Interspecies Conflict/Some match ups


Dear Sir

Please predict the likely outcome in following fight scenarios. Weight(in kg) and gender are given in brackets. If not given please consider an average male individual.

1. Spotted hyena (F 60) vs Snow leopard (M 50)
2. Striped hyena (M 45) vs Snow leopard (M 45)
3. White Rhino ( F 2500) vs 2 Hippopotamus (M 2000 + F 1700)
4. African Lion Pride (1 Male, 190 + 3 Female, 130) vs Bengal Tiger Pair (M 230 + Female 175)
5. Jaguar (F 60) vs spotted hyena (F 75)
6. Grey wolf Alpha pair ( 60,50) vs Leopard (M 70)
7. Golden Eagle (F 6) vs Bald eagle (F 6)
8. Emu (M 50) vs Cassowary (F 55)
9. 3 Cassowary (F 55) vs ostrich (M 110)
10. Female Haast Eagle (F 13) vs following birds
   A. Andean condor pair
   B. harpy eagle pair
   C. Golden eagle Pair
11. cassowary (F 50) vs Baboon (M 40)

Hello, Ravi.

female spotted hyena (60kg) vs male snow leopard (50kg): This is a close fight.  It's basically durability, endurance, and a bone-crushing bite (hyena) vs quickness, agility, and sharp teeth & claws (snow leopard).  The snow leopard would use his superior mobility and speed to gain favorable positioning on the clumsier hyena, but the cat's jaws & claws would take time to make a serious dent in the hyena.  The snow leopard's best chance is to quickly secure a throat bite and hang on tight, but the threat of the hyena's jaws will make it difficult for the feline.  If the battle lasts more than a few minutes, the hyena will gain the advantage (the cat will tire).  However, snow leopards are superb hunters and know how to quickly dispatch animals much heavier than themselves.  In a normal confrontation, the hyena will send the cat packing, but in a fight to the death the snow leopard will have the slightest of edges.

male striped hyena (45kg) vs male snow leopard (45kg): Another close contest.  Striped hyenas have strong bites and are probably the fiercest hyena species, but they are not as formidable pound-for-pound as the spotted hyena.  Their builds are not as robust.  Against a snow leopard of equal weight, the striped hyena will lose most of the time in a fight to the finish.  In a normal situation, as with the above matchup, the hyena will intimidate the snow leopard into a retreat.

female white rhino (2500kg) vs male hippo (2000kg) + female hippo (1700kg):  Rhinoceroses on land are much more capable combatants than hippopotamuses due to tougher hide, thicker limbs (that allow for more powerful charges and movements), and better weaponry.  The rhino can utilize its horn in a much more effective manner than a hippo can utilize its tusks while on land.  The heavy, rotund bodies (with comparatively small legs) of the hippo are much better suited for shallow water (where their great weight will be buoyed).  If these 2 hippos coordinated their assault the way wolves & African wild dogs do, they might have an outside chance to pull this off, but that's not what hippos do.  The rhino may receive some injuries, but it should be able to dispatch both hippos before any serious damage is inflicted.  

male lion (190kg) + 3 lionesses (130kg each) vs male tiger (230kg) + tigress (175kg): This won't be easy, but the lions should prevail.  The 190kg lion and one of the lionesses should be able to edge out the 230kg tiger, and the remaining 2 lionesses should edge out the tigress.  Another possibility is the 190kg lion taking out the 175kg tigress, and the 3 lionesses having a go at the male tiger.  The lionesses might not be able to prevail every time against this huge tiger (probably would lose most of the time), but the male lion's win over the smaller tigress would more than swing the advantage back to the lions.  Lions are great at teamwork, and they should be able to squeak by with a win.

female jaguar (60kg) vs female spotted hyena (75kg): The jaguar is probably the best-suited cat to take on a spotted hyena due to its stocky build, great strength, killing instinct, and powerful bite (top-ranked among big cats pound-for-pound).  Even though the hyena is larger, she is not as quick & agile as the feline.  The jaguar will be able to control the hyena with her paws & claws, and use her quickness to clamp onto the hyena's head with a vice-like grip.  The jaguar's use of claws and forelimbs is key here.  The cat may get bit, but she should be able to get this done.

2 grey wolves (60kg + 50kg) vs male leopard (70kg): It won't be easy, but the wolves can win this with the right strategy.  If they attack with bites from different sides, they can keep the leopard off-balance and eventually fatigue it.  Wolves have better endurance than leopards, but they only have their bites to use offensively.  The leopard may choose to attack one wolf right off the bat and injure it enough to make the fight a one-on-one, but wolves work well enough together to make this difficult (the other wolf will bite the leopard from behind as it attacks the other wolf).  The leopard's superior quickness and weaponry give it a chance to injure one of the wolves early on as they try to attack, and there's no guarantee the wolves will strategize as well as they need to pull this off.  Leopards are accustomed to dealing with the more powerful hyena, so this should help its cause in this battle.  In a realistic encounter the leopard will be able to drive the wolves away to find an easier adversary, but in a fight to the finish it's close to 50/50.

female golden eagle (6kg) vs female bald eagle (6kg): Golden eagles are very aggressive & bold (they rarely back down to others at a carcass/kill).  They are also very skilled fliers.  This gives them the slight edge over the bald eagle at equal weights.

male emu (50kg) vs female cassowary (55kg): The cassowary is widely regarded as the world's most dangerous bird.  Its kicks can cause grievous wounds to an adversary.  The normally shy cassowary can be very aggressive when provoked.  An emu is no joke itself (very strong legs), but overall it's not quite on par with the cassowary.

3 female cassowaries (55kg each) vs male ostrich (110kg): The cassowaries will run into problems when taking on the larger ostrich.  Their kicks will not be able to adequately reach the body of the ostrich at a high rate, but their bodies will be right in range of the powerful kicks of the taller bird.  The ostrich's kicks will land solidly more often that the cassowary's kicks will.  The cassowaries can win, but the ostrich is favored here.

female haast's eagle (13kg) vs 2 Andean condors: Condors are not built to fight, and their talons are much, much weaker than the eagle's.  The Haast's eagle will systematically dispatch them both.

female haast's eagle (13kg) vs 2 harpy eagles: The Haast's eagle is the giant among raptors, but the smaller harpy eagles will be a bit quicker, and there's 2 of them.  The harpy eagles are very powerful in their own right, and they should be able to defeat the larger Haast's eagle if they work as a team.

female haast eagle (13kg) vs 2 golden eagles: The golden eagles might be able to harass the larger Haast's eagle, but they are each less than 1/3rd of its weight.  In a fight to the finish, the Haast's eagle might be too big, but the skillful flying and better speed may be enough for the smaller eagles to prevail if they work as a team and don't let up.  Could go either way.

female cassowary (50kg) vs baboon (40kg): This is one of those situations where what an animal is physically capable of doing and what that same animal will actually do may be 2 different things.  A baboon has the ability to leap upon the cassowary (clearing the dangerous kicks in the process), grab onto it with its hands, and finish it with a bite with those long upper canines.  However, the more likely mode of attack for the baboon (which hasn't had exposure to cassowaries) is to go straight in (perhaps barrel into it) and try to land a bite on the cassowary's body or neck.  If the baboon does this, it will likely get kicked and injured.  The baboon has the mobility to avoid the kicks if it doesn't charge straight in, but it would need to be careful.  The baboon has the physical tools to easily win this, but its inexperience dealing with cassowaries will work against it.  If it can knock the bird over, it can win, but it's likely the cassowary's kicks will find their mark.  If the baboon can get close enough to grab the cassowary, it can drag it to the ground and finish it.  One of the more robust baboon species (olive/mandrill) would probably prevail at these weights, but the other ones probably would be disabled by a kick or 2.  Close to 50/50 for all baboons collectively, but the more powerful species are favored.

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.