paramount.

Sea lion: Should be OK as long as a large body of water is accessible.

Koala bear: These creatures don't deal with predators that climb, but now they will.  Not a good outlook for the koala.

Sloth: Will be in danger of predators that climb, and there will be several of them.  Not a great outlook.

Caiman: Should be OK overall, but will have to deal with larger crocodilians (and its old friend the jaguar).

Crocodile: Will be successful; dangers it faces will not threaten its extinction.

Alligator: Should be successful like the crocodile.

Gharial: Having a water source with plenty of fish will be important; may have trouble with larger crocodilians.

Gaur: Bovids in groups should be OK, but big cats, bears, & large groups of carnivores will be threats.

Bison: Same as with gaur.

Cape buffalo: Same as with gaur.

Galapogos tortoise: Have survived many years without predatory threats, and would quickly be eradicated after a short exposure on this island.

Dingo: Would carve out a niche similar to the other wild canids, but would likely be pushed out of many areas by wolves, hyenas, & African wild dogs.

Lynx: Will live in the forests & snowy areas.  Bears, wolves, snow leopards, & wolverines would be possible dangers, but this elusive cat should do OK overall.

Snow leopard: The cold climate will offer protection to some degree, but brown bears, Siberian tigers, & wolves would be dangers to it.  Mountainous regions are generally a safe haven for this cat.

Mountain goat: Snow leopards & wolves (if encounter is on relatively flat land) will pose problems.

Bighorn sheep: Same as with mountain goat.

Honey badger: Can dig dens for refuge, but will have a larger variety of threats (mainly canid packs).

Wolverine: Cold regions will offer some protection, but will deal with Siberian tigers, cougars, bears, & possibly the snow leopard (which might be mutual avoidance).

Horse: Will have a large range, but will have multiple dangers in each of them.  Won't be able to adapt fast enough to deal with some of them (like lion prides & canid groups).

Wild Boar: Very adaptable & widespread.  Should be one of the more successful herbivores, but will be a prey item for something everywhere it goes.

Cheetah: Has the speed to escape adversaries, but will have major problems keeping a kill from the introduced pack animals.  May be in trouble.

Warthog: Will be a common prey item, but should be OK overall.  Digs dens for refuge.

Dire wolf: Depending on pack size, will be successful & dangerous to others.  

Giraffe: Will be large enough to survive some predatory encounters, but there are a lot of carnivores that group together that will always be a threat.

Red fox: This crafty, opportunist predator should be OK in the forest or scrub forest habitats, but will need to avoid larger predators.

Kangaroo: Big cats will quickly reduce the numbers of these marsupials (which don't have large felids to deal with in Australia).

Tree wallaby: Cats that can climb will pose a real danger to this animal's existence.

Clouded leopard: This agile cat's ability to climb trees will give it a safe haven from some predators, but the presence of leopards & black bears will create a concern.

Serval: This fast, agile cat will have trouble with canid packs, but should be alert enough to survive.

Margay: As with the clouded leopard, the trees will be a haven.  Larger climbing predators will be a concern.

Tree monitor: Climbing cats will be a big problem.

Caracal: Same as with serval.

Anaconda: Will face crocodilians in the water & canid packs on land (on occasion).  Should be OK as long as water is close by.

Electric eel: This creature will be just fine.  As long as it is alert, its 600+ volt charge will enable it to capture prey & repel enemies.

Bull shark: Will feast on smaller aquatic animals, but will have trouble with large crocodilians.  Should be OK.

Komodo dragon: Like the Galapagos tortoise, will face predators that it's not equipped to defend against.  Won't have a good chance to survive.

Jackal: Same as with the fox.

Raccoon: Will be OK if alert & near trees.

River otter: Should be OK within a water source with its great agility, but will need to be wary of crocodilians, bull sharks, & anacondas.  Any long walks on land will be hazardous.

Piranha: Will be able to adapt well.  Can eat a variety of prey, and dangers will include electric eels & otters.

Harpy eagle: Will have success on this island.  Nests may be vulnerable at times, but adults will have a variety of prey items to choose from.

Golden eagle: Same as with harpy eagle, harpy eagle may be a threat if habitats overlap.  Will eat carrion.

Bald eagle: Same as with golden eagle; harpy eagle may be a threat if habitats overlap.

Hippopotamus: Will be successful near rivers.  Will only have serious threats when venturing out on land (primarily from big cats).

Capybara: Will face problems from introduced canid packs & large felids.  Usual threats will still be present (anaconda, caiman, jaguar).

gorilla vs anaconda: The gorilla will typically weigh more than the anaconda (around 15%), but a parity battle would be possible on some occasions.  Anacondas are great ambush predators, but don't fare well on land face-to-face against other large animals (due to poor mobility & stamina) without the use of a surprise attack. Gorillas have a natural fear of snakes, but let's assume this conflict is one of mutual necessity.  On land, without an ambush, the gorilla would have a good chance of crushing the snake's comparatively delicate head and would be strong enough to keep the anaconda from gaining too much headway with its coils.  With an ambush, it would depend on how fast the snake could apply the coils before the gorilla began to violently fight back.  If the coils don't work themselves around the ape's body in a short amount of time, the ensuing struggle will tire the reptile.  If the ambush is ideal and the snake wraps a couple of times or more around the gorilla's body, the gorilla is in trouble.  If the gorilla remained calm and systematically & correctly pulled at the coils to effect his release, I think it would be strong enough to do so (unless the coiling process was complete and the squeezing had begun).  The problem is whether or not the gorilla will know how to do this correctly in its panic-induced state. For example, if it grabs a coil that latched on left-to-right and starts pulling to the right, he will not be using force in the correct direction to obtain freedom.  It's all about what he will know to do.  As long as he's not coiled tight enough to began affecting his body functions, he has the physical ability to free himself.  It's doubtful, however, that he has the know-how to free himself.  In shallow water the anaconda can move more freely and won't tire as quickly.  The same rules apply here as on land; face-to-face the gorilla can subdue the snake before it gains ground, and an ambush would depend on the positioning and how advanced it got.  The gorilla's chances decrease here, however, as apes don't do well in water.  Edge to gorilla on land (assuming it doesn't panic); anaconda wins if water is involved (in deep water the gorilla is toast).

komodo dragon vs king cobra: The komodo dragon will weigh several times more than the king cobra, but the size won't be as relevant as the weaponry each animal possesses.  The king cobra's venom isn't as potent as some venomous snakes that exist, but the huge amount of venom the cobra can inject (2nd largest venom yield after the gaboon viper) is what makes this snake so lethal.  It can inject enough venom to dispatch a bull elephant, so it's reasonable to assume the effect a bite would have on a komodo dragon weighing 1/80th as much wouldn't be good.  The komodo dragon has a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth (1" in length but somewhat buried in the gumline) and would easily be able to kill the cobra within seconds of contact with it by tearing it apart.  However, the fate of the komodo would depend on whether or not the king cobra was able to land a counter-bite as soon as the lizard latched onto it.  The chances of the komodo dragon escaping envenomation aren't good, and unless is has a level of immunity that hasn't been made known, it will be in trouble soon after defeating the snake.  Most animals that live with the king cobra wisely give it a wide berth (including elephants & lions), but the komodo dragon, having never seen one, will likely charge right on in for what it perceives to be an easy meal.  Therefore, the komodo dragon will easily win this battle, but will probably succumb to the effects of the cobra's venom afterwards.

devil giraffe vs gaur: A large bull gaur can weigh close to the weight of the devil giraffe, but will typically weigh a bit less.  However, the devil giraffe will find it hard to deal with the charge & subsequent impact produced by the attacking gaur.  Gaurs are muscular & powerful, and can topple a giraffe (which has a high center of gravity) by driving into it.  A 3,000lb giraffe that is only 15ft tall will be quite stocky, though, and it may have a chance to land a good kick or neck swing to a vital area on the bovid.  The enhanced agility of this giraffe will be a good asset (a regular giraffe would get creamed by a gaur).  A 3,000lb devil giraffe might give a 2,200lb gaur a run for its money, but a parity fight will favor the gaur more times than not.

Best regards.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Can you compare the mobility and agility of a wolf vs that of a spotted hyena?
would the colossal squid's ink affect the outcome in a fight with titanoboa?
Can an anaconda crush turtle shells?
How can any of the predators listed threaten a galapagos turtle when its shell offers protection?
Caracal VS bobcat
Eurasian lynx with rabies vs game bred pitbull
Eurasian lynx vs dingo
Eurasian Lynx vs clouded leopard
Afrrican wild dog vs coyote
clouded leopard vs wolverine
jaguar vs thylacosmilus
puma vs mountain gorilla
Eurasian Lynx vs African wild dog
Striped Hyena vs Eurasian lynx
Red kangaroo vs bighorn sheep

Hello again Johnny.

Q: Can you compare the mobility and agility of a wolf vs that of a spotted hyena?
A: Wolves have better lateral movement (side-to-side & front-to-back/back-to-front movements are quicker), and hyenas are somewhat ungainly in comparison.  A hyena is more robustly built than the wolf, the front legs are more powerful than the back ones, and this compromises its mobility & agility when compared to the nimble wolf.  The hyena is not incapable of making quick lunges & turns, it's just not as adept at these motions as a wolf.  A question I answered back on 10/22/2013 describes a fight between a spotted hyena & a grey wolf, and I mention some of these things there.

Q: Would the colossal squid's ink affect the outcome in a fight with titanoboa?
A: The ink of the squid is used primarily as a "smoke screen" to allow the cephalopod to escape a dangerous encounter.  It might keep Titanoboa from locating it temporarily if it wanted to counter-attack, but it will have trouble overpowering the huge snake regardless of where it latched on.

Q: Can an anaconda crush turtle shells?
A: The anaconda's killing technique isn't crushing, but it probably has the power to crush smaller shells if the turtles aren't in them.  A turtle with a shell, if constricted, would have some "give" in the soft parts of its body that would prevent the shell from being crushed, but the shell would be forcibly pressed against the turtle's body by the force of the squeeze.  A large shell (like an alligator snapper's) would easily hold up against the coils of an anaconda (but the turtle could still be killed).  The muscular coils of an anaconda are powerful enough to suffocate a horse, but the strength applied is only enough to accomplish the kill & not crush the victim.  I wouldn't rule it out, but there's really not a circumstance where an anaconda can wrap up a turtle and crush its shell.  If an anaconda hypothetically wrapped up a box turtle's shell without the turtle in it, it might be possible, but very unlikely with the turtle in it.

Q: How can any of the predators listed threaten a galapagos turtle when its shell offers protection?
A: The head & legs of a Galapogos tortoise aren't protected entirely by the shell & their slow speed would make them vulnerable to a quick predator that could bite the exposed areas & the tortoise would not be able to defend itself.

Caracal vs Bobcat: The caracal will be slightly heavier than the bobcat (up to 20%).  Both cats have similar attributes, but the bobcat is known for its ferocity.  In a realistic encounter the bobcat will probably drive the caracal away, but a determined caracal would be favored with a slight weight advantage.  At parity I favor the bobcat, at the weight ratio given here I would slightly favor the caracal.

Eurasian lynx with rabies vs Game-bred pitbull: The Eurasian lynx will weigh about 35% more than the pitbull.  The rabies might induce the lynx to fight with total abandon, but it will have a difficult time dealing with the strong jaws & powerful build of the canine.  The pitbull will rush in immediately & latch onto the lynx with its jaws (usually face or head area is targeted) and use its muscular body to make violent movements to induce tissue damage & blood loss.  The lynx can use it claws (especially the back ones) to great effect with the right positioning, but depending on where the dog clamps his jaws, the lynx's movement in a counter-attack might be compromised by where the canid is attached (and the pitbull will continue to battle despite any injuries it receives).  The better endurance of the pitbull will favor it in a prolonged battle.  The lynx has the agility & quickness to get into a good position some of the time, and it can subdue the smaller pitbull if everything falls into place, but the odds will be against it.  Edge to game-bred pitbull.

Eurasian lynx vs Dingo: The Eurasian lynx can double the weight of the dingo.  Dingoes have one weapon (its bite) to bring to the arena, but it does have better endurance than the lynx.  The lynx will have the quickness & agility to gain a superior position on the dingo, and can use its paws to control the movements of the canid.  A Eurasian lynx is capable of killing animals larger than itself, and it can subdue the dingo with a neck bite or a rapid claw attack.  Eurasian lynx wins.

Eurasian Lynx vs Clouded leopard: The clouded leopard will weigh about 3/5th the weight of the lynx.  The clouded leopard has long, sharp upper canines that can quickly end the fight, but the size of the lynx will allow it to control the positioning of this battle well enough to keep this from happening on most occasions.  Close fight, but the lynx has the edge.

African wild dog vs Coyote: An African wild dog is the second largest wild member of the canid family (after the wolf), and can be about 30% heavier than a large coyote.  African wild dogs hunt large prey in a pack, and have developed very strong jaws muscles to effectively hang onto struggling prey.  They deal with a variety of competition on the African plains (including lions, leopards, hyenas, & baboons) and are accustomed to combat.  Coyotes have more slender snouts and less robust head & neck areas.  An African wild dog is a bit out of the coyote's league (and would defeat a coyote at parity).  African hunting dog wins.
Clouded leopard vs Wolverine: On average the wolverine will be about 75% of the clouded leopard's weight.  The wolverine is robust, very strong for its size, has a crushing bite, and has good endurance.  The clouded leopard has the edge in quickness & agility and sports long upper canines in its jaws.  At average sizes I favor the clouded leopard as its bite has the ability to end this fight quickly, but the fierce wolverine would probably prevail at equal weights.  Very close; edge to clouded leopard.

Jaguar vs Thylacosmilus: These animals are similar in weight.  Both have the ability to finish a fight quickly (jaguar with skull/spine bite; Thylacosmilus with long, upper canines).  The jaguar is the strongest modern cat pound-for-pound, and it likely has enough strength to compete with the Thylacosmilus in a battle for position.  Very close fight; probably 50/50.

Puma vs Mountain gorilla: The gorilla will be about twice the puma's weight.  The puma will have some advantages in this fight, including agility, quickness, use of paws & claws, & killing experience.  However, a gorilla is brutally strong, and had grabbing hands & long, powerful arms than can help dictate the positioning of the battle or deliver blows to the felid's body.  The bite of the gorilla is dangerous as well.  The claws of the puma can certainly cause significant damage to the gorilla's hide, but the overall offense of the much larger ape will usually be enough to deter the cat more times than not.  Edge to mountain gorilla.

Eurasian Lynx vs African wild dog: The Eurasian lynx will weigh about 10% more than the African wild dog.  The African wild dog has the lateral quickness to land several bites with its strong jaws against the agile lynx, but the lynx's use of paws & claws will enable it to control the positioning once the animals engage.  The claws of the lynx (especially the back ones) can cause a lot of damage to the canid, and will likely deter it in most realistic encounters.  The African wild dog has better endurance, but the Eurasian lynx has the tools & finishing know-how to succeed here more times than not.  Edge to Eurasian lynx.

Striped Hyena vs Eurasian lynx: The striped hyena will weigh slightly more than the Eurasian lynx.  The striped hyena is a tough, feisty combatant with a very strong bite.  The lynx will have the advantage of speed & claws, but it will have a hard time inflicting enough damage to finish this fight before it tires out & succumbs to the hyena's bite.  The Eurasian lynx might succeed in driving a striped hyena away in a realistic encounter, but a battle to the finish will favor the hyena.  Edge to striped hyena.

Red kangaroo vs Bighorn sheep: The bighorn sheep will weigh about 40% more than the red kangaroo.  This will be a horns vs kicks battle.  The bighorn sheep fights other males of its species by ramming horns together (sometimes by starting from a standing position), and can generate a lot of force with this action.  Kangaroos have powerful kicks that can injure attackers, but might have trouble defending themselves against an attack aimed at their upper bodies.  Each animal has the weaponry to injure the other & finish the fight, but the greater lateral movement (and size) of the bighorn sheep will afford it more opportunities to do so.  Bighorn sheep wins.

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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