You are here:

Interspecies Conflict/Interspecies Conflict


Hi Bk

Wildebeest vs Hartebeest

Walrus vs Hippo

Jaguar vs Gorilla

Rabies:Raccoons and Rhinos are two of my favorite animals so lets say there was a raccoon with rabies and it bit a rhino,would the rhino die?How common is it for raccoons to have rabies by the way?

Lion vs Cape Buffalo

Kangaroo vs Clouded Leopard


Hello Gian.

Wildebeest vs Hartebeest: The wildebeest will weigh over 20% more than the hartebeest.  With many antelope battles, the winner is decided by the heavier animal, and that is the case here.  The horns of each animal are shaped a bit differently, and the hartebeest deals with the same predators as the larger antelope.  Nothing about the hartebeest will make up for the weight disadvantage against the wildebeest.  The hartebeest will run if it can as it isn't quite as confrontational as the wildebeest.  Wildebeest wins.

Walrus vs Hippo: Hippos are usually heavier than walruses (around 50% more).  Hippopotamuses have jaws that can open almost 4ft wide, and they have large teeth (sharp-edged canines and forward-pointing incisors) that can bite & slash opponents.  Walruses have thick, tough hide that gives them great protection from many attacks and long tusks (around 3ft long) that can be used to stab.  If a hippo battled a walrus on land, the hippo would be able to move around much easier than the walrus could.  It could bite the walrus and probably avoid getting stabbed with its tusks most of the time.  The hippo's bite wouldn't be able to get through the hide of the walrus easily, but it could do it using the sharp-edged lower canines in its jaws.  The walrus could injury the hippo with its tusks if the hippo got into range, but the walrus would have a hard time hitting its mark without being able to move around well.  In shallow water, the walrus could move around a little better, but it wouldn't be enough to give it a good chance against the larger hippo.  In water deep enough for the walrus to swim around freely, it would gain the upper hand against the hippo.  It would be able to swim around easily and stab the hippo with its tusks.  Hippos can't really swim, but they walk along the bottom of the river and push off on the bottom to bounce up and down when they move about.  Hippo wins on land or in shallow water; walrus wins in water over 5 or 6 ft deep.

Jaguar vs Gorilla: A jaguar will weigh about 2/3 of the gorilla's weight.  Jaguars are among the strongest cats pound-for-pound, and they have stocky bodies with short, powerful legs.  Their bite force is high enough to pierce turtle shells and caiman armor, and they typically bite through a victim's skull to dispatch it.  Gorilla are muscular animals with strong bites, grabbing hands, & powerful forearms (that can span 8.5ft wide) that can deliver blunt force in a conflict.  Gorillas aren't accustomed to taking on large animals of another species.  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, and killing experience will be enough to overcome the gorilla's size & strength in a serious battle.  It will also have advantages in quickness, agility, and athleticism.  The jaguar will close in on the gorilla and use its agility & quickness to find a good location to sink its teeth into.  Reasonably close fight, but jaguar wins.

Q: Rabies: Raccoons and Rhinos are two of my favorite animals so lets say there was a raccoon with rabies and it bit a rhino, would the rhino die?  How common is it for raccoons to have rabies by the way?
A: Rabies is a viral disease that can affect the central nervous system of any warm-blooded animal.  One of the ways it can be passed on is when the saliva of an infected animal is introduced into the blood stream of another animal (usually through a bite).  Livestock, including cattle, can fall victim to rabies.  When asked a similar question regarding how a rabid raccoon's bite would affect a giraffe (10/14/14 in an entry titled "Conflicts"), I contacted a veterinarian service specializing in large animals and asked them specifically how rabies would affect a giraffe.  They informed me that any animal (and I'm assuming they meant warm-blooded based on the entirety of our conversation) infected by the rabies virus will die (and again, I'm assuming this means without treatment).  Based on this, if the raccoon's bite penetrates the rhinos's hide (which would be difficult) and introduces its infected saliva into the blood stream of the rhino, the rhino will die (although it will likely take a long time).  I don't know what percentage of raccoons are carriers of rabies, but in the United States, more raccoons are found to be infected than any other animal.  Any wild raccoon encountered should be treated as though it is infected even though it may not be.

Lion vs Cape Buffalo: A Cape buffalo can weigh close to 3 times as much as a 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 will 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 and 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.  Cape buffalo wins.

Kangaroo vs Clouded Leopard: I think this depends on the type of kangaroo we use.  A big red kangaroo can weigh almost 4 times as much as the clouded leopard, and a grey kangaroo can weigh approximately 2 1/2 to 3 times as much.  Kangaroos are robust herbivores with very strong back legs that provide great power when hopping or kicking.  A kangaroo can bound at speeds close to 30mph.  When kangaroos fight among themselves, they typically stand up and spar (boxing & grabbing with their forelimbs), but when confronting predators, they use their thick tails for support & balance while delivering powerful kicks with their large clawed hindlimbs.  The impact of this kick can cause injury with the force applied alone, but the claws can also rip open an attacker.  Clouded leopards are extremely agile, and have strong jaws armed with upper canines as long as matchsticks (almost like a miniature, less-stocky version of a saber-tooth cat).  The clouded leopard can use its quickness & front limbs to position an opponent for the delivery of a killing bite.  Most of the larger prey items a clouded leopard tackles (cervids) can't battle back well once the cat gets into a good biting position, but the kangaroo will have some forelimb usage to help it a bit more at close quarters.  A clouded leopard can certainly kill a kangaroo with a well-executed ambush, but face-to-face will be a steeper challenge for the felid.  A grey kangaroo will repel the clouded leopard on many occasions, but the cat is capable of maneuvering around the marsupial's defenses and latching on.  Reasonably close contest with the grey kangaroo, but a big red kangaroo will be too powerful (face-to-face) for the clouded leopard on most occasions.  Overall edge to kangaroo.

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.