Interspecies Conflict/Animal Planet

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Question
Its nice to be talking to you again BK and I hope every thing is going well. So lets get down to the questions.

1.The Siberian Tiger is the largest feline in the world, and so lets say this Tiger did battle with these large herbivores,who would prevail?

A. Siberian Tiger vs Cape Buffalo

B. Siberian Tiger vs Yak

C. Siberian Tiger vs Gaur

D. Siberian Tiger vs Giant Eland

E. Siberian Tiger vs Moose

F. Siberian Tiger vs American Bison

2.Which solo predator would come closest to defeating a White Rhino?

3.Could a Wolverine fight off a Bengal Tiger? I know wolverines have been known to drive away bears from kills,so its probably possible.

4.Whats the largest animal a Kodiak Bear could kill?

5.Could a Leopard bring down a Moose?

6.How much does a African Elephant weigh?

7.Gorilla Troop vs Gray Wolf Pack?

Thank You

Answer
Hello Trish.  Good to hear from you again.


Siberian Tiger vs Cape Buffalo: A Cape buffalo can weigh between 2 and 2 1/2 times as much as a Siberian tiger.  Siberian tigers aren't as large as they once were, but they have been the largest of all cats for many years.  Like all tigers, they have impressive power, quickness, agility, athleticism, weaponry (strong jaws, sharp teeth & claws) and killing experience.  These attributes help them to be extremely good hunters and very capable fighters.  Siberian tigers occasionally battle brown bears in disputes over carcasses, and are very adept hunters of large deer and wild pigs.  Cape buffalo are large bovids that can be very dangerous prey targets due to their ill tempers, unpredictable behavior, large size, and great strength.  Even groups of lions have difficulty bringing these beasts down.  A Cape buffalo can easily kill a lion with its curved horns and sharp hooves, and these herbivores typically congregate in large groups for added protection.  Bengal tigers routinely ambush buffalo with success, and the Siberian tiger has the ability to do the same despite the fact they don't deal with bovids like their warmer-weather counterparts do.  However, a face-to-face encounter is a lot different than an ambush situation.  A Siberian tiger can definitely succeed in ambushing a Cape buffalo, but it won't be favored in any encounter in which the buffalo is aware of its presence.  Edge to Cape buffalo.  

Siberian Tiger vs Yak: A yak can weigh almost 3 1/2 times as much as a Siberian tiger.  Yaks are not nearly as aggressive or dangerous as most other bovids, but they are still large and powerful animals with sharp horns and hooves.  If the yak doesn't panic and can keep the tiger in front of it, it will have a decent chance of repelling the carnivore.  Yaks don't have the experience of many other bovids when it comes to dealing with large predatory cats, and that will be a small chink in the yak's armor (metaphorically speaking).  If the tiger can avoid the yak's charges and grip onto its neck area with its jaws & claws, the yak will be in trouble.  I like the Siberian tiger's chances in an ambush, but a face-to face encounter won't be easy for it.  Close to 50/50; slight edge to the yak.

Siberian Tiger vs Gaur: A typical adult gaur can weigh almost 3 1/2 times as much as a Siberian tiger, and a very large bull can reportedly weigh almost 5 times as much on rare occasions.  Bengal tigers deal with gaur rather often, and single tigers have successfully killed them through ambush.  A Siberian tiger might not be as experienced as a Bengal tiger at dealing with a gaur, but it still hunts and kills in a similar way.  The gaur is the largest bovid on the planet.  Its usual maximum weight is about 2,200lb, but considering it can get over 1ft taller at the shoulder than a Cape buffalo, it's not unreasonable to assign much greater weights to it.  With its great size, muscular build, and thick horns, the gaur would be favored in a face-to-face encounter with any land predator in the world.  Tigers (like all big cats) are capable of amazing feats, but taking on a bull gaur face-to-face is typically beyond the capabilities of a Bengal tiger, and the same will be true with a Siberian tiger.  Even an ambush would be a steep challenge.  It's not impossible for a Siberian tiger to defeat a gaur in a face-to-face matchup, but the gaur will be heavily favored.  Gaur wins.

Siberian Tiger vs Giant Eland: A giant eland can weigh 3 times as much as a Siberian tiger.  The eland is the world's largest antelope.  It has spiral-shaped horns that can reach 4ft in length, and they form a "V" sloping back with the plane of its face.  Eland are athletic and agile for their size, and are reasonably swift.  When faced with danger, the eland will try to flee as opposed to standing its ground.  Because of the angle of its horns, the eland has to bend its head down considerably in order to impale anything with them.  Its horns aren't positioned as well for combat as, let's say, a Cape buffalo's, and a giant eland isn't as formidable an adversary as an equally-sized Cape buffalo would be.  Good prey items for Siberian tigers aren't very abundant in their habitat, so when they do come across something, they usually pursue and attack with a great deal of determination.  A Siberian tiger would be able to ambush a giant eland with a decent amount of success, and would do reasonably well in a face-to-face encounter.  The tiger will likely attempt to circle around the eland as opposed to engaging it head-on, and once the cat grips on with its claws, the antelope will have a mighty struggle trying to dislodge it.  Close to 50/50; slight edge to the Siberian tiger.

Siberian Tiger vs Moose: A moose weighs almost 2 1/2 times as much as a Siberian tiger.  Siberian tigers primarily feed upon cervids (deer) and suids (pigs), so a moose will be something the cat will be practiced at dealing with.  A moose is the largest deer on the planet, and has wide-spreading antlers that can serve as a shield or a ramming device against an attacker.  it can also kick with its hooves.  The moose will be able to fend off the tiger initially as long as it keeps its antlers facing the cat, but eventually the agile tiger will find an opening to attack from the side.  Once the tiger clears the antlers, it can hang on with its claws and secure a killing bite to the throat.  Not an easy task, but the tiger should be favored most of the time.  Edge to Siberian tiger.

Siberian Tiger vs American Bison: An American bison can weigh almost 3 1/2 times as much as a Siberian tiger.  The American bison is the largest land animal in the Americas, and its weight can exceed 2,200lb.  It has a very robust neck and shoulder area.  The bison's horns extend from the sides of the head and curve upward, and are thick and sharp.  This herbivore fights by charging forward like a battering ram, but will also hook with its horns.   A single tiger (Bengal or Siberian) is certainly capable of defeating an American bison, but without an ambush, its chances aren't good.  The powerful charges of the bison can easily injure the tiger, and the thick muscular neck area will be hard to secure a decent throat bite on while the huge bovid is resisting.  Bison don't deal with predatory felids the size of a tiger, but still have the strength and weaponry to repel a single one more times than not if the encounter is face-to-face.  Edge to American bison.


Q: Which solo predator would come closest to defeating a White Rhino?
A: A typical adult white rhinoceros will weigh 2 1/2 tons, and some exceptional individuals can approach 4 tons in weight.  A white rhino can exceed 6ft in shoulder height.  It is incredibly strong, tank-like in build, has very tough hide, and is armed with a frontal horn (with a shorter one behind it) that can be used to gore adversaries.  Once full-grown, a healthy white rhinoceros is virtually immune from predation.  There's no land predator I would favor against a white rhino (face-to-face or ambush), and there's none I would even give any decent chance at all.  Large bears (polar, Kodiak, etc.) won't have the mobility to avoid the white rhinoceros' charge, the strength to control the rhino's movement in any fashion, or the specialized killing ability needed to bring down an adversary this much larger than itself.  Even a huge saltwater crocodile would have no way to overpower a full-grown white rhino.  A Komodo dragon might be able to eventually kill a white rhino with a penetrating bite, but the rhino could easily kill it in seconds if it wanted to.  A king cobra is a predator, and its bite might be able to kill a white rhino (if the fangs find an area to penetrate and the snake injects the maximum amount of venom), but a rhino could simply trample it to death if it wanted to.  The animals with the best chance will be the big cats.  A large male tiger will have a better chance than a large male lion because a tiger is more accustomed to attacking prey solo (the male lion has help or lets the lionesses do most of the work).  A lion can physically do the same things a tiger can do, but a tiger just has more encounters against other types of animals on a one-on-one basis because it is usually solitary.  Tigers also get larger than lions.  A tiger will have the agility to avoid many of the rhino's charges, turns, and thrusts with its horn, but will have difficulty breaching the tough hide of the rhino without a significant effort with its teeth and claws.  The rhino might have trouble throwing a tiger off of itself once the tiger jumps upon it, but the tiger's usual method of killing (throat bite) won't be a reasonable course of action with such a large, stout animal.  Bengal tigers have reportedly killed adult Indian rhinos, so I won't say it's impossible for a tiger (Bengal or Siberian) to kill a white rhinoceros.  It's just very, very improbable.  Even lion prides fail to kill single rhinoceroses.  To find a predator with a decent chance to kill a white rhino, we would need to travel back to prehistoric times.  Even then, there are many of these creatures that won't be favored to defeat a white rhinoceros.  Smilodon, American lion, Ngandong tiger, Pleistocene polar bear, Andrewsarchus, Amphicyon, Hyaenodon gigas, short-faced bear, and others are among the largest predatory mammals ever to walk the earth, and I would not favor any of them to defeat a white rhinoceros face-to-face.  To find a predator that would be favored, some of the theropod dinosaurs would need to be considered.  

Q: Could a Wolverine fight off a Bengal Tiger?
A: A Bengal tiger can weigh over 14 times as much as a wolverine.  Wolverines are among the strongest mammals (and combatants) pound-for-pound.  They have thick fur, supple bodies, and good endurance.  They are armed with strong jaws (can crush bone), powerful clawed limbs (perfect for digging), and nearly unmatched ferocity in the animal kingdom.  Wolverines can kill prey items many times heavier than themselves (although some of these are encumbered by deep snow or other conditions).  Wolverines, like you mentioned, are famous for being able to drive more formidable animals (wolves, bears, etc.) away with their fierce attack and staunch determination.  The saying "it's not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog" applies here.  A black bear, puma, or a gray wolf can certainly kill a wolverine in a fight (and any of these animals would be favored in a serious battle), but in many realistic encounters these larger creatures don't match the level of the wolverine's intensity and determination.  There are many cases where a smaller, less-formidable animal bests a larger, more formidable one in a physical confrontation because the smaller animal fights more savagely (likely because it has more at stake).  You've probably seen the video of the female puma driving away a large grizzly bear.  The puma was trying to keep the bear from finding her cubs, and she was likely very close to "fight to the death" mode.  The bear was probably foraging, and happened to come across the puma.  After fierce resistance from the puma, the bear backed off and moved on.  The grizzly bear could have easily killed the puma, but the level of intensity wasn't nearly as high in the bear as it was in the puma.  A wolverine would be in trouble if it came across a Bengal tiger.  Big cats follow the credo "if it moves, it will be investigated", and usually attack anything they discover.  Bengal tigers readily attack animals (sometimes predatory animals) much larger than a wolverine without hesitation.  A tiger attacking a wolverine won't try to tussle with it, it will simply follow the "attack/control/secure neck bite" procedure to overcome it.  The wolverine will fight back valiantly, but the mustelid will be completely outmatched and have very few options once the tiger gets a hold of it.  I wouldn't rule out an occasion here-and-there where a wolverine repels a less-than-interested tiger, but if the tiger acts like tigers act on most occasions, the wolverine's life will be in serious jeopardy.

Q: What's the largest animal a Kodiak Bear could kill?
A: Kodiak bears (1,500lb and 5ft at the shoulder) usually don't attack large prey items, and the largest animal they realistically kill is another Kodiak bear.  This bear may not be as experienced as some other bears (like polar bears) when it comes to killing larger animals, but it has the tools to do so even if it doesn't do it all the time.  Kodiak bears are immensely strong, have powerful jaws, and muscular limbs armed with long claws.  Bears can grab, swipe, and bite in a conflict.  Their endurance and durability make them difficult adversaries in a fight.  There's a few animals that a Kodiak bear won't be favored to defeat in a fight, but will still have the capability of defeating (or killing) them on occasion.  We'll start with animals that can't be considered.  Elephants, rhinos, and hippos are too large and formidable for a Kodiak bear to have any reasonable chance against.  A giraffe is another animal that is too heavy and dangerous for a Kodiak bear to have much of a chance against.  Its vulnerable areas are too high for the bear to easily reach, and the bear can't avoid the powerful kicks from the giraffe.  The elephant seal and the walrus are probably out of the Kodiak bear's range also (it has no experience dealing with pinnipeds and it's giving up too much weight).  The gaur is probably well out of range as well, but I don't think it's an impossibility for a Kodiak bear to kill one.  The Kodiak bear can deliver a swipe to the gaur's head that can potentially stun the bovid, and that might give the bear enough of an opening to make a successful attack.  Having said that, a gaur will defeat a Kodiak bear in a face-to-face encounter almost every single time.  Some crocodiles (Nile and saltwater) can reach over a ton in weight, and a Kodiak bear would have a decent chance of killing one in a land encounter.  I would actually favor a Kodiak bear on land to defeat one, but not in the water.  Other bovids that exceed the bear's weight (water buffalo, bison, yak, wisent) will be favored against the bear, but the bear is capable of killing them (although the percentage of success will be quite low).  Cape buffalo, eland, and moose would be tough challenges for the Kodiak bear in a confrontation, but the Kodiak has the tools to kill them all (again, the success rate won't be great against the buffalo and will only be decent against the moose and the eland).  Other Kodiak bears and polar bears (which can equal the Kodiak bear in weight) can be killed by the Kodiak, but those fights will be close to 50/50.  There are some animals smaller than a Kodiak bear that the bear won't successfully kill all the time.  Domestic animals (like cows and horses) might be easily killed by a Kodiak bear.  Even a large Shire horse or a Clydesdale (both potentially exceeding a ton) can be killed by a Kodiak.  Bears aren't as adept at killing larger animals as big cats are, but they are terrific fighters, and killing a larger animal can't be ruled out.  To answer the question, I'd say the gaur is the largest animal a Kodiak bear could potentially kill (even though it won't be favored to do so) without fluke occurrences being considered.

Q: Could a Leopard bring down a Moose?
A: A moose can weigh 8 times as much as a leopard.  Leopards are very strong cats (among the strongest pound-for-pound) and have very muscular head, neck, and shoulder areas.  They are capable of dragging heavy prey items into trees, which is a testament to their great power.  Leopards have reportedly ambushed eland, but these may have been subadult versions of this antelope.  In a face-to-face situation, a healthy bull moose would have nothing to fear from a leopard.  Even with an ambush, a leopard would not be successful killing a 1,600lb moose a vast majority of the time.  Because many ambush attempts fail and turn into face-to-face battles, a predator needs to choose its quarry carefully to avoid injury.  A leopard is physically capable of performing the actions required to kill a moose, but getting from the initial ambush to a position favorable enough to hang on tight while sinking in a finishing throat bite will be extremely difficult.  The abilities of a big cat can't be underestimated, and I won't say a leopard can't succeed, but for a leopard to successfully kill an adult bull moose with (and certainly without) an ambush would be a freak occurrence.   

Q: How much does a African Elephant weigh?
A: Typically, an adult male African elephant will average 5 1/2 tons in weight, and will rarely exceed 6 tons.  There are exceptions, however, and these massive pachyderms have exceeded this weight on rare occasions.  I checked 5 of the books I use to get the maximum weight of an African elephant, and they listed 6.6, 7, 7.5, 7.5, and 7.75 tons for that particular stat (an average of 7.27 tons among the five answers).  A biology book I used in college stated that an African elephant could reach 8 tons in weight and stand almost 2 stories at the shoulder!  One internet article states there was an elephant shot in Angola that exceeded 13 tons in weight, but that's far from the norm.  While it is possible for an extremely large elephant to attain over 7 1/2 tons in weight, most full-grown male African elephants walking around don't exceed 6 tons in weight.


Gorilla Troop vs Gray Wolf Pack: This depends in part on how many animals are in each group, and the makeup of each group.  A large gorilla troop can consist of close to 40 animals (including young) but often doesn't exceed 10 members, and a typical gray wolf pack doesn't exceed 10 members (including young) but can reach greater numbers.  A gorilla troop is led by one dominant male (called a silverback) that is charged with protection of the group.  A silverback gorilla (usually over the age of 12) can weigh 460lb, and he will fight to the death to protect his troop.  On some occasions a gorilla troop contains several males (usually brothers) that are called "blackbacks" and range in age from 8-12.  They will defer to the silverback when the troop is in danger, but will initially join in with vocalization and perhaps displays of intimidation until their participation is required.  Some troops, however, just have one adult male.  If attacked directly, any gorilla will attempt to defend itself.  Although they aren't experienced battling animals outside of their own species (only leopards routinely attack them, albeit seldomly), they can be dangerous adversaries for any attacker due to their tremendous strength and sharp canines (that can cause serious wounds in gorilla vs gorilla fights).  Gorillas have powerful arms with grabbing hands (to pull and strike), and very strong jaws with large canine teeth (to deliver bites).  A gray wolf pack usually consists of an alpha male & female, a beta male, and younger animals (some male, some female) that are lower in the hierarchy.  A wolf pack will usually hunt and fight as a team.  A wolf is a large canid (a male can reach 130lb in weight) with powerful jaws, good lateral quickness, and good endurance.  In a serious battle where all adults participate, the gorilla troop will have enough numbers to repel the gray wolf pack.  The silverback gorilla will require the attention of the alpha male, the alpha female, and the beta male, and the remaining wolves that aren't pups (that may number 2 or 3) will need to contend with any "blackbacks" or females (a female gorilla can easily outweigh any wolf).  Considering that many gray wolf packs only have 2 adults amongst them, a single silverback gorilla will be a handful for one of these packs.  If these animals shared a habitat a gray wolf pack would be able to predate upon gorillas from time-to-time (by distracting and outmaneuvering the adults while a single target is snatched), but a gorilla troop on full alert should be able to repel an attacking wolf pack more times than not due to the size advantage of the participating adults.  A large wolf pack that is top-heavy with males or members close to adulthood will have a good chance to defeat a gorilla troop with one male and small number of females in the mix, but this won't be typical.  The fact that wolves will work better as a team than the gorillas must be factored in, but that won't always make up for the fact that the gorilla troop will typically consist of much larger individual animals.  If by wolf pack vs gorilla troop you mean adults vs adults from top-to-bottom, at least 2.5 male wolves will be needed for each male gorilla, 1.5 male wolves will be needed for each female gorilla, at least 3 female wolves will be needed for each male gorilla, and 2 female wolves will be needed for each female gorilla.  Overall edge to gorilla troop.


Great questions!  The Siberian tiger (along with the brown bear) is my favorite animal.


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.

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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.

Education/Credentials
Associate degree in unrelated field; biology classes in college.

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