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Interspecies Conflict/Rating groups of animals


Hey BK

I have split animals into groups and was wondering if you could give your opinion on them, whether one of the animals in the group is out matched completely against the others or if one would be too dominate etc. also rank them as you've done in the past. Thank you

Wildlife wars

Group 1

Giant panda

Group 2

Sloth bear
Black bear

Group 3

Bear dog
American lion
Grizzly bear
Polar bear
Cape buffalo

Group 4

Short faced bear

Hello Martin.

As with the other lists I've done, there will be some animals ranked above others that might defeat it, but will be better suited to take on a larger variety of animals (which would be the reason for the higher ranking).  An example I've used in the past is hippo, bear, & tiger.  Hippo defeats bear with ease, but would have difficulty with the tiger.  However, the bear defeats the tiger.  It's not easy to make an exact ranking, but I'll do the best I can based on each animal's overall performance against others in the group.  This is assuming each animal is going to fight (regardless of how it might react realistically).

Group 1

1.  Warthog: Would have trouble with large wildebeest, but should be able to get the better of leopard, puma, hyena, wolf.  Giant panda would be tough, but mobility favors hog.  Bighorn not aggressive enough.
2.  Wildebeest: Is large enough to repel warthog mostly; would have trouble with leopard/puma.  Should be OK mostly with hyena & wolf, but not always.  Rest of group would have trouble dealing with its size.
3.  Leopard: Will be almost even with puma, slightly better than hyena, will have difficulty dispatching larger panda but it can be done.  Equipped to deal with all herbivores, but will lose to warthog (65% heavier, well-armed, nimble) most of the time.
4.  Puma: Almost even with leopard, slightly better than hyena, close with panda (but slightly outmatched). Equipped to deal with herbivores but will be bested by warthog on most occasions.
5.  Giant panda: Too strong for cheetah/wolf/mandrill.  Size & paws will aid it against leopard, puma, and spotted hyena, and it will be slightly favored in those matchups.  Won't do well against warthog, wildebeest, & bighorn due to lack of proper mobility, but a well-placed paw swipe could give it the win (especially against the bighorn).
6.  Hyena (spotted): Too clumsy to keep away from warthog's tusks.  Wildebeest too large mostly, but this can be done.  Can bring down sheep, but with difficulty.  Will have trouble with both cats (cats have too much agility & quickness; claws & killing experience), but can prevail in a prolonged battle (hyenas are durable & have very strong bites).  Will dominate cheetah (cheetah too frail), defeat the wolf (stronger bite, more durability & size), take out the mandrill (but receive injuries), lose to the panda (isn't nimble enough to land bite without getting swiped).
7.  Wolf: Will defeat cheetah (but not an easy win), even money with mandrill (has predatory edge, but mandrill has sharp, upper canines that can cause quick, serious wounds), too small for panda, will have more mobility than hyena but will be overpowered, can take bighorn with some difficulty, wildebeest too large but not impossible, warthog too heavy, nimble, & well-armed for wolf to have a real chance, leopard & puma too large & well-equipped (agility, quickness, claws, killing experience).
8.  Bighorn sheep: Generally passive if not taking on rival rams.  Has a chance to repel hyena & wolf, but chances aren't great against those experienced predators.  Leopard & puma should make this kill relatively easily, panda won't be quick enough to dodge horns but has a chance with a big paw swipe, cheetah isn't without hope but face-to-face an uphill battle, mandrill simply won't have a clue, warthog too nimble and has better-positioned weapons to do damage, wildebeest too large & battle-tested.
9.  Mandrill: Would defeat the cheetah, but not easily.  Would be an even fight for the wolf.  Wouldn't know how to deal with the herbivores.  Could injure leopard & puma, but will be dominated mostly be these carnivores.  Hyena too durable & large (could finish the mandrill with one well-placed bite), panda over 3 times as heavy & too strong.
10. Cheetah: Would lose to the others face-to-face, but would put up a good fight against the wolf & mandrill.

Group 2

1.  Lion: Will have trouble with the moose face-to-face, but with persistence (and agility) will have a chance (about 50/50) to find an opening jump onto the cervid and attack the neck.  Will dominate the smaller cats, gorilla, panda, & wildebeest.  Will have tough time with black bear but will be slightly favored.  Sloth bear/warthog will be no pushover but lion will win.
2.  Moose: Close battle with lion, will dominate all other herbivores (much bigger), will be too large for any of the bears (but the black bear has a small chance), too large for all other cats (jaguar has slim chance, but unlikely), will smash gorilla.
3.  Black bear: Will put up a fight against lion but will lose more than win, will struggle against jaguar but should win most battles, too small for moose, wildebeest & warthog dangerous but victory is attainable & likely, too big for other bears & remaining cats, will dominate gorilla.
4.  Jaguar: Will not have the experience to take on moose but not impossible, will lose to larger lion but defeat leopard & puma easily, will have close battles with sloth bear (20-25% heavier) & warthog, should be able to overpower wildebeest & panda, will have a tough battle with gorilla but should prevail most of the time.
5.  Warthog: Will lose to the lion & moose quite easily, will be overpowered by black bear, close battle with wildebeest/sloth bear/jaguar.  Should be able to win against puma & leopard (but not a given), panda (not every time, though), & gorilla.
6.  Sloth bear: Will lose to lion, moose, and black bear almost without exception.  Will have close battles with warthog (will have size advantage but need to control tusks) & jaguar (will need to use size advantage to keep jaguar from securing killing bite).  May get pushed around by wildebeest but has weaponry to win this, will have tough time with panda but will have size & aggression advantage, will be too large for leopard & puma but won't be easy.
7.  Wildebeest:  Will be dominated by moose, close fight with warthog.  Lion will easily win, jaguar has a decent chance to pull it down.  Leopard & puma have pretty good chances as well, but must be careful.  Panda won't have the mobility or know-how to have a great chance, gorilla will be clueless (although it possesses the physical ability to pull it off), sloth bear will have a tough time because its not used to dealing with larger, mobile herbivores (but has the power & weaponry to win on occasion), black bear has size & strength to overpower the wildebeest (but the antelope will be a threat with horns).
8.  Leopard: Will be close to a draw with the puma, will lose to the larger cats.  Black bear & sloth bear too heavy for it, panda makes a close fight.  Gorilla will be too large & strong on most occasions, but the leopard is capable of making the kill.  Moose too large; no hope without ambush.  Warthog too large & dangerous face-to-face; wildebeest can drive it away but leopard can win with agility & persistence.
9.  Puma: Will be close to a draw with the leopard, will lose to the larger cats.  Black bear & sloth bear too heavy for it, panda makes a close fight.  Gorilla will be too large & strong on most occasions, but the puma is capable of making the kill.  Moose too large; no hope without ambush.  Warthog too large & dangerous face-to-face; wildebeest can drive it away but puma can win with agility & persistence.
10. Panda: Doesn't have the know-how to effectively deal with any of the herbivores, but its power & claws give it a chance.  Moose simply too big.  Lion too large & armed, jaguar too powerful but not an easy fight.  Other bears too big & aggressive, gorilla a close fight but ape more aggressive & heavier (but panda has claws).  Leopard & puma have agility/quickness advantage, but panda's power will give it even chances.
11. Gorilla: This peaceful animal doesn't have the know-how to deal with many of these other animals even though it is strong and has a damaging bite.  The herbivores will all run it over.  The lion will easily overpower it, and the jaguar will have the edge in a face-to-face.  The leopard & puma have the claws (especially back claws) to slice open the gorilla, but the gorilla's strength & size will be a lot to overcome.  The panda is a close fight (size & aggression vs paw swipes), but the other bears are too large.  

Group 3

1.  Entelodont: The largest Entelodont (Daeodon) was over a ton in weight.  It had large, powerful jaws and dangerous tusks.  It would be challenged by the gaur & the bison, but would have the edge.  The Cape buffalo would be too small to seriously contend, but wouldn't go down easy.  The other predators would be too small as well, but the bear dog & the American lion would have small chances.  The liger doesn't have the hunting/fighting/killing instincts to compete, and the tiger is too small.  Gigantopithecus will be dominated.
2.  Gaur: The gaur weighs well over a ton, and is well-muscled & powerful.  The liger won't have the hunting/fighting/killing instincts to pull this off, and the American lion & tiger will be too small to be successful.  The American lion could pull it off, but won't most of the time if it's face-to-face (would have a good chance in an ambush, though).  The Hyaenodon (gigas) would have a chance with its big bite, but lack of grabbing claws will doom it here on most occasions.  Will be too large & mobile for the bears to be favored against it, and will be large enough to overpower the bison & Cape buffalo.  
3.  Bison: Almost as large as the gaur, and just as powerfully-built.  Should be too large for the other bovids, bears, and prehistoric animals (except Entelodont & American lion).  The American lion can pull this off, but face-to-face will slightly favor the bison.  The big bites of Hyaenodon & bear dog give them a chance, but lack of grabbing claws of the Hyaenodon hurts its cause.  The tiger has a small chance, and the liger has almost no chance.
4.  Polar bear: Large & powerful, this bear can almost overpower the gaur & the bison.  However, those bovids are a bit too large.  The Cape buffalo is similar in weight, and is very close fight.  It has the power to overcome the cats, but the American lion won't be easy.  It also has the size to take out the grizzly if it's determined to engage (even though the smaller grizzly usually dominates actual encounters due to its aggressiveness/combativeness).  The Hyaenodon and the bear dog have very formidable bites, but the paws of the polar bear can control positioning.  The Entelodont is too large & dangerous, and the bear won't be able to avoid its charge & bite.
5. American lion: This huge lion has the agility and paw usage to enable it to edge out the Hyaenodon & bear dog (a larger bear dog would win), but only if the weights are reasonably close.  The grizzly bear would be an equal adversary, but the lion can overcome bovids easier than the grizzly can.  The bison might be just out of reach, but the Cape buffalo will be in range mostly.  Enteledont will be dangerous, but the lion has the tools (agility/claws/killing bite) to pull off a win a very low % of the time.  The tiger, liger, and Gigantopithecus will be dominated (unless the tiger's weight is reasonably close).
6.  Bear dog: Has a very dangerous, damaging bite, and has a chance against all animals here (if the bear dog is at its highest weight estimation - over 1/2 ton).  The Entelodont, gaur, & bison will edge it out, and the grappling of the larger polar bear and the agility & paw usage of the American lion will enable them to defeat the bear dog.  Bear dog will edge out Hyaenodon/grizzly bear/Cape buffalo (has some ability to grab with paws), but those battles could go either way.  Will defeat liger, tiger, & Gigantopithecus blacki.
7.  Cape buffalo: 3/4 of a ton and very aggressive, this bovid will make a good showing against all on this list.  Entelodont will be too heavy & armed to defeat.  Can occasionally lose to the tiger & grizzly, but will win most of the time.  Will have a harder time repelling the Hyaenodon than the grizzly (even though the grizzly would be favored against the Hyaenodon due to paw usage) because of the Hyaenodon's better lateral movement.
8.  Grizzly bear:  We'll assume the grizzly bear is 1/2 ton.  Has great power in paw swipes, and long, sharp claws as well.  It's durability & endurance helps it greatly.  It can't compete well against the top 2 bovids, but has an outside shot of besting a Cape buffalo.  The bear dog & American lion are slightly better when all matchups on this list are considered, but the grizzly can definitely hang with these 2.  The Hyaenodon is a close match, and the bear's paws should be able to control its huge jaws enough to keep it that way.  The Entelodont will easily win, but the grizzly might have the edge at close weights.  The tiger isn't quite large enough, and the Gigantopithecus isn't armed nearly enough.
9. Hyaenodon: A big bite will give it a chance against any animal on the list, but it will be outmatched on most occasions by Entelodont, the large bovids, the polar bear (the grizzly is close), the American lion, & the bear dog.  Would edge the tiger & liger.  Gigantopithecus will put a decent fight (arms might help control the tusks), but it will ultimately lose.  
10. Tiger: The tiger is a truly great hunter & combatant, but it's too small to compete with some of the animals here.  A tiger has the ability to successfully ambush gaur, bison, Cape buffalo, but it won't fare well face-to-face against these beasts.  An ambush on Entelodont would likely fail (like a snow leopard trying to ambush a giant forest hog), and face-to-face would be suicide.  The larger bears will also overpower it.  The Hyaenodon, bear dog, and American lion have a large size advantage, and would be tough to beat.  Gigantopithecus wouldn't be easy, but the tiger will prevail most of the time.
11. Liger: The liger is huge, but it doesn't have the same honed abilities of other big cats.  It will have the weaponry to overcome Gigantopithecus, but that's about it.  A victory over the tiger is possible, but improbable (tiger too fierce).
12. Gigantopithecus: Weighs over half a ton, but won't have the weaponry or defenses to compete effectively against the others on this list.  Will put up a decent fight against the tiger & liger, but will lose most of the time to them.

Group 4

1.  Elephant:  A 6-ton elephant would be the dominant animal of this group, but would have trouble against the Megatherium.  The Megatherium has giant claws, but wouldn't be able to avoid the elephant's charges (and the force of it could injure the giant sloth despite its armor-like hide).  A large white rhino could be a dangerous adversary, but the elephant will be too big & strong.  No other animal on this list could hang with the elephant at all.
2.  Megatherium: At 20ft tall, 5 tons, and sporting huge claws & armor-like hide, the Megatherium would be seriously challenged only by the elephant and the rhinoceros.  The rhino would make a good fight with its horn & power, but the giant sloth will be almost twice as heavy and should win mostly.  All other animals will fall well short.  
3.  Rhinoceros: A white rhinoceros will be too durable & powerful for anything on this list (except elephant & megatherium) to challenge.  The predators will be too small, and the hippo & giant wombat (Diprotodon) won't have enough assets to compete.
4.  Entelodont: The largest Entelodont (Daeodon) was over a ton in weight.  It would have the agility & weaponry to compete with the hippo & Diprotodon, but could lose if not careful (bite from hippo; charge from giant wombat).  Will have a close war with Andrewsarchus.  Short-faced bear will cause problems with it grabbing paws, but pig will have slight edge.
5.  Hippopotamus:  Will have the size & bite to hold off the short-faced bear, but the smaller predators/omnivores on this list (Andrewsarchus, Entelodont, Megistotherium) will have the weaponry (bites/tusks) & agility to pose problems for the hippo on land.  The hippo in shallow water will make a better account of itself.  The hippo will likely overpower Diprotodon with its massive bite.
6.  Andrewsarchus:  This animal had a huge bite, and would pose problems for the hippo & Diportodon (more nimble).  It would equal the short-faced bear in weight, but would likely be 50/50 in that encounter.  Megistotherium would be about half its weight, and would likely be overpowered.  A megistotherium might be favored at parity, though.
7.  Short-faced bear: The Arctotherium (giant short-faced bear) would be #4 on this list, but the smaller version here settles in at #7.  It will be large enough to conquer Megistotherium, would have close battles with Entelodont & Andrewsarchus, and might have the weaponry to prevail against the larger Diprotodon at times (but might get overrun).  Wouldn't fare well against #1-#3 on this list, and would likely be overwhelmed by #5.
8.  Megistotherium: Similar in weaponry as Andrewsarchus, but probably not as large.  However, some estimations for Megistotherium put it as being heavier than Andrewsarchus.  The heavier version would probably be as high as #4 or #5, but the more conservative estimation of this animal places it here.  Would have a battle with the Entelodont (terminator pig) at equal weights, but won't fare well with a weight disadvantage.  Might be able to overcome the larger Diprotodon if persistent, but might get driven away.
9.  Diprotodon: Should have the size to repel the Entelodont, but could get injured by it.  Weighs twice as much as the pig, and should be able to use its bulk to its advantage in some encounters.  While it's big enough to drive predators away, it's just not armed enough to do any real damage.  Would lose to hippo, and would get dominated by the elephant, Megatherium, & rhino.  

If you want additional detail on any particular matchup here, send me a follow-up and I'll be happy to oblige.
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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