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Interspecies Conflict/Bear vs Wild Boar Question


Hi again BK

Last month in response to me, on a question titled matchups. You said that a Black bear would win against a Wild boar. Now in the past couple of months we've had both agreements and disagreements but this matchup has left me with the third word in deciding a matchup and that word is split. To review the black bear vs wild boar matchup my run down looks like this-Black bear vs Wild boar- very close matchup. both these animals are nearly the same size with the bear having the weight advantage. Considering that I have seen suids like the warthogs and wild boars chase away predators like lions and tigers it just goes to show that this would not be an easy match for the bear, but considering its assets it could win this fight. But the boar has a decent shot as well. maybe 50/50. One other thing to consider here is how big wild boars could get. For example I've herd stories about Russian wild boars reaching weights of over 700 pounds and in this case I would back the boar to win. but at the normal weights I think its an extremely close matchup. So I would like your thoughts on this subject.

Also if these animals were scaled up to the same size as a black rhino who and they did battle with it who would win?

Honey Badger

Wild boar





Hello Gian.

Black Bear vs Wild Boar discussion: I have always considered the black bear vs wild boar matchup to be very close at parity, and will favor either animal that enjoys a decent weight advantage.  The usual maximum weight for a wild boar is 440lb, and the usual maximum for an American black bear is just shy of 600lb (the usual maximum for an Asiatic black bear is 440lb, which equals the boar).  In the past, I have given victory to a particular animal based on how it would "perform" at its best, but I didn't always make the distinction between "what could happen if both parties choose to fight" and "what will likely happen in a realistic situation".  Which criteria is better and more accurate in determining who "wins" a fight?  With this matchup, I included " a realistic encounter the wild boar will probably drive either black bear away...", but ultimately gave the overall edge to the black bear based on what it could do at its best in a serious fight.  I try to include this clarification more often with my current answers, and that way the reader can determine what he or she thinks is the actual winner based on how he or she looks at it.  I pick the leopard to defeat a spotted hyena (based on the leopard doing its best in a serious fight), but what happens most of the time when they really meet?  The spotted hyena drives the leopard away.  Does that mean the spotted hyena really wins?  What are the circumstances?  The leopard is a solitary hunter that can't afford to be injured, and will avoid a fight that could likely lead to injury.  The leopard may assume that where there's one hyena, there's more close by.  There's 2 ways of looking at it.  The reason I mention that here is because a large wild boar (and certainly one from Russia weighing over 700lb) will almost always be able to repel a black bear (either kind) in a realistic confrontation.  Only if the black bear chooses to fight or attempts a kill with determination (which might not be "normal" behavior for every black bear) will it possibly be favored.  The black bear has advantages in weaponry (jaws, claws, forelimbs to potentially control movement of an opponent vs tusks) and possibly endurance.  The wild boar will have greater lateral quickness and tougher hide.  I agree with you that it's an extremely close matchup at normal weights, but that's if you consider a balance between "what will happen in a serious fight" and "what will happen in a realistic scenario".  A black bear has the ability use its jaws and claws effectively in a fight, but this omnivore doesn't have the greatest amount of experience tackling animals as large at it is (it does happen, just not often).  An average American black bear will defeat an average wild boar in a serious battle (based partly on a 20-35% weight advantage), but will likely break off its attack in a realistic scenario once the boar begins fighting back.  With some sources assigning a maximum weight of 770lb to the Russian wild boar, I would confidently back this suid in a battle with a maximum-sized American black bear (and certainly a maximum-sized Asiatic black bear).  I think we see eye-to-eye on this one.  I look forward to our next animal discussion.

* In a set of questions from a couple of years ago ("fights and agility of cats" from 4/10/14), I favor a cougar and a Tasmanian devil in their respective matchups with a black rhino at parity.  In those answers, I assigned the smaller animal the ability to keep its speed and mobility in ratio to its own size, and that gave the smaller animal a sizable advantage.  In a recent answer to you regarding parity fights with the elephant, ("Leopard vs Zebra follow Up" from 7/29/16) I stated "...a smaller animal scaled up to the size of a large land animal (like the elephant) will likely lose a lot of speed and mobility, and that must be considered here.  If the smaller animals listed here have the same speed and agility in ratio to their body size after being scaled up, their chances to win these battles will dramatically increase.  It won't be fair to grant the smaller animal such a large advantage in a scaled-up fight, so I am going to be as realistic as possible when assessing what abilities the scaled-up animals will actually have if this can realistically happen...".  I will do the same for the black rhino, and doing so in the past may have granted it the edge over the cougar and the Tasmanian devil instead of the other way around.  Just so you'll know, I consider a black rhino to be a more formidable animal pound-for-pound than the elephant.

black rhino vs honey badger (at parity): The black rhino's best assets will be its tank-like build, rock-like hide, and a long pair of sharp horns.  The rhino can make powerful turns and thrusts with its body, and its weaponry is among the most formidable among land animals.  The honey badger has a supple body with very thick skin (for protection against bites and bee stings).  It is armed with sharp claws (great for digging) and strong jaws.  The honey badger will attack venomous snakes and other reptiles, but it isn't a practiced finisher of larger animals on the same level as a big cat.  The offense of the honey badger won't be as effective against the black rhino as it would be against animals the honey badger typically deals with.  Edge to black rhino.

black rhino vs wild boar (at parity): A black rhino will have a couple of important advantages over a wild boar (at parity).  The black rhino is a much stronger animal pound-for-pound, and it has a decisive reach advantage with the longer of its 2 sharp horns.  It also has very tough hide (even tougher than the boar's).  The wild boar will certainly have a decent edge in speed and agility, but it will not be able to dispatch the rhino with its tusks before it gets impaled by the rhino's horn.  The rhino will be powerful enough to drive its horn through the hide of the boar, and will be solid enough to withstand the initial slashes of the suid.  Wild boars are formidable animals that can hold their own against many animals in their weight range, but a black rhinoceros is on a higher level.  Black rhino wins.  

black rhino vs leopard (at parity): This will be a close fight.  The leopard will have the agility and quickness to seize the black rhino with its claws and hold on, but advancing to a "killing bite position" on such a tough animal will be more difficult than doing so with a typical prey item (wildebeest, topi, warthog, etc.).  The leopard's attempts to control the struggling rhino will leave it vulnerable to a horn stab, and that can potentially turn the tide.  Close to 50/50; slight edge to the black rhino.

black rhino vs wolverine (at parity): This is one of the toughest animals at absolute weights against one of the very toughest ones pound-for-pound.  Wolverines, like most mustelids, have supple bodies that enable them to fight from many positions (including from their backs).  They have thick fur, strong jaws, sharp claws, and great endurance.  Wolverines are known for their ferocity and boldness, and have the ability to tackle prey items (even moose slowed down by snow) much larger than themselves.  A black rhino won't succumb easily to a wolverine's neck bite, and the claws and jaws of the mustelid won't make as much of a dent on the rhino as with a typical prey item.  The wolverine might not have the lateral quickness to consistently avoid the rhino's lunges, and that could spell doom for the carnivore.  Close to 50/50.

black rhino vs jaguar (at parity): Jaguars are powerful felids with short limbs and huge heads.  Their jaws are very powerful (can crush skulls), and they are considered to be the strongest big cat pound-for-pound.  A jaguar can kill caiman, anacondas, tapirs, and peccaries, and this experience with low-to-the-ground opponents probably makes it more suited to take on a similar-sized black rhino than the leopard (or the cougar from 2 years ago).  The jaguar will have the ability to seize the rhino's body with its claws, and because its preferred "killing bite" area (skull) will likely be more accessible than the throat, the spotted cat will have a chance to make a kill here.  Among all modern land animals (medium-to-large size), the jaguar is perhaps the most formidable on a pound-for-pound basis.  If it can avoid being stabbed long enough to land a crushing skull bite, it should prevail more times than not.  Close to 50/50; edge to jaguar.

* With many stories circulating of Bengal tigers successfully overcoming adult Indian rhinoceroses and even elephants on occasion, it's easy to think I may be underrating the abilities of the big cats in these matchups.  I just don't think a 3,000lb jaguar or leopard will be as fast as it needs to be to dominate, but I'm not sure.  Scaled-up matchups are difficult to access (especially when one animal is normally so much bigger than the other and the scaling is radical), but they are challenging and entertaining.  In addition, if the smaller carnivores in these matchups are allowed to keep their speed and mobility in ratio to their size, they will all be favored to defeat the black rhino.

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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