Interspecies Conflict/Same Size


Hi again BK how are things going? Things are great for me because today started my vacation from work and I get the whole week off next week. So any ways here are my questions. Lets say all these animals were the same size and they battled each other who would win? Matchups-

Giraffe vs Ostrich

Kodiak Bear vs African Elephant

Leopard vs Lion

Killer Whale vs Great White Shark

White Rhino vs Wolverine

American Bison vs Wild Boar

Hippo vs Yak

Killer Whale vs Walrus

Cougar vs Bengal Tiger

Thank You and its always appreciated!

Hello Trish.  Everything's fine here.

There's a couple of ways to look at same-sized matchups when considering 2 animals of different sizes.  With 2 animals scaled to the same size, the smaller animal will automatically inherit a speed and mobility advantage in comparison to the larger one if each animal operates as it would at its normal size.  However, if it is taken into consideration that an animal that gains size will realistically lose speed and mobility (or an animal that loses size will realistically gain speed and mobility), the matchups between them will be more competitive.  Because the scaling advantage for the originally smaller animals listed here will give them too much of an advantage, I'll consider the movements and actions of each to be as realistic as possible at their new size.  It's highly possible that animals scaled to different sizes won't function optimally when internal systems are considered, but for this set of questions I'll assume that's not a factor.

Giraffe vs Ostrich (same size): The ostrich will be a little bit taller at equal weights, and will be somewhat quicker and more mobile than the giraffe considering the bird has 2 legs instead of 4.  The giraffe will likely be a bit stronger, though, and have more stability.  Kicks are the weapon of choice with these 2 animals.  A giraffe's bread and butter is its back kick, which can deliver a blow strong enough to crush a large predator's skull.  Its neck is used as a club against other giraffes, but it's not known if it would use this technique against an equal-sized ostrich.  An ostrich, by contrast, kicks forward.  It can utilize sharp talons to cause deep wounds against an attacker.  The ostrich will probably be able to deliver its kick with greater ease and frequency than the giraffe will, but neither animal will find it easy to land a good blow (the center mass of each animal will be rather high off the ground).  Ostriches can be aggressive, and giraffes are usually passive.  The most likely result will be the ostrich driving the giraffe away with its meaner disposition.  Edge to ostrich.

Kodiak Bear vs African Elephant (same size): The elephant will be slightly taller than the Kodiak bear at equal weights.  Kodiak bears are powerful mammals with strong bites and long claws.  They primarily eat fish, and aren't practiced at tackling large herbivores.  Elephants are extremely strong animals with sharp tusks and a flexible trunk.  A full-grown healthy African elephant is virtually immune to predation.  The Kodiak bear might be able to use its forelimbs to swipe at the elephant with some effect, but won't easily be able to keep the elephant from charging into it.  Probably close to 50/50.

Leopard vs Lion (same size): These 2 cats will have similar physical attributes.  Lions and leopards are both agile, quick, and experienced at killing opponents as large (and often larger) as themselves.  Leopards are generally considered to be the 2nd strongest big cat on a pound-for-pound basis (after the jaguar), and can haul heavy prey items into trees.  Leopards are solitary hunters, and will often back down from dangerous conflicts (against hyenas & baboons, for example) to avoid injuries that might interfere with effective hunting.  Lions are the brawlers of the cat world.  Males battle one another for territory and females, and lion prides fight amongst themselves at kills with regularity.  Although the leopard may be slightly stronger than an equal-sized lion, the lion will be more battle-tested and eager to fight.  Edge to lion.

Killer Whale vs Great White Shark (same size): A killer whale (orca) has pointed teeth well suited for grabbing, holding, and tearing.  The great white shark has a mouth full of razor-sharp serrated teeth that are perfect for slicing and removing large chunks of flesh.  A solid bite from the shark will do more damage to the orca than the orca's bite will do to the shark, but the maneuverability advantage of the mammal will be a significant asset.  Killer whales know to avoid the bites of animals they attack (they will try to seize a seal from the rear to avoid the seal's jaws), and sharks typically shy away from direct conflict (they attempt to ambush, bite, and retreat).  Edge to killer whale.

White Rhino vs Wolverine (same size): A wolverine is one of the strongest mammals pound-for-pound, and can be ferocious when hunting or fighting.  It has powerful limbs, sharp claws, and a strong bite.  The white rhinoceros has a tank-like build, very tough skin, and a set of nose horns (the longest one in front) that can be used to gore an adversary.  The wolverine can kill prey items much larger than itself (mostly those trapped in deep snow or otherwise encumbered), and its supple body enables it to turn quickly or fight off of its back.  The clawing and biting of the wolverine will have trouble breaching the hide of the rhino, and the rhino may find it difficult to utilize its horn effectively with the wolverine draped over it.  A stalemate might occur, but a prolonged battle will be a close one.  50/50.

American Bison vs Wild Boar (same size): The American bison is a stocky bovid with a heavy neck and shoulder area and thick horns that protrude from the sizes of its head.  The bison typically fights by using its head as a battering ram, but will also hook with its horns to gore adversaries.  Attacking wolves sometimes get stomped to death by the sharp hooves of the bison, so large ones are generally avoided by these canids.  A wild boar is dangerous prey item for any predator.  It has good lateral quickness, a tough hide, and sharp tusks that can easily create gashes in the body of an attacker.  The boar will probably be able to use its tusks in a swifter manner than the bison will be able to use its head/horns, and will likely be able to dish out more damage than it receives.  Edge to wild boar.

Hippo vs Yak (same size): Hippos are capable of short bursts of speed on land and can make quick movements at times, but their overall mobility is limited due to the way their bodies are designed.  They love the water, and being in a river helps to buoy their great weight.  Hippo's legs aren't made to support the weight of the animal for prolonged or intense movement on land.  A yak is a typically passive bovid with sharp horns (that jut out from the size of its head) and a shaggy body.  It can gore an opponent with these horns and use its hooves as well.  A yak may seem slow-moving, but it can move reasonably well for its size when battling other males.  A hippo's large jaws & teeth give it a decent chance against most other animals, but a yak of equal weight will be a taller, faster opponent.  The yak is probably better equipped to win this battle than the hippo if the 2 combatants are on land (I usually favor most bovids over a hippo on land at parity), but the hippo's much higher level of aggression must be considered.  The yak will likely back away once the hippo begins to move forward.  Any battle involving water will be to the hippo's advantage.  Overall edge to hippo.

Killer Whale vs Walrus (same size):  A killer whale has pointed teeth well suited for grabbing, holding, and tearing.  It is a very intelligent animal, and a pod of these hunters will form strategies to best tackle a prey item.  A killer whale's horizontal tail flukes and fin placement give it great mobility in the water, and it is capable of fast speeds.  A walrus is a mobile swimmer itself, but not as fast as the killer whale.  A walrus has long tusks that can be used to impale adversaries, and extremely tough hide that is difficult for attackers to breach.  The killer whale will need to be careful as it comes in to bite because the walrus will attempt a tusk-thrust in self-defense (which can injure the orca).  The killer whale will likely use it greater speed to get into a biting position at the rear of the walrus, and should be quick enough to avoid the tusks if it uses a "bite and retreat" method to wear the walrus down.  It's improbable a single killer whale would attempt an attack on an equal-sized walrus if the 2 crossed paths, but the savvy predator would have the ability to succeed with determination.  Slight edge to killer whale.   

Cougar vs Bengal Tiger (same size): Both of these cats will share similar attributes and abilities (speed, agility, athleticism, explosive action, killing experience, jaws & claws, etc.).  A cougar can kill prey items of impressive size (like elk), but the Bengal tiger is the champ in that regard.  The Bengal tiger can single-handedly tackle large animals like gaur and water buffalo on occasion, and this big cat has been credited with the predation of subadult elephants and rhinoceros.  It also comes into conflict with bears and crocodiles on occasion.  The body of a cougar is sleek, its legs are long, and its head is a bit smaller than the tiger's in proportion to its own body.  All large cats can be great combatants, but the Bengal tiger is step above a cougar at close weights.  Bengal tiger wins.

Enjoy your vacation!

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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