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Wild Animals/Animal conflict big cats vs bears

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Question
Hi Jonathan!

So I have a couple of questions regarding large felids vs ursids particularly grizzlies. I do not condone any sort of animal fighting but it is a curious subject about who the ultimate carnivores are. Whenever I read any forums people seem to give the felid (either lion or tiger) no chance against a bear.

I have read an account of a lion named Parnell that had a fight a big grizzly bear named ramadam. The fight was said to go on for more than 20 minutes and was deemed a draw with both animals being beaten badly, but both surviving in the end.

So my questions are could a 550 pound lion defeat a 700 pound male grizzly? And also, could a 600 pound tiger win a fight against a 700 pound male grizzly? I feel like the cats would have a pretty good chance and I dont think the bear would be able to kill them in one shot like everyone says they will. The cats are fast and wouldnt just serve up their heads to the bear to slap so I dont think it would be as one sided as people say.

Any insight would be great and details about how the encounter would go would also be very interesting

Thank you!

Answer
Hello Sam

Thanks for your question.

I stopped answering animal fight questions after getting quite a bit of abuse on another part of the AllExperts website. Animal fights are based on lots of assumptions e.g. all individuals of a species behave the same way and a fight between two species will have the same result. There have been a few cases where a live mouse has been fed to a snake. The mouse has bitten the snake, so the mouse survives and the snake dies. There is no real reason why a 550 lb lion couldn't defeat a 700 pound male grizzly, but as lions live in Africa and India, while grizzlies live in North America, a fight would only occur in captivity with no means of escape for either animal i.e. the fight would be rigged and cruel. Please note that animals usually only fight if they have a chance of winning and fights are often due to increased hormone levels in the mating season. It is unusual for two species to fight each other and, if one animal is stronger than the other, the weaker animal is usually allowed to retreat to avoid the risk of injury to either individual.

If you want an in-depth analysis of animal fights, please contact my colleagues at http://www.allexperts.com/el/Interspecies-Conflict/.

All the best

Jonathan

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Jonathan Wright

Expertise

I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.

Experience

I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

Organizations
WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Publications
Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

Education/Credentials
BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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