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Interspecies Conflict/Walrus vs Wildebeest


Hi BK who would win between a Walrus and a Wildebeest? I think on land this makes for an interesting battle.

Whats the largest animal a Nile Crocodile could bring down?


Hello Gian.

Walrus vs Wildebeest: A walrus can weigh over 7 times as much as wildebeest.  Walruses are massive aquatic mammals with rotund bodies and sharp tusks that can measure up to 3ft in length.  These tusks can be used to defend themselves against rival males or attacking predators.  Walruses have tough hides that offer protection from attack, and the thick layer of blubber underneath helps keep them insulated from the cold.  A bull walrus is more than a match for a full-grown polar bear.  Wildebeests are sturdy antelopes with ox-like horns approaching 2 1/2ft in length.  They commonly deal with predators like lions, leopards, hyenas, African hunting dogs, and crocodiles.  Wildebeests primarily use their horns to defend themselves, but their hooves can be potentially dangerous as well.  An attack of a wildebeest by a predator isn't always successful even when the predator is rather formidable (lioness, crocodile) due to the wildebeest being strong and determined in its efforts to escape.  A battle between a walrus and a wildebeest would likely lead to the walrus driving the antelope away rather quickly simply by lumbering toward it.  I've seen a video of a wildebeest refusing to back down to a rhinoceros (it got tossed in the air for its trouble), so it's possible there's a stubborn one that might initially decide to stand its ground against a walrus.  The wildebeest will have a definite speed and mobility advantage (and can certainly play "keep away"), but it will need to get dangerously close to the walrus to apply any of its offense.  The horns and hooves of the wildebeest will only cause minimal damage to a rugged walrus, and the walrus can easily kill the wildebeest with a tusk thrust or seriously injure it by using the forward movement of its heavy body.  The walrus is simply too large and well-protected to lose to a wildebeest on land, and the pinniped's increased mobility in a water battle will give it a gigantic advantage over the smaller antelope.  For other walrus vs herbivore matchups, check out "Matchups both balanced and unbalanced" from 6/13/14.  Walrus wins.

Q: What's the largest animal a Nile Crocodile could bring down?
A: A Nile crocodile is a gigantic armored reptile with huge, vice-like jaws filled with numerous pointed teeth.  A typical adult Nile crocodile can weigh between 500-1,000lbs, but some reach weights of over 2,000lbs and exceed 20ft in length.  They are exceptional ambush predators, grabbing unsuspecting animals from the water's edge when they come to drink (or attempt to swim across the river in which they reside).  The fact that crocodiles have remained virtually unchanged for so many years is a testament to their success as hunters and survivors.  A crocodile doesn't have great mobility on land (can make fast movements in short bursts, though) and its stamina is limited (although some battle strongly for an extended period of time to avoid capture by humans).  A crocodile is a formidable animal on land, but it is extremely impressive in the water where its physical prowess is much greater.  A Nile crocodile usually kills by drowning, but the violent jerking and twisting it often does to a seized animal initially can easily break bones and dispatch it before the drowning takes place.  Most of the animals a crocodile predates upon are terrestrial, and therefore are not comfortable or necessarily skilled at combat in water (and this is a big advantage for the reptile).  Adult elephants, rhinoceroses, and hippopotamuses are off the menu for a single Nile crocodile regardless of location due to their immense size and dangerous weaponry.  Other large herbivores, like giraffes and Cape buffalo, are potentially within a large crocodile's abilities if ambush is used.  A bull giraffe weighing close to 2 tons will likely be too strong for any crocodile to handle, but an average one won't outweigh the crocodile by much.  A giraffe has a high center of gravity, and its balance can be compromised if grabbed by a crocodile while drinking from the river.  A large animal grabbed by a crocodile can escape if it uses its brute strength to keep from being pulled in the water, but an ambush that catches the prey target off guard can rob it of the opportunity to use that advantage.  A crocodile can reportedly propel itself out of the water at 40ft a second (about 27mph), and it can strongly pull anything captured back toward the water with the help of its powerful tail.  A big Nile crocodile can seize a reasonably large animal on land and hold it in place (perhaps breaking a leg if it grabs one), but completing a kill (or "bringing it down") without the aid of water will be difficult.  A crocodile might be able to consistently overpower herbivorous animals on land that weigh half its own weight and perhaps more (this, of course, depends on the animal to some degree), but it can certainly accomplish a lot more in the water.  With a solid ambush, a Nile crocodile is capable of pulling a herbivore weighing as much as it does in the water and drowning it.  The Cape buffalo (typical top weight 1,500lb) and a giraffe not weighing much over 2,000lbs are probably the largest animals a full-sized Nile crocodile can feasibly bring down with a well-executed ambush at the river's edge.  Considering that Nile crocodiles sometimes fail to complete a kill with an ambush of zebra and wildebeest weighing half their own weight, nothing is guaranteed.  But typically, once a crocodile's jaws slam shut on a victim's snout or extremity, escape is almost impossible.   

Best regards.

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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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