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Tigers/big cat questions


Hello, Srinivasa.  Hope all is well.  I have some questions for you(some that I have asked other experts in the past) that I am eager to get your opinion about.  Some involve hypothetical matchups that could never occur due to the animals living in different areas, but here goes:

1. How would a Bengal or Siberian tiger fare against a bull hippopotamus if the encounter was face-to-face and entirely on land?

2. If a snow leopard battled an African leopard and the 2 cats weighed exactly the same, who would come out on top most of the time?

3. In reply to another questioner, you spoke very highly of the tiger's abilities as a combatant.  How would a Bengal or Siberian tiger fare against a polar bear or a Kodiak bear if the encounter was face-to-face?

4. If a 225kg tiger fought a 900kg crocodile on land(face-to-face; no ambush), who would come out on top most of the time?

5. If a Siberian tiger(or Bengal) attempted to bring down a bull giraffe by ambush, how often would it be successful?  What if the encounter was face-to-face?

No rush on these; take as much time as you need!  Thank you.


Adult bull hippopotamuses are formidable opponents to any animal on this planet. An adult can weight anywhere between 2-3 tons and even saltwater crocodiles and Nile crocodiles, world’s largest reptiles, do fear these formidable herbivores. Both Siberian tigers and royal Bengal tigers stand very little chance against a bull hippopotamus. It is true that tigers are very powerful and large, but not up to hippos. Hence I would bet on hippo all the time.

If a snow leopard and an African leopard of same weight fight against each other, African leopard would be the obvious winner. This is because a leopard has a sturdier build and powerful muscular body compared to a snow leopard of same weight. Hence chances are more for leopard to beat snow leopard.

Yes, either a Siberian Tiger or a Royal Bengal tiger can weigh only half as much as a polar bear or Kodiak bear, tiger is more muscular compared to polar bear and Kodiak bear. Besides that, no polar bear can match a tiger in agility. So tigers will beat bears in seven out of ten cases and because of their superior body size, bears would be able to win in three cases.

A 225 kg tiger has a better chance of beating a 900 kg crocodile, because crocodiles are not as agile as tigers. Besides that, on land crocodiles are easy victims for big cats. In a fair face to face contest, a tiger will win always against a crocodile. There was a tigress named Machali in Corbett national park in India which had killed a large number of crocodiles. Crocodiles can’t move quickly on land. Hence they lose against a 225 kg tiger.

A bull giraffe is a formidable animal with a height of about 18 feet and a weight of about two tons. No tiger would ever be able to bring down a bull giraffe single handedly. A single kick of giraffe’s powerful leg will shatter the skull of any mighty tiger. So in my opinion, neither a Siberian tiger nor a Bengal tiger would be able to kill a giraffe single handedly, even by ambush.  


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Srinivasa Murthy S V


I can answer most questions related to wildlife. I love nature to such an extent that I have even created my e-mail id in the name of one of the most beautiful birds of western ghats, malabar trogon. I am particularly interested in mammals and birds, but can also answer questions related to reptiles and amphibians. One can ask questions related to taxonomy also.


Frankly speaking, I don't have any experience of working in this field officially, but interest is my biggest strength and since I am from malnad region, I live in the midst of nature. Birdwatching is my favorite hobby and Salim Ali's "The book of indian birds" is my all-time companion whereever I go. I want to do something for the conservation of our rapidly dwindling wildlife...

Recently I have joined India Nature Watch and have posted some photographs, but I am still the beginner in the field. I have a lot of interest to grow in this field and looking for opportunities.

I have written many articles both in English and my mother language, Kannada. My articles were published in Kannada magazines like Sudha, Taranga, Mayura, Kasturi, Karmaveera etc, but none of my english articles were accepted for publication.

I have completed my graduation with Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science as my main subjects. I completed graduation in 2009 with 86.41%. Even though I never studied Biology as a main subject, but that didn't affect my love for wildlife in any way. I tried to join M.Sc course in NCBS. I even passed the entrance exam, but I failed to clear the next steps. So i had to postpone my ideas temparorily.

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