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Interspecies Conflict/fights, fights, and comparisons....


which is more muscular, a lion or tiger?
which is larger on average hippo or elephant seal?
sun bear vs chimp
wolverine vs baboon
wolverine vs chimp
wolverine vs sun bear
2,000 lbs rodeo bull vs 2,200 lbs andrewsarchus
sun bear vs giant anteater
300 lbs black bear vs 290 lbs jaguar
american bison vs cape buffalo
1,700 lbs polar bear vs 1,700 lbs bison
850 lbs black bear vs 860 lbs musk ox
4,000 lbs great white shark vs 9,000 lbs elephant seal
3,000 saltwater croc vs elephant seal (9,000 lbs)
american lion vs grizzly bear at parity
850 lbs leopard seal vs 500 lbs bull shark

Hello Johnny.

Q: Which is more muscular, a lion or a tiger?
A: Lions are generally taller & shorter (in length) than tigers, and this gives them more of a "stockier" appearance.  The actual muscles of these cats are probably similar.  Muscles for strength are typically larger in size than muscles for power (strength + speed), but it doesn't mean they are better.  You can have muscles that are smaller and allow for more explosiveness, and you can have large muscles that aid in applying brute strength.  I've seen lions that appear to be more "built" than a particular tiger, and I've seen tigers that appear to be more "built" than a particular lion.  These animals are probably similar enough to make assigning "more muscular" to one an exercise in futility, and this can largely depend on each individual cat (and its particular muscle usage).  For example, a male tiger is a more active hunter than a male lion, but a male lion fights more (different ways of using muscle).    

Q: Which is larger on average, a hippo or an elephant seal?
A: The Southern elephant seal is larger than a hippopotamus on average (about 50% heavier), but the Northern elephant seal is only slightly larger than the hippo.  The elephant seal is longer than the hippo, and can easily rear up to look a human in the eye, but isn't as tall as a hippo when relaxing.  A hippo can exceed 5ft at the shoulder and can appear larger than many elephant seals due to its legs holding more of its body higher off the ground than the seal's body.  If size is to be determined by water displacement (if each animal was submerged in a tank of water, which would make the water rise more?), the Southern elephant seal would be larger than the hippo and the Northern elephant seal would be slightly larger (which corresponds with each animal's weight).  As they are both mammals and have no physical features (like armor) that would add to density, it's fair to assume the heavier animal will be the larger animal.

sun bear vs chimp: These animals will be similar in weight, but the sun bear is better armed (long, sharp claws).  The chimp will have an advantage in mobility, but it will find it difficult to cause significant injury to the bear before it gets slashed by the ursid's claws.  The sun bear can also use its paws to control the chimp and bite it (the chimp can do this too, but it's bite won't be as potent as the bear's).  The sun bear (with its thick, loose skin) can take more damage than the chimpanzee can.  Sun bear wins.

wolverine vs baboon: This depends on the species of baboon.  The wolverine will be stronger (pound-for-pound) and will be more resistant to injury than the monkeys.  However, the mobility & use of hands will be a good asset for the baboon.  Baboons have long, sharp upper canines that can cause serious injury to the wolverine after multiple bites are inflicted, but the baboon's body won't hold up well to the wolverine's claws & jaws.  Any baboon near the weight range of the wolverine will lose, but the larger Olive & Chacma baboons (as well as mandrills) will have the size & weaponry to defeat the wolverine on most occasions.

wolverine vs chimp: The chimpanzee will be 3 times heavier than the wolverine.  The chimp will have the advantage of being able to grab and bite from many angles, but will probably not have the know-how to effectively finish the mustelid.  The wolverine has strong claws, jaws that can crush bone, and tough skin, but it will find it difficult to overpower an ape of this size.  In a realistic encounter the wolverine would easily drive the chimp away, but in a fight to the finish the chimp would figure out how to utilize its physical advantages and prevail most of the time.  Chimpanzee wins.

wolverine vs sunbear: The sunbear will be over 3 times as heavy as the wolverine.  Wolverines are strong, fierce combatants, but the sun bear can match it in weaponry (jaws & claws).  Wolverines can handle themselves against many animals within their weight range and higher, but the sun bear will be large enough to outmatch it.  Sun bear wins.

2,000lb rodeo bull vs 2,200lb andrewsarchus: This will be a close fight.  The rodeo bull can make quick, violent turns to use its horns with great force, and has a solid, well-muscled body.  The andrewsarchus had a huge, bone-crushing bite that could cause quick injury to the bull with the right placement.  The robustness of the Andrewsarchus' body is somewhat a mystery, but the stockier version would probably have the strength to battle the bull long enough to land a finishing bite.  The more slender wolf-shaped version would have possibly have enough agility to land bites and avoid the bull's horns at the same time.  Either way it would be a good matchup, but I give the slight edge to the predatory Andrewsarchus.

sun bear vs giant anteater: The anteater will be about 60% the sun bear's weight.  Both have sharp claws that can be used to slash at adversaries.  The bear, however, has a bite it can use offensively and can take damage better due to its thick, loose skin.  The bear's paws can be used to grab & hold while it bites.  The giant anteater is known for valiantly defending itself against jaguars & pumas on occasion, but would lose this battle more times than not.  Sun bear wins.

300lb black bear vs 290lb jaguar: Black bears are strong animals, and have great endurance.  The jaguar is at the top of list among big cats in pound-for-pound strength, and has the highest bite force (in relation to body size) of any big cat.  The jaguar will have advantages in quickness, agility, and killing experience.  Tough fight for the jaguar, but it should be able to use its sharp claws to position itself for a bite (on the skull or the back of the neck) with its powerful jaws.  It won't be easy, but the jaguar should win.

american bison vs cape buffalo: The bison can max out at over a ton in weight, and the Cape buffalo seldom exceeds 3/4 of a ton.  The bison has a very robust neck and shoulder area (its body in front of its shoulders is close to the weight of its body behind the shoulders) and fights primarily by using its head as a battering ram.  The Cape buffalo is not as stocky, but is still a well-proportioned & powerful animal.  It is very aggressive, well-practiced in battling predators, and has horns that curve outward that it uses to gore adversaries with. At these weights the bison would dominate this encounter.  I would still favor the massive bison at parity, but only slightly so.

1,700lb polar bear vs 1,700lb bison: This will be a close fight.  Polar bears aren't used to taking on large, mobile adversaries (I don't consider walruses mobile).  Muskoxen have been taken, so the polar bear has to have a certain level of proficiency in this area.  Polar bears are extremely powerful, but a large bison will pose problems with its ramming head & horns.  The polar bear will likely try to grab onto the front of the bison (in an attempt to control the movement of the head & bring the bison down), and will need to do this without allowing the bison to pull away enough to create distance for a charge.  If the polar bear can hold on tight (and throw in a few bites), its endurance will buy it enough time to tire out the bovid and eventually topple it.  The bison can generate a lot of force with its head-butting (and break bones), but bears can fight through injury better than most other animals.  Very dangerous fight for the polar bear, but I give it the slight edge.

850lb black bear vs 860lb musk ox: The bear will have trouble toppling such a sturdy bovid, but with persistence (and endurance) and strong paw swipes it should be able to compete.  The bear's biggest problem will be getting out of the way of the charging muskox (which uses its head like a battering ram).  The bear can latch onto the muskox and apply multiple bites, but it probably won't have the know-how to keep the muskox from creating distance to strike the bear with its head.  I believe the bear has the physical ability to win this, but doesn't have the experience in doing so.  A persistent bear can win if it fights through injury, but realistically the muskox should be able to drive the bear away.  Close to 50/50.

4,000lb great white shark vs 9,000lb elephant seal: The seal will have greater mobility overall, but it's bite will have minimal effect on the shark without accumulation.  The shark's bite can easily breach the hide of the seal, and at that point the mammal will be in trouble (from blood loss).  The elephant seal won't have a way to dispatch the shark before taking bites itself, and that will bring its doom.  Great white shark wins.

3,000lb saltwater crocodile vs 9,000lb elephant seal: The saltwater crocodile has a massive bite force, but it will find it difficult to open its jaws wide enough to bite onto the elephant seal's huge body.  The crocodile might be able to latch onto a flipper or the tail, but the seal will have better maneuverability in the water and be able to avoid the croc's attack.  The elephant seal has a decent bite (can draw blood in fights with other seals), but it probably won't have a major effect on the crocodile's armored hide.  These 2 combatants probably won't have the ability to dispatch one another, but the elephant seal will dominate this encounter with mobility & superior size.  It will simply bully the crocodile into a retreat.

american lion vs grizzly bear (at parity): Big cats and grizzly bears are close at parity.  Bears have the advantages of endurance, strength, & durability.  Big cats have the advantages of quickness, agility, and killing know-how.  The lion will need to use its agility to get into a good position to land a killing bite, but the bear will have the ability to fight back regardless of where the lion latches on.  The lion will lose a prolonged battle, but I would favor it slightly on most occasions for having the ability to finish the bear better than the bear's ability to finish it.  Could go either way.

850lb leopard seal vs 500lb bull shark: Leopard seals are formidable hunters, and have impressive jaws & teeth.  The trump card for the seal here is mobility.  It will swim circles around the shark (sharks usually need ambush and aren't the greatest head-to-head fighters), and should be able to land bites while avoiding the shark's front end.  The shark will have a chance to land a bite if the leopard seal gets careless (and that might spell trouble for the seal), but at these weights I would confidently back the mammal.

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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