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Interspecies Conflict/Calm Before The Storm


Hi again BK its great to be talking to you again and as usual I have more interesting animal conflicts I would like to get your opinion on. Here goes.

1.Wildebeest vs Sable Antelope

2.Zebra vs draft Horse

3.Gray Wolf vs Snow Leopard

4.Moose vs Muskox

5.Cape Buffalo vs Giant Eland

6.Jaguar vs 3 Cheetahs

7.Walrus vs Black Marlin

Thank You

Hello Trish.  Good to be talking to you as well.

1. Wildebeest vs Sable Antelope: These animals will be close to the same weight.  Both fight others of their kind by dropping to the ground on their front legs and sparring with their horns.   The wildebeest has medium-length horns that curve outward & up (and slightly forward), and the sable antelope has large, thick horns that curve backwards.  Both animals can be aggressive, but the sable antelope has a reputation for doing well against attacking lions.  The wildebeest is slightly less robust than the sable antelope (especially in the neck and shoulder region), but it can run a lot faster (50mph compared to 35mph).  The sable antelope's horns are twice as long, and it has a tendency to face and fight an enemy rather than run.  Edge to sable antelope.

2. Zebra vs Draft Horse: This is an interesting matchup.  There are many types of draft horses (Shire, Clydesdale, etc.), and the larger ones can weigh twice as much as the largest zebra and stand over 20% taller at the shoulder.  Zebras are stronger than most domestic horses pound-for-pound, but draft horses are very strong and muscular themselves, and the absolute strength of the draft horse will likely exceed the absolute strength of any zebra half its weight.  The zebra is aggressive and battle-tested (often defending itself against predators or fighting other males), and it typically fights other male zebras by biting, pushing, and kicking (especially with the rear hooves).  The draft horse is typically calm and gentle, but any disputes with other males (among domestic horses) are usually settled with rearing up against one another to attempt bites and kicks.  The zebra has the advantages of aggression, quickness, and experience.  The draft horse has the advantages of sheer size and brute strength.  A smaller, more aggressive herbivore can certainly drive away a larger one in a realistic encounter, but if both parties (if attributes and weaponry are reasonably similar) are determined to battle, the larger one will usually prevail simply by establishing itself as the dominant animal and driving the other one away.  I don't think the zebra will actually use its advantages (speed, agility, etc.) to get the better of this encounter, but rather willingly give way to the larger equid without much fuss.  In other words, the zebra has the tools to win, but won't make the effort once the initial physical contact gives the striped animal an idea of how strong its opponent is.  A lot of this depends on how willing the normally-docile draft horse will be to get hostile (and it may not), and this answer is assuming that it will at some point.  Edge to draft horse.

3. Gray Wolf vs Snow Leopard: These animals will be relatively close in weight (a gray wolf usually doesn't exceed 130lb; a snow leopard usually doesn't exceed 120lb but can reach close to 165lb on rare occasions).  The gray wolf will have a rather decent advantage in the stamina department, but the snow leopard will have the advantage of sharp claws (to grip or slash) on its front and rear paws.  The wolf has a big bite with various teeth designed hold, shear, and crush, but the snow leopard has the technique of using its claws to move into a favorable position on an opponent's body to apply a suffocating throat bite with its jaws (armed with sharp canines).  The snow leopard has a more supple body and greater agility than the wolf, and should be able to use its superior weaponry to gain the advantage in this battle before its endurance wanes.  A gray wolf might be able to drive a snow leopard away in a realistic encounter, but a snow leopard forced to fight will be able to get into a position where it's latched onto the wolf, and at that point the felid should be able to advance its offense while neutralizing any counter-attack from the canid.  Edge to snow leopard.

4. Moose vs Muskox: A large moose (about 1,600lb) can weigh almost twice as much as a muskox (up to 900lb), and measure about 40% taller at the shoulder.  A moose is tall and somewhat lanky, but is well-muscled in most of the anterior parts of its body.  It is armed with sharp hooves (which it can use effectively against attacking wolves) and an impressive rack of antlers which are wide and flat.  The moose's antlers have sharp points along the edges, and these points can cause injury to an attacker if it pushes or rams with a lot of force.  Bull moose fight one another primarily by locking horns and pushing, but the moments where they turn, disengage, and re-engage can be rather ferocious.  A muskox has a stocky, uniform build with a thick shaggy coat.  They form a ring (with horns out) with the young ones safely inside when wolves or bears attack.  Male muskoxen battle one another by charging and ramming heads, but they will also hook with their sharp horns.  In most herbivore fights between similarly-armed individuals, the smaller one will give way without much effort.  I would probably favor the more compact muskox at parity, but in this battle it's giving up too much size and weight.  Moose wins.

5. Cape Buffalo vs Giant Eland: The giant eland will be the heavier animal in most cases.  A Cape buffalo rarely exceeds 1,500lb, but a giant eland can weigh more than a ton.  The Cape buffalo has a reputation of being aggressive and ill-tempered, and it is well-deserved.  It is a very dangerous prey target for a lion pride, and has killed lions on occasion.  The Cape buffalo has a thick set of horns that join at the forehead to form a bony shield (called a boss), and it can impale attackers with them.  Its hooves are dangerous as well.  In addition to lions, Cape buffaloes have to deal with spotted hyenas and Nile crocodiles on occasion.  The giant eland is the world's largest antelope.  It usually runs from danger, but is strong enough to fight if it needs to.  The eland's horns can measure up to 4' long and point back along the plane of its forehead.  They aren't placed as well as the Cape buffalo's horns in terms of "combat effectiveness" (the buffalo's horns curve up from the sides of its head).  Both of these animals are bovids, but the larger buffalos are a step ahead of antelopes in terms of how formidable they are pound-for-pound.  A Cape buffalo's willingness to stand and fight is greater than the eland's as well, and the overall advantages of the buffalo close the gap on the antelope's size advantage.  It's a closer fight than most might think, but I give the slight edge to the Cape buffalo.

6. Jaguar vs 3 Cheetahs: A large jaguar (300lb) can weigh over twice as much as a cheetah (usual max about 143lb).  A jaguar is perhaps the strongest big cat pound-for-pound, and its bite is pound-for-pound the strongest among big cats.  The jaguar is stocky and muscular, and can be very ferocious.  It can kill dangerous animals like caiman, tapir, and peccaries.  The jaguar usually kills prey items with a bite through the skull or spine, but will utilize a throat bite on occasion.  A cheetah is built for speed.  Its body is slender and light, and its semi-retractable claws are quite dull (compared to the very sharp claws of the jaguar).  Cheetahs typically kill by technique instead of brute force.  They chase a prey item (like a gazelle), trip it from behind, then quickly clamp onto the throat of their victim with a suffocating bite.  The animal that the cheetah pins to the ground doesn't have the flexibility to easily stand up mount a decent counter-attack with the cheetah attached to it, so the spotted cat can complete a kill without the encounter being too rough for it.  In regards to combat ability, the jaguar is light-years ahead of the cheetah.  Even 3 cheetahs would easily back away or flee from an approaching jaguar (hypothetical because they reside on different continents) because they have no way to control the larger cat or inflict any measurable damage without suffering serious injuries themselves.  Cheetahs don't usually hunt or fight as a team (although there is a documentary that shows 3 cheetahs ganging up to overpower an ostrich), and none of the techniques they use to overpower an antelope (or other typical prey item) will work on the jaguar.  It's simply too skilled and well-armed.  Jaguar wins.

7. Walrus vs Black Marlin: Another very interesting matchup.  A large walrus (2 tons) can weigh about 2 1/2 times more than a large black marlin.  The walrus has tough hide with thick blubber underneath, tusks measuring up to 3ft in length, and good mobility in the water.  The black marlin has a sharp, pointed bill that can cause stabbing injuries to an adversary.  It is perhaps the fastest swimming fish in the ocean, and its endurance (as evidenced by fighting strongly for hours on a fisherman's line) is legendary.  A stab by the black marlin's bill can surely penetrate the hide of the walrus, and several of these attacks could dispatch the mammal in a short amount of time.  The walrus' tusks could possibly impale the black marlin (or cause internal injuries with the concussive force) if the fish remained stationary long enough for the pinniped to get into the right position to do so, but the speed of the marlin would make this scenario unlikely.  The marlin probably wouldn't willingly attack a huge walrus in a realistic situation, but if it decided to attack it for some reason, it would have a better chance to apply its offense than the other way around.  In addition, the speed of the black marlin would be enough to supply it with an adequate "defense" from the walrus' tusk attack.  The walrus will be much bigger and stronger, but this won't be a force-on-force encounter.  Considering the abilities of each in open water, the marlin will have the edge.  Edge to black marlin.

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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