Interspecies Conflict/Do you agree?


Hi again BK, at work the other day I asked a lady who was working with me two animal fight questions these are the questions and these were here answers.

Crocodile vs Rhino- winner Rhino

Crocodile vs Bear Winner Bear

Now what do you think of these answers? I do respect every bodys opinions and that's why I'm asking you too.


Hello Gian.

Crocodile vs Rhino: Although it technically depends on which crocodile we use, which rhinoceros we use, and where the battle takes place, in most situations I agree that the rhino will be the victor.  I'm assuming that the matchup is meant to be a Nile or saltwater crocodile vs a black or white rhino, but I want to cover all of the bases.  A full-grown black, white, Javan, or Indian rhinoceros would have very little to fear from a crocodile attack on land or in water (rhinos can actually swim).  These 4 are too large and too strong for even a large crocodile to physically overpower, and the rotundness of the rhinos' bodies would make it hard for the crocodile's jaws to clamp on securely.  The teeth and jaws of a crocodile are meant to hold onto a prey item while the reptile drags the victim under the water to drown (the bite itself is rarely the killing mechanism on a large prey animal), and crocodiles sometimes fail at this with 500lb wildebeests.  I'm not ruling out the possibility of a huge crocodile being able to drown an average-sized rhino in deeper water, but it is extremely unlikely with any of the larger ones.  A land battle would strongly favor these 4 rhinoceros types because the crocodile's limited stamina and mobility would give the stronger mammals even more of an advantage.  The rhinos would be able to attack the crocodile with their horns (or bites) and the reptile would have a hard time getting out of the way.  The Sumatran rhino is the smallest type of rhino (slightly heavier than a bull moose), and it will weigh less than a large Nile or saltwater crocodile.  The Sumatran rhino is large and stocky enough to survive a crocodile attack on land most of the time, but it may be vulnerable if it enters any water inhabited by a large crocodile weighing a bit more than it does.  Going on the assumption that the best of each party is being used in this matchup, I definitely agree with the rhino as the winner.  Here is a matchup from 4/1/16 that applies:

"White Rhino vs Nile Crocodile: The white rhinoceros will be 2 1/2 heavier than a large Nile crocodile.  On land, the white rhino will dominate.  It can gore the crocodile with its horn and trample it.  The white rhino's tank-like body is too stout for the crocodile to clamp onto effectively, and even a bite on the leg won't keep the rhino from dragging it around.  In water, the rhinoceros will still be too large and stout for the crocodile to drown.  As long as the rhino can touch the bottom, it can overpower the crocodile at every stage of the fight.  In deep water (even though rhinos can swim) the rhino won't be able to employ its weapons to effectively attack the crocodile, and the crocodile will have superior mobility, but the crocodile will be too small to effectively kill the mammal.  Nile crocodiles have ganged up on single black rhinos at the water's edge at times, but a full-grown white rhino will be safe from crocodile predation.  White rhino wins."

Crocodile vs Bear: As the crocodile vs rhino matchup, I assume this matchup is meant to be the best representative of a crocodile vs the best representative of a bear (not sure about "land or water", though).  To be thorough, however, I will cover all of the bases.  Even though a crocodile will have limited mobility and stamina on land, a large one (Nile or saltwater) weighing close to a ton will be a formidable adversary for most bears.  The sun bear, panda bear, spectacled bear (Andean bear), sloth bear, Asiatic black bear, and the American black bear will all be a bit too small to challenge a huge crocodile on land, and moving the fight into the water will give the reptile a sizeable advantage.  The only bears that will have a chance to defeat a huge crocodile on land are the brown bear (grizzly, Kodiak, etc.) and the polar bear.  The polar bear and any brown bear close to a polar bear's size (max 1,500lb) will have a decent chance to dispatch a large crocodile on land with their claws and jaws (and superior endurance).  These bears will be large enough to fight effectively even if the crocodile's jaws latch on because their bodies are robust and their limbs are thick.  A grizzly bear weighing 1/2 of the crocodile's weight will be a good match for the reptile, but will struggle to kill it without having the experience dealing with one (and such a fight will be dangerous for the bear).  The only bears that will have a chance to compete with a large crocodile in shallow water are the polar bear (which is comfortable in the water) and the largest types of brown bears.  No bear will have a good chance against a large crocodile in deep water.  Here is an answer from 7/5/14 for a Kodiak bear vs saltwater crocodile in 4ft of water:

"Kodiak Bear vs. Saltwater Crocodile (in 4 feet of water): The saltwater crocodile will weigh close to 50% more than the Kodiak bear, and occasionally even more.  Kodiak bears are durable, strong mammals with good weaponry (jaws & claws).  Crocodiles have extremely powerful jaws that close with a great deal of force, and they use this to seize prey items securely to be pulled into the water & drowned.  The lack of mobility & stamina that a crocodile experiences on land won't be a hindrance in 4ft of water, and it will be able to make powerful movements in this location.  A Kodiak bear would be favored against a saltwater crocodile on land more times than not, but it will have trouble against one in water this deep.  The Kodiak's weaponry won't be as effective in the water as it will be on land, and once the crocodile clamps on with its jaws, it will not likely have the strength to prevent the crocodile from applying torque (spinning force).  The Kodiak bear is about 5' at the shoulder, so it can fight with its head above water, but it won't be as comfortable in this setting as the crocodile will.  Crocodiles can grab & manipulate animals at the water's edge that weigh close to their own weight, and the bear can certainly fall into that category.  Saltwater crocodile wins."

Here's another Kodiak bear vs saltwater crocodile from 4/10/15:

"The crocodile will weigh almost 50% more than the bear.  Crocodiles lack mobility & endurance on land, and this can make them vulnerable against a mobile, similar-sized opponent.  A crocodile is capable of making quick lunges and can latch onto an attacking bear, but a bear is solidly built and strong enough to escape.  Grabbing onto a thick limb of a bear is different than grabbing onto a more slender leg of a bovid, and the bear has the ability to use its claws & teeth to mount an effective counter-attack.  The paw swipes of a Kodiak bear can stun a crocodile with a strike to the head.  Bears are very strong, well-armed, and have amazing endurance.  The crocodile won't be able to cause enough damage to the bear in their skirmish before it runs out of steam and becomes a sitting duck.  In shallow water, however, the battle will be much closer.  The crocodile will have more mobility, and the greater ease of motion will allow it to last much longer in a confrontation.  If it latches onto the bear in shallow water at these sizes, it will have a chance to spin its body "the death roll" with lots of power.  The bear will have trouble controlling the crocodile with its paws & claws, and the torque of the spinning crocodile can cause serious damage to its limbs if the jaws latch on.  In water deep enough to allow the crocodile to move & spin freely (probably 3 ft), the crocodile will have the edge (unless it's an old, past-its-prime version) over the bear.  If the water depth is less than this, the bear will still have a chance to control the crocodile a little bit and mount a decent offense, but it will be a close fight.  The Kodiak bear will be about 5ft tall at the shoulder, but once the water gets deeper than 3 or 4ft, it will be in trouble.  Bear has edge on land, croc has edge in shallow water, and croc dominates in deep water."

Here's another one from 10/31/15:

"Nile croc vs brown bear: This depends on which brown bear we use and where the fight takes place.  The largest of brown bears can weigh 680kg or more, and the largest Nile crocodiles can exceed 900kg.  A Nile crocodile doesn't encounter brown bears, but can use ambush to pull animals of similar size into the water to drown.  However, a brown bear will fight back differently than a typical prey item (herbivore).  Brown bears have great endurance and strength, and their coarse hairs offer some protection from many attacks.  They have strong bites and paw swipes (4" claws), and can use their forelimbs to control the movement of an opponent in some situations.  A crocodile doesn't have great stamina or mobility on land, and a the reptile won't easily be able to overcome a large brown bear simply by clamping onto it with its jaws.  The thick body of the bear won't have many targets to effectively bite, and the bear's claws can cause a lot of damage in a counter-attack.  In shallow water the crocodile will have much greater mobility and stamina, and will have a much better chance of outmaneuvering the bear.  In deep water the Nile crocodile will have a distinct advantage, as the brown bear won't be able to apply its offense with great effectiveness (it can't "base" itself to strike strongly with its paws, and it won't have the mobility or quickness to get into the position it wants to be in) and won't be able to defend itself from the crocodile's attempts to seize it and pull it under for the same reasons.  A brown bear weighing at around 2/3 of the crocodile's weight can contend with it on land, but a brown bear will likely need a decent weight advantage to contend with it in shallow water.  A crocodile weighing a ton or more will typically have little to fear from a brown bear in shallow or deep water."

Here's one more from 10/4/13:

"polar bear (on land) vs saltwater crocodile (in 4ft of clear water): The crocodile can be 50%heavier than the bear.  If the bear enters the water to attack the crocodile, it will be in trouble.  Polar bears can swim well, but it will be hard to apply its weapons (paw strikes & bites) to an adversary in 4ft of water.  The crocodile can clamp onto the bear with its jaws and exert a tremendous amount of torque with its "death roll" technique.  The bear would have a hard time dealing with the armored hide & powerful movements of the heavier crocodile.  If the bear could manage to remain on land and strike the crocodile with its paws, it might could stun the reptile with the right hit.  However, the bear would be within range of the crocodile's lunge.  The only way the bear could prevail is to lure the crocodile onto the land (where the bear's mobility & endurance would give it the edge).  Polar bears often snatch beluga whales & seals out of the water and onto the land, but this would be difficult to accomplish against an animal heavier than itself that would be fighting back.  The polar bear would likely attack in this scenario (by entering the water), and while it has the ability to win some of the time, it won't do so on most occasions."

If this battle is indeed on land and uses the "best" bear against the "best" crocodile, then I agree that the bear will have the edge.  However, there are many situations (shallow water; deep water; if the bear is somewhat smaller) where the crocodile will have the advantage.  To recap; a 1-ton crocodile will likely defeat any bear on land except any polar or brown bear exceeding the 1300-1350lb range; will likely have the edge over any bear in shallow water but can still lose (especially to the polar bear); and will defeat any bear in deep water most of the time.

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.

©2017 All rights reserved.