You are here:

Interspecies Conflict/Interspecies conflict


Hello BK,

Before we go, I wanted to ask you that what are your top 5 favorite faceoffs. In other words, could you tell me some interesting faceoffs?

1. Mountain Gorilla vs Sloth Bear

2. Olive baboon vs Eurasian Lynx

3. Eurasian Lynx vs Wolverine

4. Eurasian lynx vs Clouded Leopard

5. Olive baboon vs Striped Hyena

6. Chimpanzee vs Spotted Hyena

7. Marsupial Lion vs American black bear

8. Jaguar vs Sloth bear

9. Jaguar vs American Black bear

10. Wolverine vs Cape Porcupine

11. American Lion vs Kodiac brown bear

12. Cave bear vs Hyenodon

13. Hyenodon vs Kodiac brown bear

14. Great white shark vs Southern elephant seal

15. Leopard seal vs Bull shark

16. Bull shark vs Mako

17. Rottweiler vs Dogo Argentino

18. Presa Canario vs Ratel

19. Saltwater croc vs Southern Elephant seal

20. Main event: Hippopotamus vs Short faced bear


Hello Jem.

Q: What are your 5 favorite faceoffs?
A: Hard to say.  I like matchups involving medium-to-large animals, and prehistoric ones are interesting.  If I had to pick 5, I'd say wolverine vs baboon, jaguar vs gorilla, rhino vs hippo, bear vs tiger, and Utahraptor vs Smilodon populator.  Those involving crocodiles, anacondas, & bulls are good ones, too.  I'm sure I'm forgetting some!

1. Mountain Gorilla vs Sloth Bear: The mountain gorilla will be a little bit heavier than the sloth bear.  Sloth bears have stocky bodies & short, powerful limbs armed with sharp claws.  Both animals here are strong and have dangerous bites, but the bear's claws give it a distinct advantage.  The gorilla attacks with hand swipes or clubbing arms swings to try to knock an opponent over, and then will try to land a bite.  The sloth bear's claws will cause a lot of damage to the gorilla's hide, and the gorilla won't be able to reciprocate with similar offense of its own.  Sloth bear wins.

2. Olive baboon vs Eurasian Lynx: These 2 will be similar in weight, but a big Eurasian lynx can be close to 10% heavier.  Olive baboons have stocky bodies compared to most other baboons.  They bring mobility, the use of hands, and a very dangerous set of upper canines to the table.  The Eurasian lynx brings speed, agility, a decent bite, & 4 sharp sets of claws to the arena.  The lynx would probably back down in a real-life encounter if these 2 were to ever meet, but a fight with willing participants would be close.  The lynx would need to use its claws to slash or to hold the baboon in place to deliver a neck bite before the sharp teeth of the baboon caused too many injuries to the lynx.  This would be a ferocious fight, and injuries would occur to both parties, but the baboon's ability to cause greater injury in a shorter amount of time should give it the edge here.  Close battle, but olive baboon wins.

3. Eurasian Lynx vs Wolverine: The Eurasian lynx will weigh close to twice as much as the wolverine.  Wolverines are among the strongest mammals pound-for-pound, and have jaws capable of crunching through frozen meat & bone.  Wolverines also have stocky limbs with sharp claws & thick fur that can help buffer against a lynx's attack.  Lynxes are quick & agile, but will have a hard time clawing & biting effectively against the robust wolverine while dealing with the mustelid's attack.  The size advantage of the Eurasian lynx will enable it to control positioning well enough to land a few good bites, but it will likely tire before it can finish the mustelid off.  The larger lynx will get the better of the encounter in the early going, but the wolverine will fight strongly enough to eventually drive the lynx away.  Close battle & it depends on how you look at it; probably 50/50.

4. Eurasian lynx vs Clouded Leopard: The clouded leopard will weigh about 3/5th the weight of the lynx.  The clouded leopard has long, sharp upper canines that can quickly end the fight, but the size of the lynx will allow it to control the positioning of this battle well enough to keep this from happening on most occasions.  Close fight, but the lynx has the edge.

5. Olive baboon vs Striped Hyena: The baboon will weigh about 90% of the hyena's weight.  The olive baboon is one of the more robust species of baboon, and is a tough opponent for any animal in its weight class.  Striped hyenas have bone-crushing bites, but baboons have long upper canines (2") that can be used to inflict grievous injuries to an opponent in a short amount of time.  The striped hyena will try to land some good bites with it jaws, and the baboon will use its mobility & hand usage to aid it in biting the hyena with its sharp teeth (and keeping the hyena from biting exactly where it wants to).  With most of the bites the hyena will manage to land, the baboon will likely be able to inflict a counter-bite almost immediately.  This battle could go either way, but the baboon's offense will likely induce blood loss at a faster rate.  Slight edge to the olive baboon.

6. Chimpanzee vs Spotted Hyena: A spotted hyena will weigh up to 20% more than a chimpanzee, but these 2 can be close in weight.  Chimpanzees are strong primates, and can be aggressive at times, but usually employ a defensive display to intimidate rivals as opposed to physically engaging them.  They have good mobility, use of their hands, & a dangerous bite to serve them in a conflict.  Spotted hyenas are durable animals with bone-crushing bites, and they are used to physical confrontations with a variety of formidable opponents (lions, leopards, African hunting dogs, etc.).  Chimpanzees don't have the ability to easily dispatch another large animal solo, but a spotted hyena does.  The chimpanzee's assault on the hyena would have minimal effect in the small window of time it would have before the hyena's powerful jaws latched on.  A chimpanzee would need a weight advantage to compete with a spotted hyena.  Spotted hyena wins.

7. Marsupial Lion vs American black bear: The American black bear weighs about twice as much as a marsupial lion.  Marsupial lions had very formidable jaws and were capable of taking down animals much larger than themselves.  The black bear is much heavier, though, and a lot stronger.  The bear's ability to use its forepaws to control positioning against the smaller animal will aid it in this battle as well as its superior endurance.  The marsupial can win on occasion, but the black bear will have the edge overall.  American black bear wins.

8. Jaguar vs Sloth bear: The sloth bear will weigh about 20% more than a big jaguar.  Jaguars are stocky, powerful felids with very strong jaws (capable of crunching through turtle shells and caiman armor), and usually finish prey items with a bite through the skull or back of the neck.  They are quick, agile, and explosive as well.  Sloth bears have long claws (3"), good durability, & great endurance.  They can be fierce fighters.  At these weights the jaguar has the edge, but a sloth bear will be favored with a 30% weight advantage (which can occur).  Edge to jaguar.

9. Jaguar vs American Black bear: The black bear will weigh about 70% more than the jaguar.  Black bears aren't as aggressive or formidable as brown bears, but they are still capable fighters with the attributes shared by various bears (great strength & endurance, large paws & claws, durability).  Jaguars are considered to be the strongest cat pound-for-pound, and have tremendously strong jaws that can bite through turtle shells & caiman armor.  Jaguars use their stocky, muscular builds to effectively grab & control adversaries, and work themselves into a position to kill with a crushing bite to the skull or spine.  The carnivorous jaguar will be more accustomed to combat than the omnivorous black bear, but it won't be large enough to deal with the ursid's offense (bites & paw swipes).  A jaguar can compete with any animal in its weight range, but a black bear will usually be too heavy.  Black bear wins.

10. Wolverine vs Cape Porcupine: The Cape porcupine will weigh close to 25% more than the wolverine.  Although porcupines can bite (like all rodents can) they are all about defense.  They are protected by numerous loosely-attached quills that can impale an attacking predator.  A porcupine's quill is barbed, and is very difficult to remove once imbedded.  A predator impaled by several of these runs the risk of infection and/or starvation (if the quills impede feeding ability).  A porcupine will keep its vulnerable head away from an attacker, and keep its rear pointed toward it.  They will sometimes charge backwards, but cannot shoot their quills.  As invincible as porcupines seem, they occasionally fall prey to certain predators that have learned to get around their defenses.  In North American, pumas & fisher martens occasionally predate on them, and the African porcupines are sometimes victims of lions & leopards.  Wolverines are strong, fierce predators that have few equals in their weight range.  They have sharp claws, powerful jaws (capable of crunching through frozen meat & bone), and tough hides.  A determined wolverine can overpower a porcupine by attacking its anterior end even though it may receive a few quills in the process.  Wolverine wins.

11. American Lion vs Kodiak brown bear: The American lion was much larger than today's lions, but the Kodiak brown bear can still get larger (approximately 50-60% larger).  Brown bears are a close match for lions at equal weights, but the size advantage of the brown bear here will swing the advantage in its favor.  The American lion have more agility & quickness (and finishing experience), but the bear would be stronger and have much greater endurance.  The lion's attacks could be repelled by the bear most of the time.  The bear's ability to turn quickly and utilize its claws against an opponent attacking from the rear will help it here.  The bear is too large for the cat to defeat.  Kodiak bear wins.

12. Cave bear vs Hyaenodon: Assuming the Hyaenodon gigas is used, these animals will be close in weight.  Hyaenodon has a big bite with crushing power, but the cave bear has forelimb usage (to control positioning or deliver paw swipes) and a big bite of its own.  The Hyaenodon will win some of the time, but the better-armed bear will win most of the time.  Edge to cave bear.

13. Hyaenodon vs Kodiak brown bear: The Kodiak bear will weigh about 35% more than the Hyaenodon (gigas).  Hyaenodon has a big bite with crushing power, but the Kodiak bear has forelimb usage (to control positioning or deliver paw swipes) and a big bite of its own.  The bear's size & strength advantage will allow it to dominate once contact is made.  Kodiak bear wins.

14. Great white shark vs Southern elephant seal: The elephant seal weighs about 2/3 more than the great white shark.  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.

15. Leopard seal vs Bull shark: The leopard seal will be close to double the bull shark's weight.  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 on most occasions the mammal should prevail.  Edge to leopard seal.

16. Bull shark vs Mako shark: The mako shark is among the fastest of all sharks, and outweighs the bull shark (average & maximum).  Both have similar attributes (razor-sharp teeth, scaly hide).  Mako shark wins.

17. Rottweiler vs Dogo Argentino: This will be a decent contest, but only because the Rottweiler will have about a 30% size advantage.  Dogos are great fighters, and are used to track wild boar and aid in its capture.  Dogo Argentinos are powerful dogs adept at grabbing and holding with their jaws.  Rottweilers are aggressive and have a strong bite, but they are a cut below Dogos when it comes to fighting.  Edge to the smaller Dogo Argentino.

18. Presa Canario vs Ratel: The Presa Canario will weigh about 4 times as much as the ratel (honey badger).  Ratels are aggressive & fearless, and have tough hide that affords them protection against many attacks.  The ratel has a strong bite for its size, and sharp claws that make it an excellent digger.  The Presa Canario is a powerful, muscular dog that resembles a giant American pit bull terrier.  It is used as a guardian, and has been used as a fighter.  The ratel will be too small to deal with the huge bite of the Presa, and will eventually be worn down by the larger animal.  Presa Canario wins.

19. Saltwater croc vs Southern Elephant seal: The elephant seal will weigh about 3 times as much as the crocodile.  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.  Southern elephant seal wins.

20. Main event: Hippopotamus vs Short-faced bear: There are 2 main types of short-faced bears.  Arctodus (North American short-faced bear) was believed to have weighed about 1000kg, and Arctotherium (South American short-faced bear) was believed to have weighed almost 1600kg.  Arctodus would have a better chance against a hippopotamus than a grizzly bear would, but will still run into the same problems when encountering one (not mobile enough to avoid the hippo's bite/can't dish out enough damage with its paws & claws before it receives a serious bite).  The hippo will weigh anywhere from almost twice as much as Arctodus to almost 3 times as much, and will simply be too big on most occasions.  Here is an earlier answer to the Arctotherium vs hippo matchup: The hippopotamus will weigh about 70% more than the South American short-faced bear (Arctotherium), but will only reach about 3/4th its shoulder height.  Hippopotamuses have large jaws with imposing canines, and these sharp-edged teeth can cause serious wounds to any opponent.  Hippos can be very aggressive & territorial in or near water, but aren't as comfortable when completely on land.  Although they are capable of quick bursts of speed on land, they don't have the greatest mobility or stamina there.  Arctotherium is believed to be the largest bear ever, and may have been closely related to the sloth bear.  All bears have great endurance & durability, and Arctotherium was likely capable of causing a lot of damage with its jaws & swinging paws.  The hippo would likely have been able to land its bite on Arctotherium throughout the fight (bears don't have the best lateral movement; especially large ones), but it would take more than one to take out the giant bear.  The hippopotamus would be too strong to hold in place initially, but Arctotherium would have some success with its paw swipes until the hippo fatigued.  This battle depends a lot on the bear's ability to avoid receiving a serious bite while mounting an effective offense with its jaws & claws.  I would favor a hippopotamus at the water's edge, but the Arctotherium would have the edge on dry land.  Close to 50/50.  So the hippo wins against Arctodus, but gives an even fight to Arctotherium.

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.