Interspecies Conflict/The Masked Bandit


Hi again BK, hope all is well. After reading a past answer last week that you gave to me about a raccoon and a gray wolf at the same size it got me thinking about this question. Instead of a wolf what if a raccoon did battle with these following herbivores at the same size?. And here are the list of Matchups.

Raccoon vs Moose

Raccoon vs Cape Buffalo

Raccoon vs Gaur

Raccoon vs Gorilla

Raccoon vs Hippo

Raccoon vs African Elephant

Raccoon vs Kangaroo

Raccoon vs Sable Antelope

Raccoon vs American Bison

Thank You

Hello Trish.

With the raccoon being the same size as these larger animals, it will lose a bit of speed and agility (if we realistically evaluate the potential abilities of a raccoon weighing hundreds of pounds).  If we grant the super-heavy raccoon the same speed and agility in ratio to its body size that it enjoys at its regular weight, it will easily prevail in all of these fights.  It's hard to envision a raccoon "slowing down", though.  Raccoons are scrappy fighters that can do well against other wild animals (and domestic dogs) on occasion, but they aren't skilled in overpowering large animals the same way a predatory big cat or other carnivore might do.  The animals raccoons predate upon are much smaller than it is.  The raccoon here will probably not make a kill in any of these matchups, and any victory it achieves will be based on the action of successfully defending itself and driving its opponent away.  The raccoon's weapons will be its bite (sharp teeth) and its raking claws.  These matchups will be tough to access because the raccoon doesn't battle opponents like these, and these animals don't face any opponent like a super-sized raccoon.  I'm not as confident answering these kind of matchups as I am with regular ones, but these can certainly be interesting challenges.  Here goes:

Raccoon vs Moose (at parity): The raccoon will only measure about 2/3 of the moose's shoulder height.  The moose will have a large rack of antlers to defend itself with, and the raccoon may find it hard to get around this.  A raccoon with its normal small-size speed at this new weight would easily be able to move to the side and attack quickly (perhaps even knocking the moose over), but a raccoon scaled up this radically will be much slower and less agile.  The raccoon might drive the moose away (and the opposite can occur), but I think it's close overall.  50/50.

Raccoon vs Cape Buffalo (at parity): The raccoon will measure about 3/4 the Cape buffalo's shoulder height.  The Cape buffalo will have solid weaponry (sharp horns and hooves) and a bad temper.  The raccoon won't have a solid advantage in speed at its larger size, and the bites and scratches it deals out won't be as potent as the horn thrusts of the buffalo.  I favored a wolf over a Cape buffalo at parity in the past, and recently gave the raccoon an edge over a wolf at parity, but the "scaling" (due to difference in normal weight) in those matchups weren't as extreme as in this one.  The "slowing down" of the raccoon will be a lot more profound here, because it's becoming the size of an animal that can weigh over 80 times as much as it does.  The raccoon that we see on videos (or in real life) scurrying around with good agility and quickness won't be the same raccoon we see fighting this Cape buffalo.  I'd probably give the edge to Cape buffalo.   

Raccoon vs Gaur (at parity): The raccoon will measure about 3/4 of the gaur's shoulder height.  This will be about the same as the Cape buffalo vs raccoon matchup (a gaur, pound-for-pound, is about as formidable as a Cape buffalo).  A super-sized raccoon, at best, will likely have no more speed and mobility than a bear of similar size.  I usually give bears a very slight edge over bovids at equal weights, and I don't think a raccoon will bring as much to the table in this type of fight as a bear will.  The bear's body will be stronger, its bite will be stronger, and its claws will be more combat-effective.  Based on this comparison, I don't think a raccoon will prevail over a gaur at parity.  The raccoon's new size will slow it down, and its weapons won't be enough to overcome the gaur.  As with all of the other matchups the raccoon can succeed in driving the gaur away, but the bovid will probably do better in a serious battle.  Edge to gaur.  

Raccoon vs Gorilla (at parity): When on all fours, the shoulder height of the gorilla will be about 15% more than the shoulder height of the raccoon.  The gorilla will be armed with a strong bite (sharp canine teeth) and long powerful arms (to grab or apply blunt force).  The gorilla will probably be the stronger animal, but it won't be experienced at fighting other species of animals close to its own size.  A gorilla defending its troop won't simply back down, but I see the raccoon getting the better of any extended exchange.  Edge to raccoon.

Raccoon vs Hippo (at parity): The raccoon will measure about 1/3 taller at the shoulder than the hippo.  The hippo will be armed with a massive bite, thick skin, and a lot of aggression.  The raccoon will probably have a decent mobility advantage, but will find it hard to easily wound the hippo without a prolonged attack.  The chances of the hippo securing a bite during this exchange are decent, and that action will probably swing things into its favor.  Probably a 50/50.

Raccoon vs African Elephant (at parity): The elephant will measure about 30% taller at the shoulder than the raccoon.  The elephant will have a strength advantage, and its tusks will be its primary weapon.  The raccoon will be a bit more mobile, and its repeated scratching might eventually deter the elephant.  I don't see a kill either way, though.  Probably a 50/50.

Raccoon vs Kangaroo (at parity): The kangaroo's total height will be over 2 1/2 times greater than the shoulder height of the raccoon.  The kangaroo will bring its powerful kicks to the table, but it won't have a mobility advantage over the raccoon.  The "scaling up" for the raccoon won't be that extreme, so its agility and quickness won't be hampered nearly as much as in the other matchups.  The raccoon will probably be initiating the action, and the kangaroo will be circling to face the raccoon as it nears.  A kangaroo can use its forelimbs to "paw and grab" against opponents, and this might be an effective tactic here if the raccoon dodges the kicks and comes into close contact.  A solid kick can definitely injure the raccoon, but the speed of the raccoon should be enough to keep it out of harm's way.  This might end in a stalemate, but the raccoon probably is more accustomed to dealing similar-sized opponents of a different species than the kangaroo is.  Kangaroos spar with other kangaroos, but the dingo (slightly over 40lb) is the largest predator a kangaroo has to deal with.  Raccoons sometimes battle foxes, and can be attacked by predators larger than themselves (bobcats, coyotes, etc.).  I'd probably give the edge to the raccoon.

Raccoon vs Sable Antelope (at parity): The sable antelope will measure about 50% taller at the shoulder than the raccoon.  The sable antelope is a hardy, aggressive antelope with long curved horns.  It tends to stand and fight instead of running, and can be a handful for a leopard or a lion.  This will be similar to the raccoon vs moose matchup.  The sable antelope is probably a bit more formidable than a moose pound-for-pound (very close, though), but the raccoon's "scaling up" won't be as radical because a moose weighs 3 times as much as a sable antelope does, so the raccoon's capabilities will be slightly better.  50/50.    

Raccoon vs American Bison (at parity): The raccoon will measure almost 3/4 the shoulder height of the American bison.  This will be about the same as the other raccoon vs bovid matchups.  The raccoon can't be counted out, but one weighing over a ton will be too slow to defend itself the same way an 18lb raccoon might.  The raccoon's offense won't be as effective at this new weight, either.  Edge to American bison.

All-in-all, not a bad showing for the masked bandit!

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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