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Interspecies Conflict/Carnivore vs carnivore (prehistoric and modern)


Hey BK, thanks for clarifying that a bear has more overall strength than a gorilla. And you also said that a gorilla probably has more pulling strength, please explain. And now the fun part, for max and average weights here is the list.

Grizzly bear vs ngandong tiger
Sun bear vs African leopard
Dire wolf vs African leopard
Mastiff vs kangal (I've read that both these dogs have immense bite forces, even greater than the gray wolf)
Wolverine vs Eurasian lynx (these may be interesting)
Wolverine vs clouded leopard
Eurasian lynx vs clouded leopard
Bobcat vs honey badger
Andrewsarchus vs Arctodus simus (the two carnivores I know very less about, but very interesting animals)
European cave lion vs Siberian tiger

Thank you so much, looking forward as always.

Hello Anees.

Gorillas use their arms in a pulling motion quite often.  Having hands that can grab and grip certainly help with this.  When a gorilla climbs a tree (not necessarily a single thick tree, but one with multiple branches for the ape to traverse), it typically grabs and pulls (the arms carry a lot of the ape's weight, but the grasping hind limbs give support as well).  A gorilla doesn't have the advantage of claws like a black bear does when it climbs.  They also pull branches toward themselves.  A relatively common action in a gorilla conflict is the attempted "grab & pull" (which can look like striking) often followed by a bite.  The strength a gorilla uses for these specific pulling actions might exceed that of a similar-sized bear, but a bear engages in many actions with its limbs that don't involve pulling something straight back to its body (digging, swiping, pounding).  Because of the way the gorilla uses its arms as compared to a bear, it's possible the ape has more pulling strength at similar weights (not the same as the strength required to drag a heavy object across the ground, which uses most of the body's strength).  The gorilla's limbs appear to be rather thick compared to a similar-sized black bear, but there is a lot of fur on its arms, and its torso isn't as uniformly robust.  A bear can manipulate objects with its paws surprisingly well, but a gorilla's ability to grasp with its hands gives it the ability to implement "pulling action" with greater ease.  A bear can't pull things with its paws exactly the same way a gorilla can.

Grizzly bear vs Ngandong tiger:  Estimated weights for the Ngandong tiger have ranged from 770lb to 1/2 ton.  Its average likely ranges from 550lb to over 700lb.  A grizzly bear's average weight is about 700lb (weights for grizzlies vary from region-to-region; those from the Alaskan coast can average close to 800lb and exceed 1/2 ton), so the outcome here depends somewhat on the weight we use for the Ngandong tiger.  Grizzly bears are very strong, durable, and have great endurance.  They can bite, use their forepaws to control positioning, and swipe powerfully with their long claws (4").  Grizzly bears can be aggressive and confrontational, and may be the most formidable bear pound-for-pound.  The Ngandong tiger is the largest tiger ever to exist, and may be the largest cat ever to exist.  Tigers have great agility, speed, and athleticism, but these attributes won't big advantages in a close-quarters battle with a grizzly bear.  A tiger attempting to move into a "killing bite position" with a grizzly bear will be in range of the bear's forepaws, and will be at a disadvantage in regards to strength and stamina.  I consider a big cat vs brown bear matchup to be close at parity.  If we use the top-end weight for the tiger and the overall average for the bear, this battle will be close to a 50/50 (maybe a slight edge to the tiger).  If we specifically use a grizzly from the Alaskan coast, the bear will weigh a bit more, and will be favored.

Sun bear vs African leopard: The African leopard will weigh almost 40% more than the sun bear at average and maximum weights.  The sun bear is the smallest bear, but its claws can exceed 3" in length.  It has loose skin with short, dense hair.  The sun bear rarely attacks anything without being threatened, but can be a ferocious fighter (strong jaws and sharp claws) when defending itself.  Its loose skin enables it to turn around and attack anything that grabs onto it.  The leopard is considered by many to be the 2nd strongest of the big cats (after the jaguar) pound-for-pound.  It has a very muscular neck and shoulder area, and can haul heavy prey items up into trees.  Being a solitary hunter, the leopard must be careful when engaging other dangerous animals because an injury might impede its ability to hunt effectively.  The leopard occasionally has hostile interactions with hyenas and baboons, and often tackles dangerous prey items (wildebeest, warthog) that exceed its own weight.  Its strong jaws, sharp teeth, and sharp claws make good hunting tools and formidable weapons, and its agility, quickness, and athleticism serve it well in any encounter.  A sun bear putting up staunch resistance will likely cause the leopard to flee, but a serious battle will slightly favor the larger cat.  Edge to African leopard.   

Dire wolf vs African leopard: A maximum-sized African leopard is about 15% heavier than a dire wolf, but their average weights are probably a lot closer.  Dire wolves were stockier than grey wolves, and had tremendously strong jaws.  They occasionally had to compete with saber-tooth cats (Smilodons) over prey items.  Leopards are among the strongest cats (pound-for-pound), and demonstrate this strength by dragging heavy kills into trees (to keep them from being stolen by lions and hyenas).  Leopards are battle-tested, occasionally dealing with dangerous adversaries (hyenas, baboons, etc.).  Like all cats, leopards have great agility, speed, athleticism, weaponry (jaws & claws), and finishing know-how.  The dire wolf, however, will have better stamina.  Dealing with a dire wolf will be similar to dealing with a large spotted hyena for the leopard, and leopards usually give way to spotted hyenas to avoid suffering any injuries that might impede them from hunting effectively.  The dire wolf will likely drive the leopard away in a realistic encounter, but a serious fight will actually be competitive.  The dire wolf's bite will be a big obstacle for the leopard, but the cat should be able to use its claws and agility to secure a good "finishing bite" position more times than not.  Depends on how you look at it, but overall edge to African leopard.

Mastiff vs Kangal: "Mastiff" is a term that can be loosely used to describe many types of dogs (including a Kangal), but in the strictest sense of the word it refers to the English Mastiff.  An English Mastiff, at average or maximum weights, can weigh about 1/3 to 2/3 more than the Kangal.  The bite forces of these dogs probably don't exceed the bite force of a gray wolf (possibly not even at absolute weights), but may be near the top among domestic dog breeds.  The English Mastiff was used as a "war dog" in the past, but the current version doesn't usually act warlike at all.  Compared to the Kangal (which has been used for fighting and livestock protection), the English Mastiff is somewhat calmer.  The Kangal will have advantages of speed, agility, and stamina.  Edge to Kangal.    

Wolverine vs Eurasian lynx: The Eurasian lynx will weigh close to twice as much as the wolverine at maximum weights and about 55% on average.  Wolverines are among the strongest mammals pound-for-pound, and have jaws capable of crunching through frozen meat & bone.  Wolverines also have stocky limbs with sharp claws & thick fur that can help buffer against a lynx's attack.  Lynxes are quick & agile, but will have a hard time clawing & biting effectively against the robust wolverine while dealing with the mustelid's attack.  The size advantage of the Eurasian lynx will enable it to control positioning well enough to land a few good bites, but it will likely tire before it can finish the mustelid off.  The larger lynx will get the better of the encounter in the early going, but the wolverine will fight strongly enough to eventually drive the lynx away.  Probably 50/50 at maximum weights; wolverine has the edge at average weights.

Wolverine vs clouded leopard: The clouded leopard will weigh about 20% more at maximum sizes than the wolverine, and perhaps a bit more on average.  Wolverines are powerful & ferocious fighters, with strong jaws & sharp claws.  They have few equals in their weight range when it comes to confrontation.  Clouded leopards are extremely agile, and have strong jaws armed with upper canines as long as matchsticks (almost like a miniature, less-stocky version of a saber-tooth cat).  The clouded leopard can use its quickness & front limbs to position an opponent for the delivery of a killing bite.  This battle is interesting because both animals have advantages over each other.  The wolverine is likely stronger pound-for-pound, and its thick fur will protect it from injury more than the clouded leopard's fur will protect it.  The clouded leopard has better agility and a somewhat more formidable bite (and better tools to finish a fight).  It won't be as easy for the clouded leopard to finish as wolverine as it would be to finish a typical prey item (the supple wolverine can fight from its back and grab with its paws).  This would be a fierce altercation, and the wolverine would drive the clouded leopard away in a realistic encounter, but the cat's larger size might give it a decent chance here if they choose to seriously engage.  At equal weights I will favor the wolverine, but the clouded leopard with a 20% or greater weight advantage will make it close.  Close to 50/50; depends on how you look at it.  

Eurasian lynx vs clouded leopard: A maximum-sized Eurasian lynx can weigh close to 60% more than a clouded leopard, but their average weights are a bit closer.  Both cats will have speed, agility, athleticism, and killing know-how, but each will have certain advantages over the other.  The Eurasian lynx will be heavier (and stronger at absolute weights) and will have longer limbs (to give it the edge in a "swipe war").  If the 2 cats engage in a close-quarters struggle, the lynx will have a better chance at controlling positioning.  The clouded leopard is probably stronger pound-for-pound, and has a much more dangerous bite (upper canines as long as matchsticks that can make a quick kill).  It will be harder for the clouded leopard to get the lynx into a "killing bite" position than a typical prey item because of how the lynx will be able to defend itself.  A maximum-sized Eurasian lynx will be large enough to be slightly favored, but with the average weights being a bit closer, the clouded leopard will probably have the edge at average weights.

Bobcat vs honey badger: The honey badger will be slightly heavier than the bobcat at average and maximum weights.  Bobcats are fierce fighters that occasionally tackle prey items larger than themselves.  They are armed with sharp teeth and sharp claws (and will utilize all 4 limbs in a fight).  Honey badgers are usually bold and aggressive even if faced with a larger opponent.  They have strong jaws and sharp claws (perfect for digging), and their thick skin is extremely hard to penetrate.  Honey badgers often invade beehives for honey, and their hide largely protects them from the stings.  A bobcat will have greater speed and agility than the honey badger, but the mustelid will have more strength, better stamina, & greater durability.  The bobcat won't be able to make as much headway (in regards to damage inflicted) as the honey badger in the first few moments of the fight, and will likely be driven away quickly.  Honey badger wins.

Andrewsarchus vs Arctodus simus: The weight of Andrewsarchus hasn't been pinned down (the only fossil is part of the jaw) because how robust it was is a guess.  It may have only weighed around 1,000lb, but it may have been as heavy as a ton.  Arctodus wasn't as robust as today's bears (built more for running), and may have weighed close to a ton as well.  Its ability to use its forearms to swipe at/control adversaries was still good enough to aid it in this matchup, but the large, powerful jaws of the Andrewsarchus would have been problematic.  It would have been difficult for Arctodus to mount a steady offense (with paw swipes & bites) and avoid the jaws of the Andrewsarchus at the same time.  Arctodus may have driven smaller predators from their kills instead of killing large animals on its own, and it probably wasn't as formidable a combatant (pound-for-pound) as a modern-day brown bear.  Andrewsarchus had a huge, bone-crushing bite, and it may have been able to land a few bites before the bear could grab onto it with its paws in an attempt to control it.  Paw swipes would have deterred Andrewsarchus, but it's not likely they would disable it.  Close fight, but the huge jaws of Andrewsarchus are probably a good enough asset to offset the claws & wrestling ability of the bear.  Arctodus would have been much heavier than the slimmer version of Andrewsarchus, and would be favored against it.  A parity fight would be close to a 50/50; slight edge to Andrewsarchus.

European cave lion vs Siberian tiger: These cats were likely similar in build, and their weights probably weren't too far off.  The estimated weight range of the cave lion varies from 600lb (about the size of a Bengal tiger) to well over 800lb (approaching the weight of an American lion or a Smilodon populator).  Siberian tigers aren't as large as they once were, but their current top-end weight (660lb) keeps them in the running for the "World's Largest Cat" title.  Cave lions preyed on large animals, and likely hunted in prides.  There may have been occasional male vs male confrontations (as with today's African lions).  Siberian tigers are solitary hunters, and often tackle large cervids (deer) and suids (pigs).  Cave lions lived around other dangerous predators (cave hyenas and cave bears), and the Siberian tiger occasionally rumbles with the brown bear in disputes over food.  With the cave lion likely being the same weight or possibly having a small weight advantage (average and maximum) and perhaps a bit more fighting experience, I tend to favor it in a battle with a Siberian tiger (and would give the cave lion a slight edge at parity).  Edge to European cave lion.

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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