Interspecies Conflict/Who Is The Winner?


Hey BK its nice to be talking to you again and I'm glad your still available because I've got more interesting animal conflicts I would like to get your opinion on. Here goes

American Bison vs Lion

Cougar vs Gray Wolf

Great White Shark vs Walrus

Giraffe vs Cape Buffalo

Gorilla vs Wildebeest

Jaguar vs Nile Crocodile

Moose vs Gorilla

Thank You

Hello Trish.

American Bison vs Lion: An American bison can weigh 4 times as much as a lion.  Lions are agile, athletic & quick, and have great weaponry (jaws & claws).  They usually hunt in a pride, and are well-practiced at tackling large bovids (Cape buffalo, eland).  It usually takes multiple lions to overpower a Cape buffalo, and the same would be true with an American bison.  A bison will ram with its huge head and hook with its sharp horns in a fight.  A single lion is certainly capable of defeating an American bison, but without an ambush, its chances aren't very good at all.  The powerful charges of the bison can easily injure the lion, 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 lion like Cape buffalo do, but still have the strength & weaponry to repel a single one more times than not.  American bison wins.

Cougar vs Gray Wolf: A cougar can weigh over 50% more than a gray wolf.  Cougars sometimes encounter wolves, and a solo wolf is not a serious threat to an adult cougar.  Cougars have great agility and athleticism, and can use their skill of applying a finishing bite to the neck or snout to subdue animals larger than themselves.  Wolves have good endurance and big bites, but a single one will have trouble dealing with the sharp claws and fast reflexes of a cougar.  A cougar will likely back away from a wolf if it thinks others are close by, but can kill a wolf if it chooses to attack one.  The cougar can use its forelimbs to gain control of the wolf's body (or pull it to the ground) and secure a position to deliver a killing bite.  A gray wolf will have a hard time landing a decent bite of its own while dealing with the cat's quickness and swiping claws, but any bite it lands probably won't cause enough damage to matter before the felid gains the upper hand.  In a realistic encounter the cougar will simply drive the wolf away.  2 gray wolves will give a cougar a good fight, but not 1.  Cougar wins.

Great White Shark vs Walrus: The great white shark will weigh about 25% more than the walrus.  The walrus will have greater overall mobility in the water, but won't be able to make the same quick movements of the shark.  The hide of the walrus is extremely tough (polar bears have a hard time breaching it), and it covers a thick layer of blubber.  However, the razor-sharp teeth of the great white shark can slice into a walrus & induce blood loss rather easily.  The tusks of the walrus can kill the shark with a precise strike, but the chances are great that the shark will land a significant bite before that happens.  A shark usually won't risk taking on a formidable animal like a walrus face-to-face because of the danger involved (they prefer to ambush), but a serious battle will favor the fish.  Edge to great white shark.

Giraffe vs Cape Buffalo: A giraffe can weigh well over twice a Cape buffalo's weight, and the shoulder height of the bovid will be slightly less than the distance from the giraffe's belly to the ground.  The giraffe is typically a peaceful animal, and will only get violent when it battles another male for dominance (by using its neck and head as a club) or when it defends itself from predators (by kicking strongly with its hooves).  A Cape buffalo can be ill-tempered and unpredictable, and often battles lions in fierce confrontations.  A Cape buffalo's horns can be dangerous weapons, and lions have been killed by this powerful bovid.  A Cape buffalo and a giraffe will likely coexist peacefully, but any hostilities that arise might lead to the buffalo driving the more timid giraffe away.  However, if a giraffe is determined to fight back, it will be able to seriously injure the smaller herbivore with a bevy of powerful kicks.  Edge to giraffe.

Gorilla vs Wildebeest: These animals will be reasonably close in weight, but a large wildebeest can weigh close to 30% more.  A gorilla is an imposing animal with an intimidating physical build, but it's not experienced in combat with animals other than fellow gorillas.  A gorilla has great strength, long arms that span 8.5ft, and very strong jaws armed with sharp teeth.  Even though this ape seems to have the attributes to be a very good fighter, its lack of practice and know-how keep if from attaining a very lofty status in that regard.  A gorilla can be a handful for anything that might attack it (a leopard, for instance) because of its grabbing hands, muscular limbs, and sharp teeth (so it's definitely not a pushover).  A wildebeest is a battle-tested antelope that often has to defend itself from a variety of predators (lions, crocodiles, hyenas, leopards, etc.) and primarily uses its horns to do this.  A wildebeest is a fast runner, but will fight strongly if forced to.  A gorilla is certainly capable of using its hands and strength to force a wildebeest to the ground, but that's not what a gorilla does.  It won't really know what to do against an angry wildebeest, and the ape won't have the speed or mobility to avoid getting gored.  A gorilla might be able to get the better of the conflict on occasion with strikes (which will be more inadvertent than precise) and bites as it's trying to defend itself, but in most situations the wildebeest will have a better idea of what to do than the gorilla.  Edge to wildebeest.

Jaguar vs Nile Crocodile: A large Nile crocodile can weigh close to 6 times as much as a jaguar.  Jaguars are specialists at killing reptiles (including black caiman), and this will give it a small chance to succeed.  The jaguar is a very powerful, muscular animal with a very high bite force.  It can bite through a caiman's armor and crush turtle shells, and the cat typically attempts to crush the skull or spine when it attacks.  Nile crocodiles are among the top predators of Africa.  Crocodiles kill by drowning, and this is done by ambushing prey at the river's edge and seizing them in their massively powerful jaws and dragging the victim underwater.  A crocodile is much for formidable in the water than on land.  On land it has limited mobility and endurance, but can still make quick movements in short bursts.  In the water a crocodile can move about more freely and make much stronger movements (including its famous "death roll").  A jaguar will need to get into a favorable position on the back of the crocodile, hang on with its claws, and deliver a bite to the skull to have a chance to defeat this huge reptile.  In water the jaguar's chances will be very poor, as the crocodile will have a significant power advantage.  The jaguar will have a better opportunity on land if it can tire the crocodile while avoiding its jaws, but the size difference will be too great for the jaguar to be favored.  The crocodile's armor will protect it from all but the most precise attacks from the jaguar, and the jaguar won't be able to control the reptile's movements long enough to deliver the bite it needs on most occasions.  Nile crocodile wins.

Moose vs Gorilla: A moose can weigh 3 1/2 times as much as a gorilla.  A moose is the largest, heaviest deer on the planet.  Its wide-spreading antlers can be used to push and drive into rival males or attacking predators, and its sharp hooves can be dangerous as well.  A gorilla is a powerful animal, but most conflicts that arise are concluded with nothing more than noise and displays of intimidation in lieu of serious physical confrontations.  A silverback gorilla will fight to the death to defend his troop, but one would get steamrolled by a bull moose.  The moose would easily plow into the gorilla to drive it away, and the gorilla would not have the strength or experience to defend itself adequately.  What a gorilla looks like it could do and what a gorilla actually will do are 2 different things.  The ape has no claws or predatory instincts to help it in subduing a moose, and nothing a gorilla can bring to the table will help it against an aggressive 1,600lb herbivore with huge antlers.  Moose wins.

Good questions!

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.

©2016 All rights reserved.