Interspecies Conflict/brutal matches


Hi bk,here are a few questions
1500 pound cape buffalo vs 500 pound lion
African lion vs giant forest hog
Which runs faster african male lion or bengal male tiger
Jaguar vs gorilla
Barbary lion vs hippo entirely in land in an ambush
3 tigers vs rhino

Hello Gautam.

1500 pound cape buffalo vs 500 pound lion: Cape buffaloes are a common prey item for lions, but it usually takes a large group of them to overpower this aggressive herbivore.  Male lions aren't as experienced at hunting as female lions (they primarily battle other male lions and leave the hunting to the lionesses), but they occasionally help with larger prey items, and are capable combatants against buffaloes.  Cape buffaloes form large herds, and lions will target one that has strayed from the group for an easier meal.  Even a single buffalo can be a task for a group of lions, and will use its thick, curved horns to repel these hunters.  A single lion is certainly capable of bringing down a cape buffalo 3 times its own weight (and it does occur), but it won't be successful every time in a face-to-face battle.  Even a well-executed ambush does not guarantee success for the lion.  A lion will need to use its agility & quickness to avoid the buffalo's horns, jump on the bovid & hold on tight, and latch onto the herbivore's neck or snout with its jaws in an attempt to suffocate it.  Big cats don't have great endurance, and won't always have the ability to hang onto a thrashing buffalo long enough to secure a good position upon it.  If the buffalo is aware of the lion's presence, it will survive the encounter more times than not.  Edge to the cape buffalo.

African lion vs giant forest hog: A giant forest hog can weigh 10-20% heavier than an African lion.  These animals will have a similar shoulder height.  Giant forest hogs among the largest of all suids, and have stocky, durable bodies and sharp tusks that can be used to effectively defend themselves.  Male lions are charged with the protection of the pride, and most of their confrontation experiences involve other male lions.  Female lions (lionesses) do most of the hunting, and will often battle a wide range of adversaries.  However, the larger males still have the same attributes (speed, agility, explosive movements, jaws & claws, killing know-how with a throat bite, etc.) the lionesses do as well as shaggy manes that offer some protection in their head & neck areas.  It will be vital for the lion to control the head movement of the giant forest hog to keep its dangerous tusks at bay, and to simultaneously mount an offense with bites to the suid's neck area (and perhaps pull it to the ground).  Male African lions have overpowered larger animals than a giant forest hog, but suids are a unique challenge due to their tough hides, formidable weaponry, and good lateral movement.  A typical encounter will probably end with the giant forest hog driving the lion away, but the felid will prevail more times than not if it's determined to do so.  Slight edge to the African lion.

Q: Which runs faster african male lion or bengal male tiger?
A: I've seen estimations for both species approach 80kph, but that's probably unsubstantiated.  I imagine it's possible for a lioness or a tigress (in a short burst), but the males can exceed 250kg and that's a lot of weight to move at a high rate of speed.  60-65kph is probably a reasonable figure for the top speed of the male African lion & the male Bengal tiger (in a short burst), but I'm not sure.  Lions live in a more open area & may be seen running more, but the physiology of lions & tigers is similar enough to assume their top speeds are comparable.  The tiger's body is little bit longer than the lion's and it's not quite as tall at the shoulder, so it may have a slightly better build for fast running even if the difference is very small.

Jaguar vs gorilla: A jaguar will weigh about 2/3rd the gorilla's weight.  Jaguars are the strongest cat pound-for-pound, and they have stocky bodies with short, powerful legs.  Their bite force is high enough to pierce turtle shells & caiman armor, and they typically bite through a victim's skull to dispatch it.  Gorilla are muscular animals with strong bites, powerful forearms, & grabbing hands.  Gorillas aren't accustomed to taking on large animals of another species, and won't have the know-how to bring their impressive physical attributes to bear in a fight with a jaguar (what they look like they can do and what they actually will do are 2 different things).  They don't box like Rocky Marciano or tackle adversaries like a football player & start pounding on them.  An angry gorilla might succeed in intimidating a jaguar into a retreat on some occasions, but a jaguar intent on completing a kill will be able to do so more times than not.  The jaguar's bite, claws, & killing experience will be enough to overcome the gorilla's size & strength.  The cat will close in on the gorilla and use its agility & quickness to find a good location to sink its teeth into.  Jaguar wins.

Barbary lion vs hippo (entirely in land): A bull hippo can weigh well over 7 times as much as a Barbary lion, and can be 25% taller at the shoulder.  Barbary lions, by most estimations, were similar in size to today's African lions (about 1.2 meters at the shoulder; over 2 meters in length; almost 3 meters including the tail; weight approaching 250kg).  Some estimates (unsubstantiated) assigned greater dimensions.  Barbary lions were believed to be less combative than African lions (difference in frequency of territorial disputes was one possible reason), but all big cats can be aggressive when they need to be.  African lions occasionally attack solo hippos that stray from the relative safety of the water's edge, but these massive herbivores can be very dangerous adversaries.  Although hippos are somewhat cumbersome on land, they can make quick movements when they need to.  Their jaws can open over a meter wide, and are armed with sharp-edged incisors that can cause serious injuries quite easily.  Hippos can be very combative & territorial when they are in the river or at the river's edge, but aren't as comfortable when they are entirely on land.  A Barbary lion certainly has the quickness & agility to avoid the huge bite of the hippo, and should have little trouble attacking it from behind or on top (if it leaps upon it).  However, the skin of the hippo is very thick, and biting/clawing through it will be a difficult, time-consuming task.  Lions don't have great stamina, and one would likely give up before too much damage was inflicted on the hippo's body.  As long as the Barbary lion is careful, it can avoid the hippo's offense, but won't be able to overcome this huge herbivore without a level of dedication & determination that big cats simply don't have.  The Barbary lion has the tools to eventually win, but it just won't occur in a realistic situation with an animal of this size.  Overall edge to hippo.

Barbary lion vs hippo (in an ambush): A Barbary lion won't have a great deal more success against a hippo with an ambush than face-to-face.  The position the lion would achieve with an ambush (on the hippo's back/grabbing onto the rear of the hippo) can be attained in a face-to-face confrontation.  The Barbary lion will be quick & agile enough to get into this position anyway, but will still have trouble causing major damage to the thick hide before it tires itself.  An ambush is a great advantage for a big cat against most animals, but not so much with a hippo.  As with the previous matchup, the overall edge goes to the hippo.

3 tigers vs rhino: This depends on the type of rhino used (and I'll assume the tigers are Bengals).  A Sumatran rhino weighs over 3 times as much as a large Bengal tiger, but isn't as formidable as its larger counterparts.  Tigers are primarily solitary hunters (hunting in pairs on occasion), and 3 of them working as a team (like lions do) will have a good chance to overtake a Sumatran rhino.  The tigers will use their quickness to avoid the rhino's horn, jump on its back, and attack with claws & teeth.  It may take a while, but the 3 tigers will prevail more times than not.  The black rhinoceros can weigh 5-6 times more than a Bengal tiger, and will be a very powerful adversary for the cats.  Its hide is very tough, and its tank-like body will be hard for the tigers to control.  Black rhinos have long frontal horns (sometimes exceeding a meter in length), and can be very aggressive.  The tigers will be quick & agile enough to avoid the horn if they're careful, but breaching the rhino's hide will be extremely problematic for the cats because of the animal's stout build (which will make a throat bite difficult) and its great strength (which will come into play while the rhino is violently resisting).  There have been reports of single tigers overcoming adult Indian rhinoceroses, but this is not the norm.  A large, healthy rhinoceros (white or black) can repel a pride of lions, and 3 tigers won't be able to succeed on most occasions against one.  A tiger is certainly right at the top in regards to the "greatest hunter" discussion, but one of the larger species of rhino will be able to defend itself against 3 tigers more times than not.  Overall edge to rhino.

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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