We’ve already determined that a single lion doesn’t have a chance against a grizzly bear. After all, lions are too small, and they are used to hunting in groups. So, what happens if we decide to reimagine the fight and even the odds? What if a pride of lions attacked a group of grizzlies? We’re going to pit an imaginary lion pride vs. a group of grizzly bears and see which of them has the highest chance of surviving.
This epic battle is going to require some cold facts and a dash of imagination, but we’ll get to the bottom of this question!
Comparing a Lion Pride and a Group of Grizzly Bears
|Lion Pride||Group of Grizzly Bears|
|Size||Weight: 260 lbs-550 lbs|
Length: 4.7 ft-8.2 ft
Height: 3 ft-3.9 ft
Length: 7 ft-10 ft
Height: 3 ft-4.5 ft at the shoulder
|Speed and Movement Type||– Run at speeds of 35 mph |
– May hit speeds of between 40-50 mph at the end of a chase
|– 35 mph on land |
– Roughly 6 mph in the water
|Defenses||– Their pride gives them safety in numbers|
– Relatively large size as a carnivore frightens away many enemies
– Will use speed to run away from fights it cannot win
|– Thick skin |
– Large size
– Can rear up on hind legs to make itself look even larger
– Uses bluff charges to scare away foes
|Offensive Capabilities||– Has 1.5-inch-long claws that are sharp enough to gash prey|
– Lion paws are large, and their strikes can stagger foes
– Can exert 650 PSI- 1,000 PSI when biting.
– Possess sharp teeth that can tear into prey and break bones.
– Attempt to suffocate prey with bites or shatter bones
|– 975 PSI bite |
– 42 teeth that measure about 1 inch in length
– Strong bites, vicious shaking attacks
– 4-inch claws
– Powerful swipe attacks with its massive paws
– They maul their prey with deadly bites that break bones and tear flesh
|Predatory Behavior||– Endurance predator or ambush predator |
– Works as a group to take down prey
|– Grizzly bears are opportunistic predators that surprise their prey when they spot it |
– They are also scavengers
|Group Size||– Lions live in groups of between 2 and 40 members|
– A group of six lions called the Mapogo lion coalition killed over 100 lions in a year.
|– Grizzly bears rarely live together as adults unless its an adult with its young |
– Groups of grizzly bears can gather when gathering salmon
What Are 5 Key Differences Between a Lion Pride and a Group of Grizzly Bears?
The biggest differences between a lion pride and a group of grizzlies lie in the size of the individual participants as well as the size of the group. Grizzly bears are individually larger than lions, but they congregate in smaller groups than lion prides.
On average, a grizzly bear can weigh between 400 and 700 pounds, grows up to 10 feet long, and stands between 3 and 4.5 feet at the shoulder. Meanwhile, a lion weighs between 260 and 550 pounds, grows between 4.7 and 8.2 feet long, and stands from 3 to 3.9 feet tall at the shoulder.
While grizzly bears are large, they are mostly solitary animals. Groups of grizzly bears are typically limited to a mother and its young, but they can group up during some times. For example, when a salmon run is taking place, grizzlies will group up to fish a bunch of them out of the water. However, this is not a matter of direct cooperation.
Meanwhile, lion prides can be as small as three lions and as large as three dozen. These powerful, coordinated groups regularly take down prey several times their size. These differences will significantly impact the matchup, but we have many other elements to discuss as well.
What Are the Key Factors in a Fight Between a Lion Pride and a Group of Grizzly Bears?
We can’t look at the size of a single creature to determine the winner of this battle. Instead, we have to look at several different factors and see how they would influence the battle. That’s why we’re going to examine the size, speed, defenses, offenses, predatory behavior, and group size of these beasts.
By looking at each and assigning an advantage to one side or the other, we’ll have a good idea of which creatures would win this epic battle.
Lion Pride vs Group of Grizzlies: Size
Grizzly bears are far larger than lions in terms of size. The average grizzly bear weighs about 400 to 700 pounds and grows between 7 and 10 feet in length while standing between 3 and 4.5 feet tall. However, they can weigh significantly more, over 1,000 pounds.
The average lion from a pride weighs between 260 and 500 pounds, measures 4.7 to 8.2 feet long, and stands between 3 and 3.9 feet tall at the shoulder. However, male lions are the ones that are more likely to reach the upper end of these weights and sizes. Females, a significant part of the pride, are a bit smaller.
Grizzly bears have the size advantage.
Lion Pride vs Group of Grizzlies: Speed and Movement
Lions are faster than grizzly bears. The fastest speed a grizzly bear can reach is 35 mph, and lions regularly run at that speed. However, lions can reach speeds of 40 to 50 mph when they’re closing in on their prey.
Lions are more agile than bears, too. They’re capable of changing directions and resuming an attack with greater precision. That doesn’t mean grizzly bears are slow. They’re surprisingly fast.
Still, lions have an advantage in speed and movement.
Lion Pride vs Group of Grizzlies: Defenses
A group of grizzly bears would be a defensive powerhouse. These bears have thick bodies, thick skin, and plenty of dense fur to help keep them safe from lions. They have a terrifying threat display, and they’re capable of rearing up onto their hind legs to show off their impressive size.
Lions stay with their pride for safety because few animals want to risk a fight with them unless they have the lions outnumbered. Still, these creatures also have a large size that makes them hard to attack along with speed to get away from trouble. Male lions, along with some females, have manes that protect their necks from bites.
Bears have better individual defenses, and those features would be enhanced in a group.
Lion Pride vs Group of Grizzly Bears: Offensive Capabilities
A pride of lions has an immense amount of offensive power. They have long teeth and biting power that measures between 650 and 1,000 PSI of bone-breaking power. Lions have 1.5-inch claws that can help them dig into prey and gash them open. Moreover, their paw swipes can disorient or kill an enemy.
When they hunt, they rely on using their powerful bite to suffocate their prey or break their necks. A group of lions is coordinated in this effort.
However, grizzly bears are incredibly powerful too. They can deliver a 975 PSI bite with 42 teeth, averaging 1 inch in length but 3 inches at the fangs. Their massive paws end in 4-inch claws. A single swipe can knock an animal unconscious or kill it outright. Their attacks are terrifying because they use their weight, teeth, and paws to maul their foes to death.
A pride of lions has an offensive advantage because of their coordination and hunting instincts compared to a group of grizzlies.
Lion Pride vs Group of Grizzly Bears: Predatory Behavior
Grizzly bears are interesting in that they are a mix between scavengers, herbivores, and deadly predators. They hunt using their instincts to find prey and use what can be described as a rudimentary ambush style to surprise their prey and bring them down. Against larger prey, grizzly bears will use cursorial predation to wear out their foe and kill them.
Meanwhile, a pride of lions can hunt individually to kill prey, or they may work together to kill large prey. They ambush prey and can end the fight in a single bite. Sometimes, though, they use endurance predation, harrying and sapping prey before it’s too exhausted to continue.
Lions have an advantage in predatory behavior using their ambush and cursorial predation styles.
Lion Pride vs Group of Grizzly Bears: Group Size
Grizzly bears are not known for living in large groups. A mother may live with its young or a few bears may congregate during the breeding season. Dozens may live in the same area during some salmon runs. Still, they are mostly solitary creatures.
Lions live in pride that measures between three individuals and up to three dozen. While infighting is somewhat common, they are very good at cooperating when it comes to bringing down prey.
Lions have an advantage in group size.
Who Would Win in a Fight Between a Lion Pride and a Group of Grizzly Bears?
A group of grizzlies would win a fight against a lion pride because they’re stronger, have greater durability, and would require lions to work very hard to kill them.
First off, we have to define the numbers. In this case, we’re going to say the grizzly bears have 12 fighters on their side, numbers that have been seen during salmon runs. Meanwhile, a lion pride could number as few as 3 individuals, but they can justifiably reach two dozen. So, with 24 members, there are two lions for every grizzly.
With so many animals and the instincts of these hunters, an ambush is out of the question. This fight would start with the two groups sizing each other up and taking risks to land a bite. So, let’s imagine this fight takes place on relatively open and flat ground.
The Lion Pride vs The Grizzlies
Lions are experts at harassing prey by attacking their flanks, tiring them out, and working them into the right situation to bring them down. The bears would have to worry about more than one lion attacking it at once.
However, grizzly bears are much larger, so the chances of a lion biting a grizzly and suffocating it are low. They’re even lower when you consider the amount of damage the grizzly could do to a lion if it got close.
In short, two lions per bear may not be enough to kill the grizzlies. Meanwhile, one grizzly can kill a single lion or more. They regularly take prey that is larger than lions, like moose.
If a grizzly used its size and weight to bring a lion to the ground and maul it, the lion is almost assuredly dead or incapacitated. Lions sometimes jump into fights to save their comrades, so this battle could turn into a deadly melee.
Still, grizzlies are harder to take down and far more difficult to kill for the lions. Lions have the numbers and the hunting proficiency, but an enraged grizzly could soak up a lot of punishment from the lion and deal incredible damage back to them. A single bite by the grizzly could leave a lion unable to fight, a swipe could knock it out.
If the lions attacked in an unnatural way, such as a highly coordinated, 2-on-1 matchup per grizzly, they might have a better chance. That’s not how fights happen in the wild, though. So, if these two groups fought, and they probably wouldn’t, the grizzlies would win the day.
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I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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