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Interspecies Conflict/some more questions


QUESTION: Hi again BK.
100 pound cheetah vs 70 pound wolverine.
Which is the smallest subspecies of African lion.
puma vs leopard.
which big cat has a more hunting success rate single lioness,tiger,leopard,jaguar ,puma or cheetah.
What is the average weight of jaguar.
What do wolverines hunt.Is it true that they have killed adult elk.
Are there any reports of  a pack of wolves killing adult bison.
what is the top speed of - leopard,puma and jaguar.
African lion vs American black bear.
why isn't puma a big cat .Can't it roar.Which are the big cats.
sorry if there are too many questions but still please answer these questions

ANSWER: Hello Gautam.

cheetah (100lb) vs wolverine (70lb): This will be a relatively small cheetah (cheetahs can approach 150lb) and a huge wolverine (wolverines rarely exceed 42lb).  Cheetahs are built for speed (slender builds; non-retractable claws to act as cleats to grip the ground for acceleration), and aren't as adept at fighting as other types of cats (like leopards & jaguars).  Cheetahs are solo hunters, and can't afford to sustain injury in a conflict (an injury may impede hunting & lead to starvation).  Wolverines are aggressive, durable mustelids with strong jaws (capable of crunching through frozen meat & bone) and sharp claws (suitable for strong digging & raking).  Cheetahs can bring down larger animals that flee from them by knocking them to the ground & finishing them with a throat bite, but a wolverine has the weaponry, flexibility, & strength (among the strongest mammals pound-for-pound) to fight back better than any typical prey item on a cheetah's menu.  Wolverines rarely back down from a fight (even against a more formidable opponent), and cheetahs usually back down from fights (even against less formidable opponents).  A 70lb wolverine would easily drive a 100lb cheetah away, and would prevail in a serious battle with little trouble.  70lb wolverine wins.

Q: What is the smallest subspecies of African lion?
A: West African lion (Panthera leo senegalensis) is probably the smallest current subspecies of African lion.  With the rarity of these cats & lack of thorough studies done, it's hard to pin down with any accuracy.  Some estimations place these lions in the sub-400lb range for males.

puma vs leopard: The puma can weigh about 15% heavier than the leopard.  The puma is taller at the shoulder, and will have a slight reach advantage in a paw-swipe exchange.  The leopard is stronger pound-for-pound (and drags heavy prey items up into trees), and has a larger head & neck area.  Both cats are battle-tested (pumas deal with wolves, wolverines, & bears; leopards deal with lions, hyenas, baboons, etc.).  At equal weights I favor the leopard, but at max weights I give the slight edge to the puma.

Q: Which big cat has more hunting success rate - lioness, tiger, leopard, jaguar, puma, or cheetah?
A: Probably the puma.  It is the master of stealth among cats, and effectively kills with a neck, throat, or snout bite (to impede breathing).  The cheetah probably comes in second.

Q: What is the average weight of a jaguar?
A: The weight range of the jaguar varies from region to region, but it typically weighs around 200lb (91kg) on average.

Q: What do wolverines hunt?  Is it true they have killed adult elk?
A: Wolverines hunt porcupines, birds, squirrels, various rodents, & other small animals they can catch.  They also prey on various types of deer, including moose, elk, & caribou (larger cervids are ones slowed down by heavy snow or subpar health).  It's possible adult elk have been taken under certain conditions, but a healthy bull elk can weigh more than 20 wolverines & is relatively safe from predation from a single one.

Q: Are there any reports of a pack of wolves killing an adult bison?
A: I don't know of any specific reports, but I'm sure it has occurred.  If the bison is a female, unhealthy, old, or injured, it can fall prey to a large pack of grey wolves.  A healthy bull bison is relatively safe from predation.  It can weigh more than 16 grey wolves, and is too dangerous for an average-sized pack.  Wolves usually try to force prey items to run (to exhaust them) before they attack, and bison usually stand their ground.  A wolf pack won't take on healthy quarry that may seriously injure one of their members, and will search for an easier target.  A very large pack of grey wolves is capable of overtaking a healthy bull adult bison, but they realistically won't risk it.   

Q: What is the top speed of the leopard, the puma, and the jaguar?
A: leopard: 40mph  puma: 45mph  jaguar: 30-32mph (these are approximate)

African lion vs American black bear: The black bear will weigh about 10% more than the lion.  Black bears aren't as formidable (pound-for-pound) as the more robust, aggressive brown bear, but they are still strong animals with great endurance.  African lions are the fighters of the big cat world (against other male lions), but they do not cross paths with any bear in nature.  However, the lion's superior agility, quickness, & finishing experience (against large animals) will serve it well against the black bear (which is omnivorous & doesn't usually tangle with large animals).  The sturdy, durable bear will certainly have a chance, and this will be a close fight, but the lion brings too much to the table.  African lion wins.

Q: Why isn't a puma a big cat?  Can it roar?
A: Some consider it to be a big cat, while others exclude it.  "Big cat" is not an official designation, and is subject to interpretation.  The leopard is universally considered to be a big cat, yet it is commonly smaller than the puma.  A puma cannot roar (but can make a sound similar to a scream).

Q: What are the big cats?
A: The jaguar, the leopard, the lion, & the tiger are typically the only 4 felids considered to be big cats (sometimes called the "roaring cats"), but the puma, snow leopard, cheetah, & clouded leopard are included by some.

Best regards.

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

QUESTION: Hi again bk,
how can a wolverine kill an adult moose?
do pumas and jaguars cross paths and are there any reports of these killing each other?
100 pound grey wolf vs 60 pound wolverine.
wolverine vs honey badger at parity.
what was the main prey item of the American lion.
were they hunting mammoths?
Biggest jaguar ever in the wild vs asiatic lion.
Did American lions have manes and were they living in prides?

Hello again Gautam.

Q: How can a wolverine kill an adult moose?
A: If the moose is a healthy adult on level ground, it won't have anything to fear from a wolverine.  A large moose can weigh as much as 35 wolverines, and is too big & powerful to be overcome by one without certain conditions being in place.  If the moose is slowed by heavy snow, injured, old, or unhealthy, it may be vulnerable to a determined wolverine.  The powerful bite & sharp teeth of the wolverine can induce blood loss once it latches on, and can eventually lead to the demise of a moose (if it's in a situation where it can't adequately defend itself).

Q: Do pumas and jaguars cross paths, and are there any reports of them killing each other?
A: Their habitats do overlap, but encounters are rare.  Pumas have a diverse hunting area, while jaguars prefer thick jungles & water.  Pumas usually target cervids & small animals when hunting, while jaguars target caiman, capybara, tapirs, peccaries & the like (and this lessens direct competition).  A puma will avoid a jaguar once it detects its presence; a jaguar is larger & more powerful.  I know of no reports of actual kills, but it probably has occurred on occasion given the proximity of these 2 cats.

grey wolf (100lb) vs wolverine (60lb): This is an enormous wolverine, and a slightly-smaller-than-average grey wolf.  Wolverines typically don't exceed 42lb, and an average grey wolf weighs about 110lb.  We'll assume this is a fit, capable wolverine that happens to be 60lb, and that the grey wolf isn't a sub-adult.  Wolverines can give any animal in its weight range a run for its money.  They are strong, compact, supple, have powerful jaws & sharp claws, and thick fur.  The wolverine is famous for its boldness & ferocity, and rarely backs down from conflict.  The wolf here will be much larger, and have slight advantages in mobility & endurance (and a bigger bite).  The wolverine will roll on its back at times to use its claws more effectively (similar to cats), and will also attempt to clutch the wolf with its claws to position itself to use its bite.  The foul-smelling odor the mustelid can expel (like a skunk does, but not as bad) can come into play as well.  This wolverine will weigh about 60% of the wolf's weight, and that's about the weight disparity needed to make this an even contest.  A normal encounter will have the wolverine driving the wolf away to find an easier way to spend its time, but a determined wolf can wear the wolverine down and cause trouble for it.  I would certainly favor a full-sized wolf to defeat this huge wolverine, but this one will have its paws full.  Close to 50/50; slight edge to wolverine.

wolverine vs honey badger (at parity): These 2 animals have many similar attributes (strong bites, strong limbs with sharp claws, thick hides that offer protection, aggression, flexibility), and are both battle-tested against other predators (wolverines deal with wolves, bears, pumas, lynxes......honey badgers deal with jackals, leopards, etc.).  Wolverines are among the strongest mammals pound-for-pound, and have a small strength advantage over the honey badger.  Honey badgers have tough hides that are very difficult to penetrate, so their durability likely exceeds the wolverine's.  Close to 50/50; edge to wolverine.

Q: What was the main prey item of the American lion?  Did it hunt mammoths?
A: American lions were carnivorous, and preyed upon bison, horses, ground sloths, camels, deer, & other large mammals.  It likely preyed upon juvenile mammoths, but an adult would have been too large to tackle (unless a large pride was formed).  Many mammoths greatly exceeded the weight of modern-day elephants (over 5 tons), and a single one would have been relatively safe from American lion predation without certain conditions being in place (age, injury, environmental hindrances, etc.).

biggest jaguar ever in the wild vs Asiatic lion: The giant jaguar is believed to be the biggest jaguar ever, and it may have reached sizes similar to today's African lions.  If this is indeed the case, it would outweigh the Asiatic lion by 30%, and would be too strong for it in a serious battle.  Jaguars have stocky, muscular bodies with short, powerful legs & huge heads (and jaws that close with tremendous force).  The largest jaguars of today live in the Pantanal region, and reportedly can reach 350lb in weight.  If one of these 350lb giants faced off with an Asiatic lion, a close battle would ensue.  The lion would be 20% heavier than the jaguar.  Asiatic lions aren't as large or robust as their African cousins, and don't engage in combat as much.  However, they are still capable fighters, and one would be just as strong as the jaguar with this weight advantage (and have a reach advantage in a "swipe war").  An Asiatic lion would not defeat the now-extinct giant jaguar, but would have an edge over a max-sized modern-day one.

Q: Did American lions have manes?  Did they live in prides?
A: According to cave drawings, the American lion did not have a mane (but may have had a short scruffy growth in the neck area).  It is not known if they lived in prides (like modern lions) or hunted solo or in pairs (like modern tigers), but remains of them are scattered (which lead many to believe the latter).  

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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