Interspecies Conflict/shelob


Shelob - giant spider from film Lord of the rings (size and capabilities the same as in the film)
I thought of this monster. Please look at the video. Just the first 2 minutes. What is your estimate of the weight of this monster ??


1) 10t tyrannosaurs
2) 11t triceratops
3) 1,2t black rhino
4) 500kg grizzly bear
5) 150kg jaguar
6) 5t asiatic elephant
7) 750kg moose
8) 300kg american black bear
9) 18t indricotherium
10) 4t alosaurus
11) 5t megatherium
12) 3x 65kg rotwailer

Hello David.

Shelob is a huge spider that was modeled after the black tunnelweb spider (although it also resembles a giant Sydney funnel-web spider).  Shelob has large fangs and a venomous stinger in the rear (real spiders don't have stingers, but this one does).  Calculating her exact size and weight won't be easy, but a decent estimation can be made by attempting to base her size based on objects of known size in the scene with her and scaling up a known modern-day spider of similar build to approximate weight.  In the scene depicting a battle between Shelob and Sam, there are times when the two of them get close enough to gauge the spider's size to some degree.  Sam, the hobbit, is 1.22m tall (the actor Sean Astin is 1.7m tall, but the height of the character he portrays must be used to calculate the size of Shelob).  Freezing certain parts of scenes (like Sam rolling off of Shelob's back) to gather measurements, I estimate the length of Shelob's body to be about 2.35m.  A tarantula can weigh 85g and measure over 10cm in length, so a tarantula with a body length of 2.35m will probably weigh about 1050kg.  A black tunnelweb or Sydney funnel-web spider with this body length will probably weigh about 1000kg (being an invertebrate, it won't weigh as much as a similar-sized vertebrate).  The relative ease in which Shelob navigates in the battle scene is indicative of a lightly-built animal.  Shelob's actions in the scene (and the fighting capabilities of modern-day spiders) are all we have at our disposal to determine her capabilities as a fighter.  How powerful the venom delivered by her stinger is an unknown; although it is powerful enough to paralyze Frodo, it may not have as profound an effect against a larger adversary.  Shelob is described as "evil" and will attack and consume any living thing it can overpower, so many of these battles will occur with Shelob's opponent fighting defensively.  Many of these animals will simply flee at the sight of a giant spider, but we'll assume they will be forced to fight.  Some of this is guesswork, but I'll do the best I can!  

Shelob vs 10t Tyrannosaurus: A 10t Tyrannosaurus will weigh about 10 times as much as Shelob.  Tyrannosaurus was a huge theropod with an extremely powerful bite.  Its jaws were lined with stout, deep-rooted teeth that enabled this predator to remove large chunks of flesh from its victims.  Although Shelob's bite and sting might be effective with accumulation, a single bite from Tyrannosaurus would likely be debilitating to the spider.  Tyrannosaurus wins.  

Shelob vs 11t Triceratops: An 11t Triceratops will weigh about 11 times as much as Shelob.  Triceratops was a large ceratopsian with 2 long brow horns, a short nose horn, and a neck frill.  It was practiced at defending itself from dangerous carnivorous threats like Tyrannosaurus.  The powerful Triceratops would have the size to trample Shelob without too much difficulty, and its sharp horns could impale the spider and cause serious injuries.  Triceratops wins.

Shelob vs 1.2t black rhino: This black rhinoceros will weigh approximately 20% more than Shelob.  A black rhinoceros is considered to be the most aggressive rhino, and its tank-like build and incredible strength make it a formidable adversary.  Its hide is thick and tough, and its nose horn (the longer of 2) can inflict catastrophic injuries to an attacker.  The black rhinoceros can make quick turns and thrusts with a lot of force.  Shelob will have difficulty biting through the tough hide of the rhino, and her stinger will be hard to position with the rhino crashing into her.  The rhino's horn can impale Shelob's body without too much trouble (her exoskeleton might not hold up to the rhino's forceful charges), and the spider won't be able to take too many wounds from the sharp horn.  This will be a close fight, and a lot will depend on the potency of Shelob's venom.  Slight edge to black rhino.

Shelob vs 500kg grizzly bear: Shelob will weigh twice as much as this grizzly bear.  Grizzly bears are aggressive and often combative, and their great strength and stamina make them tough opponents.  A grizzly bear is armed with powerful jaws and sharp claws, and their forelimb usage (grabbing or swiping) is a great asset in a conflict.  The bear will have trouble inflicting damage without receiving injuries of its own (a bear isn't as nimble as, let's say, a big cat).  Shelob will likely hit home with her stinger at some point, and that will probably turn the tide.  Edge to Shelob.

Shelob vs 150kg jaguar: Shelob will weigh almost 7 times as much as this jaguar.  A jaguar is considered to be the strongest big cat pound-for-pound, and its bite force enables it to bite through caiman armor, crush turtle and armadillo shells, and occasionally employ a killing method of biting through a victim's skull.  The jaguar has short, powerful limbs and a muscular body.  Its agility and athleticism helps make it a good hunter and fighter.  A jaguar can kill animals larger than itself (caiman, tapir, etc.), but Shelob will have a huge "reach" advantage and the ability to use multiple weapons (bite, sting, web) to gain the upper hand.  A jaguar can certainly kill Shelob with a bite on its skull, but getting to a good enough position to apply such a bite will be problematic.  Shelob wins.

Shelob vs 5t Asiatic elephant: A 5t Asiatic elephant will weigh about 5 times as much as Shelob.  Elephants are immensely strong, and can use their great weight and sharp tusks in a conflict.  The elephant here won't be able to crush Shelob as easily as the Triceratops will, but it will still be able to cause internal injuries by applying its great weight on top of the spider.  As with many of the other matches, the potency of Shelob's venom will come into play.  A rattlesnake's bite or a cobra's bite can begin to affect a human in seconds even though the human weighs a great deal more, so it's possible that Shelob's sting might have a similar effect on animals much larger than itself.  I favor the elephant here, but it's possible that Shelob's venom is strong enough to give it the capability of defeating every animal listed here (but we just don't know).  Because her sting didn't instantly kill Frodo, I tend to believe the venom of Shelob isn't strong enough to immediately effect animals much larger than itself.  Asiatic elephant wins.  

Shelob vs 750kg moose: Shelob will weigh about 33% more than this moose.  A moose is the largest member of the deer family, and it is armed with sharp hooves and wide-spreading antlers.  The moose would be able to plow into Shelob and potentially injure her, but it's unlikely the moose would be able to avoid the bites and stings from the relatively nimble spider.  Shelob's ability to produce a sticky web might come into play at close quarters as she might use this ability to hamper the moose's movements and possibly entrap it.  The moose can win, but won't be favored.  Edge to Shelob.

Shelob vs 300kg American black bear: Shelob will weigh about 3 1/3 times more than this black bear.  Black bears are very strong animals with great endurance and solid weaponry (swiping forelimbs, sharp claws, strong bites).  They are excellent climbers and strong swimmers.  For the same reasons Shelob was favored against the 500kg grizzly bear, she will be favored against a 300kg black bear.  Shelob wins.

Shelob vs 18t Indricotherium: An 18t Indricotherium will weigh about 18 times more than Shelob.  Indricotherium may have been the largest mammal ever to walk the earth.  It was twice as tall as an elephant.  Not a lot is known about the fighting capabilities of Indricotherium.  Its size was enough to deter predators.  Indricotherium may have been able to bite (like many modern-day rhinos tend to do) and possibly kick, but we're not sure.  Because this massive animal would have been able to easily crush Shelob underfoot and withstand a large amount of the giant spider's offense, it's hard to envision Indricotherium losing this fight.  Only by using agility and cunning would Shelob have a chance, but in most cases she will have trouble.  Shelob might have a chance by crawling upon Indricotherium to avoid being crushed, but that would be no guarantee of victory.  Indricotherium wins.

Shelob vs 4t Allosaurus: A 4t Allosaurus will weigh about 4 times as much as Shelob.  Allosaurus was a predatory dinosaur with a mouth full of sharp, serrated teeth.  It predated upon sauropods, stegosaurs, and other large dinosaurs, and may have hunted in groups.  The Allosaurus won't have as much success against Shelob as the 10t Tyrannosaurus will, but its bite will be its meal ticket.  Although the bites and stings of Shelob (and the use of its sticky web) may slow Allosaurus down, the giant spider won't be able to prevent being bitten by the theropod's huge jaws (which can cause grievous injuries to the arachnid).  Allosaurus wins.    

Shelob vs 5t Megatherium: A 5t Megatherium will weigh about 5 times as much as Shelob.  Megatherium was a giant ground sloth that was 6m long when on all fours and over 5m tall when standing upright.  It had huge clawed forelimbs that were very powerful, and these were likely used to defend itself from any attack.  Megatherium's hide consisted of small pieces of bone that formed a chainmail type of armor.  Shelob would have a mobility advantage over Megatherium, but the giant ground sloth's swiping claws would easily be able to injure or crush the giant spider.  Megatherium's armored hide would make it difficult for Shelob to penetrate through with any offense.  Megatherium wins.

Shelob vs 3 65kg Rottweilers: Shelob will weigh over 15 times more than each Rottweiler.  Rottweilers are intelligent dogs that are very trainable.  These powerful, muscular dogs have broad heads and strong jaws.  Shelob will have her focus divided by the attacking Rottweilers, but the dogs' bites (their only offense) will have trouble reaching a vital area on the spider's body and probably won't slow Shelob down enough to prevent a quick counter-attack.  Shelob will systematically eliminate each dog (with bites, stings, or web usage) unless they dart in and out quickly in an attempt to wear her down (a tactic they probably won't employ).  Shelob is just too big and dangerous for 3 dogs to overcome.  Shelob wins.

Interesting question!

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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