Interspecies Conflict/Hypothetically


Hey Bk, I have another batch of questions,

Gorilla vs Jaguar
Deinonychus vs 2 Gray Wolves
6 African Lions vs White Rhino
6 Utahraptors vs Triceratops

Now, this is somewhat of a park question but it has to do with a real country

Now firstly, Philippines doesn't have many fierce animals, only the Saltwater Crocodile so far. Now in our zoos we have Bengal Tigers, Asian Elephants, Sun Bears, Siberian Tigers, Zebras, Horses, White-tailed Deer and Bactrian Camels. What if we introduced them to the Philippine ecosystem. Now, from what I know, these are the natives.
Countless breeds of dogs
Countless breeds of cats
Reticulated python
Saltwater Crocodile

Tamaraw and Carabao (both smaller cousins of the water buffalo)
Zebu breed of cow
Visayan warty pig
Mouse Deer

Now how would this ecosystem function with these new animals if they were released?
(Note: Ignore the fact that Philippines has separate islands, just pretend that there are land bridges)

Hello Lawrence.

Gorilla vs Jaguar: A jaguar will weigh about 2/3rd the gorilla's weight.  Jaguars are widely considered to be the strongest cat 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 or spine to dispatch it.  Jaguars sometimes haul heavy prey items into trees (much like leopards do in Africa) to escape rising flood waters.  Gorillas are muscular animals with strong bites (and sharp teeth), powerful forearms (spanning over 2.5m), and grabbing hands.  Gorillas aren't accustomed to taking on large animals of another species, and won't have the know-how to bring their impressive physical attributes to bear in a fight with a jaguar (what they look like they can do and what they actually will do are 2 different things).  Gorillas typically resort to bluffing when hostilities arise with other gorillas, but any serious fighting involves pulling, biting, and pounding (although blows that land may be more inadvertent than precise).  If a gorilla was more experienced at fighting other types of animals, its physical attributes would certainly give it the ability to defeat a jaguar most of the time.  As is, however, that's not the case.  An angry gorilla might succeed in intimidating a jaguar into a retreat on some occasions (and perhaps most occasions), but a jaguar intent on completing a kill will be able to do so more times than not.  The jaguar's crushing bite, sharp claws, and killing experience will be enough to overcome the gorilla's size and strength.  The cat will close in on the gorilla and use its agility and quickness to find a good location to sink its teeth into.  Edge to jaguar.

Deinonychus vs 2 Gray Wolves: The Deinonychus will weigh about 25% more than each gray wolf.  Deinonychus has an impressive arsenal of weaponry at its disposal.  It has a strong bite with sharp teeth, clawed forelimbs to grab and claw with, and clawed hindlimbs to kick and slash with.  Deinonychus can leap well, and its stiff tail gives it the ability to make quick turns.  Gray wolves are practiced pack hunters with good endurance and good lateral quickness.  They cooperate to bring down large animals from time-to-time, and their strong jaws can seize prey items, shear flesh, and crush bone.  The 2 wolves will work as a team against the Deinonychus, and attack it from 2 sides.  Wolves usually attempt to seize the snout and the tail of a herbivore to hold it in place (while others attack from other angles), but they may elect to employ the bite & retreat approach (they usually target face and flanks of most prey items) until the dromaeosaurid is worn down.  The wolves will then target the throat when going in for the kill.  They will need to be extremely wary of the Deinonychus' deadly kicks.  If the Deinonychus can seriously injure one of the wolves soon after the onset of the battle, it may have a chance to dispatch the other one before the injured wolf rejoins the fray.  The Deinonychus will have the edge against a single gray wolf, but not against 2 of them.  2 gray wolves win.   

6 African Lions vs White Rhino: An average white rhinoceros can weigh over 12 times as much as an average male African lion and over 50% taller at the shoulder.  At maximum weights, the size ratio may be even greater.  Male lions are charged with protection of the pride, and commonly battle rival males.  They also join in on prey capture from time-to-time if the quarry is large (like a giraffe or Cape buffalo), but lionesses typically do most of the hunting.  A lion is a very formidable combatant due to its, speed, agility, athleticism, strength, weaponry (jaws & claws), and killing know-how (is experienced at getting into position to apply a neck or throat bite to dispatch prey targets).  White rhinos are huge herbivores.  They can exceed 1.8m at the shoulder, and have stocky tank-like bodies.  A rhino can make powerful movements and turns that enable it to trample or gore (with the longer of its 2 nose horns) adversaries or attackers.  Lions usually need to bring large animals (like buffalo or zebra) to the ground before killing them, and doing this to a 2268kg white rhinoceros will be nearly impossible considering the herbivore's bulk, strength, thick hide, stability, and low center-of-gravity (which enables it to make violent movements while maintaining its balance).  A group of 6 lions may be able to pull this off on occasion, but the odds will be stacked against them.  A white rhino, if healthy and in its prime, will simply be too big and strong for the lions to contend with.  White rhino wins.

6 Utahraptors vs Triceratops: A large Triceratops can weigh almost 10 tons, which is 18 times as heavy as each Utahraptor.  I answered a similar question a while back ("very big battles" on 7/9/14) involving a matchup between a 15-ton Eotriceratops and 6 Utahraptors weighing 600kg each (so the Eotriceratops weighs about 22.6 times as much as each Utahraptor assuming the ton used is a short ton (907kg) instead of a metric ton (1000kg).  Here is that answer:

"Eotriceratops was a larger version of Triceratops, and was armed with 2 long sharp brow horns used (allegedly) to impale adversaries.  It also had a smaller nose horn and a large neck frill (that afforded it protection from attacks to the neck & other anterior areas).  Utahraptors were slender, agile, theropods with good leaping ability.  They were believed to occasionally hunt in groups, and were armed with decent bites, clawed forelimbs (to grab & hold), & clawed hindlimbs (to kick & slash).  Eotriceratops is the more powerful participant in this matchup by far, but 6 Utahraptors attacking en masse can be problematic for a single opponent (even if much larger & well-armed).  Eotriceratops can easily kill a Utahraptor by stabbing, trampling, or even biting one, but effectively repelling multiple ones (especially ones clinging & attacking on its posterior half) will be difficult.  It will take a while to seriously injure the ceratopsian, and the Utahraptor's numbers will likely be reduced before too much time has passed.  Eotriceratops' ability to fight well, along with its massive size advantage, should give it the assets needed to survive this encounter & prevail.  Eotriceratops wins."

I've admittedly been somewhat on the fence with this answer because despite the Eotriceratops' ability to "fight well", fighting 6 quick, evasive opponents can be a lot different than one large opponent (like a Tyrannosaurus).  The "superior physical prowess" of the Eotriceratops can't easily translate into "superior fighting prowess" or "effective fighting ability" in this particular matchup.  The Eotriceratops won't be quick enough to easily utilize its horns, bite, and body weight against the attacking Utahraptors, and it won't be able to easily use these assets to dislodge the theropods from atop its body.  The Utahraptors won't likely do enough damage before they give up to find a less time-consuming meal, so the Eotriceratops can be granted victory from time-to-time on that basis.  It's easy to underestimate the abilities of an animal group when they are individually much smaller than their opponent (especially when they are practiced at attacking as a group), and the saying "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" certainly rings true when it comes to animals like wolves, hyenas, orcas, lions, ants, piranhas, and quite possibly dromaeosaurids (like Utahraptor) and many others.  From a ratio standpoint the Triceratops isn't as large as the Eotriceratops compared to the Utahraptors, and its chances will be a bit less.  Edge to Utahraptors.

Q: How would this ecosystem function with these new animals if they were released?
A: The release of these animals would create havoc in this ecosystem with many of the incumbent "prey" items not having the instincts or defenses to defend themselves against the introduced predators (especially the tigers) and the introduced herbivores (the zebra a possible exception) won't know to exercise caution when close to a crocodile-infested waterway or remaining in the vicinity of an approaching python.  The needs of the introduced animals might not be met to the same degree as they would be in their own habitats, and the comfort level of the native ones will be lessened as they become exposed to the introduced ones.  I will give a general breakdown of possible encounters.

Bengal tiger: This superb predator will be the most dangerous newcomer to the ecosystem.  It will likely battle the Siberian tiger if their paths cross (close battle at equal weights) and may possibly attack a young Asian elephant if there are any (an adult Asian elephant will be generally safe from predation, but the tiger will be the biggest potential threat).  This tiger will be a serious threat to the sun bear (which will only be 1/4 of the tiger's weight), and will be a danger to the reticulated python.  A Bengal tiger can kill an average-sized saltwater crocodile on land, but a full-sized one will be too large on most occasions.  The tiger will need to avoid any crocodile-infested waters (this includes coastal waters and inland rivers), as the reptiles can catch and drown it.  The tiger can fight well in shallow water, but many crocodiles will be too big and powerful for it to contend with.  The camels, zebu, tamaraw, carabao, zebra, and horses will be prey targets for the tiger, and the white-tailed deer (very swift and alert) will need to be ambushed.  Any domestic cats or dogs will be eaten if encountered.  Pigs, goats, and sheep are fair game as well, along with any other smaller animal.  The number of tigers introduced will be an indicator of how much effect this species will have on everything else.  Will need access to fresh water.

Siberian tiger: Will have the same overall relationships as the Bengal tiger, but may be less savvy when dealing with crocodiles.  Normally a cold-weather inhabitant, the Siberian tiger will likely not do well initially in the warmer climate.  A timely adaptation process as well as a reduction in its thick fur coat will need to occur for this animal to function comfortably.

Sun bear: This is the smallest of all bears (65kg), but is a potentially fierce animal with sharp claws and strong jaws.  It's success will depend on the availability of insects, fruit, honey, small animals, and its avoidance of large predators (tiger, crocodile).  The reticulated python may be a threat via ambush, but the bear should be able to defend itself if it's aware of the constrictor's presence.  It won't be able to capture or overpower large animals (and won't try), but it may be a threat to the smaller ones (dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, mouse deer).  Will likely stick to the rainforest areas (it lives in forests) and will have no problems with the climate.

Reticulated python: Will need to avoid the tigers.  Will ambush any small-to-medium prey items (cats, dogs, chickens, goats, pigs, sheep), and should know its boundaries in regards to the saltwater crocodile (one's in coastal waters, one's primarily in the rainforest area).  Won't be a threat to the large adult animals (zebra, camels, horses, elephants, tamaraw, carabao, zebu) but can be a menace to young ones.

Asian elephant: An adult elephant will be typically safe from predation, and will be the dominant herbivore.  Will need grassy areas and fresh water sources.  Will be responsible for pushing many other herbivores out of their comfort zone by moving into whatever area suits them.  As with the other introduced animals, how many of each species is added will determine how much change will occur and how much things will be thrown off-balance.  One elephant might not wreak too much havoc, but several of them surely will.

Zebra/Horse: Will be a target for the tigers.  Will be vulnerable to attack from crocodiles if it strays near water.  Will need to have a fresh water source readily available.

Bactrian camel: Will be a target for tigers.  Will need fresh water sources at times.  accustomed to harsh climate conditions; should be able to adapt.

White-tailed deer: Will need trees for cover at times, but will be fast enough to flee from most dangers.  An expert at detecting approaching predators, but may be surprised by the introduced tigers from time-to-time.

Good set of questions!

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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