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Interspecies Conflict/Interspecies conflict

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Question
Hi,
Here are my face-offs.

1. Jaguar vs Marsupial Lion

2. Tasmanian devil vs Caracal

3. Saltwater Croc vs Bottle nose Dolphin

4. Bottle nose dolphin vs Bull shark

5. African hunting dog vs Caracal

6. Leopard vs Sun bear

7. Leopard Shark vs Walrus

8. Dinosuchus vs Killer Whale

This time, I am adding a bit of fictional faceoffs :) I hope it lies within your expertise.

9. Cave troll (Lord of the rings) vs Alien (Alien franchise)

10. Main event: Godzilla vs Balrog (Lotr)

Answer
Hello Jem.  Good to hear from you.


Jaguar vs Marsupial Lion: These animals will be close in weight if the largest type of jaguar (one from the Pantanal region) is used.  The jaguar is generally considered to be the strongest cat pound-for-pound, and it also has the strongest bite of any big cat for its size.  Jaguars are very adept at attacking and killing "low-to-the-ground" prey items like caiman, tapirs, and peccaries (even anacondas are sometimes attacked).  The capybara is the preferred food target, though.  Jaguars typically kill by biting through a victim's skull, but will also target the spine and throat on occasion.  The marsupial lion was a very stocky animal with strong limbs, muscular neck area, and a very formidable bite.  Its bite force was very impressive (even stronger than the jaguar's) and its teeth were designed to remove large chunks of flesh.  The marsupial lion was adept at killing prey items much larger than itself.  In this battle the jaguar will probably have advantages in quickness and agility, but those attributes won't have a great deal of impact once the fight becomes a close-quarters one (with the 2 adversaries clamped onto one another).  If the jaguar keeps enough separation from the marsupial lion to offensively utilize its sharp claws, the quickness and agility will certainly come in handy.  The battle for positioning will be important, as the animal that gets the first well-placed bite might gain the upper hand.  I've given this battle a 50/50 in the past at close weights, but with the marsupial lion's estimated size ranging from leopard-size to lioness-size, it may have been slightly larger than the jaguar.  Slight edge to marsupial lion at parity; otherwise either animal with a decent weight advantage will win.  Check out my answer from 7/20/14 ("Interspecies Conflict") regarding this matchup.

Tasmanian devil vs Caracal: A caracal can weigh at least 50% more than a large Tasmanian devil.  The Tasmanian devil is known for its aggression and having the strongest bite (for its size) among mammals.  It behaves somewhat like a wolverine or a badger, but isn't built as robustly as these mustelids.  Tasmanian devil often fight one another, and biting is the main type of offense.  Caracals are lynx-like cats with very high levels of agility and athleticism.  They have exceptional leaping ability (can seize birds out of the air), and are armed with sharp claws.  The larger caracal will have the strength to control positioning with its paws or swipe at the marsupial with its claws (while enjoying a decent "reach" advantage).  The Tasmanian devil can certainly turn the tide with a couple of strong bites, but it will have trouble in a serious fight without the weights being closer.  The caracal will likely be driven away in a realistic situation, but if it's forces to fight, it will have the size and speed to make a good showing.  Edge to caracal.

Saltwater Croc vs Bottlenose Dolphin: A saltwater crocodile can weigh over twice as much as a bottlenose dolphin.  The saltwater crocodile is a huge carnivorous reptile with steel-trap jaws and a well-armored hide.  This predator typically kills by drowning (after latching onto prey with its pointed teeth).  The bottlenose dolphin is a very intelligent mammal that has great maneuverability in the water due to its fins and horizontal tail fluke.  It fights by biting, ramming, and striking with its tail.  It won't be easy for a bottlenose dolphin to cause enough immediate damage to a saltwater crocodile to disable it, but it will likely be able to drive it away (and possibly injure it) after ramming into it a few times.  Although the crocodile won't have the same level of mobility as the dolphin, it will be capable of making quick movements, and the dolphin will need to be careful to avoid the jaws of the reptile.  If the crocodile can grab the dolphin in its jaws, it will be able to hold the smaller animal in place and possibly drown it.  The dolphin should be safe if it knows where the crocodile is (and a stalemate may occur), but because the crocodile has better means to complete a kill it gets the edge here.  Overall edge to saltwater crocodile; depends on how you judge a fight.

Bottlenose dolphin vs Bull shark: A bottlenose dolphin can weigh about 50% more than a bull shark.  Dolphins are more agile and mobile (which is key in a water battle) than the bull shark, and will be able to avoid the shark's bite on most occasions while delivering headbutts to the body of the shark.  The shark can cause a lot of damage with one bite (and this would happen some of the time considering the quick turns of the shark), but the numerous headbutts the dolphin will employ can stun the fish (especially a strike on the nose or in the gills).  At closer weights the shark's deadly bite will give it more of a chance, but the dolphin is a bit too large here.  Bottlenose dolphin wins.  

African hunting dog vs Caracal: The African hunting dog will weigh almost twice as much as the caracal.  African hunting dogs are pack hunters, and aren't as comfortable in one-on-one encounters as they are in group encounters.  They have great endurance, impressive lateral quickness, and very strong bites.  Caracals are lynx-like cats with very high levels of agility and athleticism.  They have exceptional leaping ability (can seize birds out of the air), and are armed with sharp claws.  The African hunting dog will have the advantages of size, stamina, and a bigger bite.  The caracal will have the advantages of claws and agility, but the cat won't have an overwhelming edge in speed.  The caracal will probably succeed in driving the African wild dog away in a realistic encounter, but in a serious rumble the canid will have a better chance to dominate.  Edge to African wild dog.

Leopard vs Sun bear: An African leopard will weigh almost 40% more than the sun bear.  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.  The smaller types of leopards (Amur, Arabian, etc.) will be too small to be favored against a sun bear, but the Amur leopard will give the bear a decent battle.  Overall edge to leopard.   

Leopard Shark vs Walrus: A large walrus can weigh 75-100 times as much as a leopard shark.  The leopard shark is a small shark (about 1.5m in length) that primarily searches for food (fish, crabs, clams, worms, etc.) on the seabed and sucks water into its mouth to pull the prey item into its mouth.  A walrus is a rotund pinniped with extremely tough hide and long tusks (sometimes as long as 1m).  It can often withstand a polar bear's assault and can wound adversaries by stabbing them (especially in the water where its mobility is solid).  A leopard shark won't have the means to injure a walrus, and the walrus could simply use its great size to force the smaller shark to retreat.  Walrus wins.  

Deinosuchus vs Killer Whale: Deinosuchus was slightly heavier than a killer whale.  The main points to consider in this battle are bites, maneuverability, and hide.  Deinosuchus was a giant alligator-like reptile with a huge bite force and teeth designed to grip, hold, and crush.  The killer whale's bite is designed to hold prey in place, but can remove large chunks of flesh (with 4" teeth).  Deinosuchus wasn't as mobile in open water as a killer whale is, but was capable of turning quickly to snap with its jaws.  The hide of Deinosuchus would be somewhat difficult to penetrate, but the killer whale's jaws would be effective in areas other than the heavily-protected top side of the reptile.  The robust body of the killer whale would mean that a bite by Deinosuchus would need to be applied on a fin or the tail to have the greatest effect, and the agility of the killer whale in the water would make this action problematic.  Although it would take an accumulation of bites for the killer whale to overcome Deinosuchus, it should have the mobility (and stamina) to achieve this before receiving a serious bite from the Deinosuchus (assuming the weights are close).  Because it will be hard for the Deinosuchus to kill the killer whale in the same way it would kill a non-aquatic animal (that wouldn't be able to fight back well in the water) or cause much damage with its teeth (which aren't designed to slice), it won't be favored here.  Mobility is one of the most important assets in a water battle, and the killer whale is better in that area.  Edge to killer whale.

Cave troll (Lord of the rings) vs Alien (Alien franchise): The cave troll is probably slightly more than 3m tall and weighs approximately 1500kg.  The cave troll has very tough hide (swords have failed to injure it even though arrows can penetrate its body) and it is immensely strong.  The alien from Alien franchise (the one from the fight scene in "Alien vs Predator") is about 50% taller than the cave troll, but its weight might not be too far off.  The alien's chief weapon is its tail, when can be used to stab (with great force) adversaries and incapacitate them.  It's unlikely the alien would be able to withstand a prolonged battering from the cave troll, so the key element in this fight revolves around whether or not the tail of the alien can penetrate the cave troll's hide.  If the answer is yes, I don't see how the cave troll will be able to prevent this from happening (due to not having the speed and mobility required and from its lack of strategic thinking).  Even if the tail has trouble penetrating, the substance (like acid) that can be projected from the alien's mouth will be able to slow the cave troll down if it's aimed at its eyes.  The cave troll will be in a berserker attack mode, and the alien will probably be able to form a strategy.  I'd give the edge to the alien.

Main event: Godzilla vs Balrog (Lotr): This depends somewhat on which Godzilla we use (I'll use one of the ones from the more recent movies) and how the weaponry of each combatant will affect one another.  Godzilla's main assets are its great size (in the 2014 film as tall as 108m and about 90,000t), nearly impenetrable hide, and its "atomic breath".  Balrog is probably close to 5.5m in height.  Its weight is difficult to determine because we don't know its exact makeup.  It appears to made out of a combination of rock and fire, and these two have vastly different weights.  I'm guessing Balrog weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 5t.  I don't think that Balrog's "fire offense" will have a great deal of effect on Godzilla (any of them from any of the films or cartoons) without great persistence, but I believe Godzilla's "atomic breath" will have a profound effect on the smaller demon creature.  I'd go with Godzilla here.


Best regards.

Interspecies Conflict

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Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Education/Credentials
Associate degree in unrelated field; biology classes in college.

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