The grizzly bear is one of the largest and most powerful mammals in the world. However, their modern range is not conducive to meeting lions, the big cats native to Africa. If they did meet and had a reason to fight, perhaps to kill a new antelope, how would the fight play out? Today, we’re going to imagine what happens when a grizzly bear fights a lion.
We’ll break down the fight in a number of ways to show you which of these animals has the superior speed, size, strength and instincts to take down your opponent. See what happens in this epic battle between deadly apex predators!
Comparing Grizzlies and Lions
Length: 7ft – 10ft
Height: 3 feet to 4.5 feet at the withers
|Weight: 260 lbs – 550 lbs|
Length: 4.7ft – 8.2ft
Height: 3ft – 3.9ft
|speed and movement type||– 35 mph over land|
– about 6 mph in water
|– 35 mph|
– Can run up to 40-50 mph when approaching enemies
– large size
– Standing on hind legs for a threatening display
– Use bluff to scare enemies away
|– Take pride in digital security|
– As a carnivore, its relatively large size can scare away many enemies
– Can run away from enemies quickly
|offensive ability||– 975 PSI bite|
– 42 teeth, about 1 inch long
– Strong bite, vicious shake attack
– 4 inch claws
– Powerful swipe attack with its huge claws
– They crush their prey with a deadly bite
|– Sharp 1.5-inch claws can tear enemies apart|
– Claw strikes deliver powerful and surprising blows
– Strong bite force of 650 PSI- 1,000 PSI can rip bones and rip prey apart
– Use their powerful bite to suffocate prey or break their necks
|predatory behavior||– Grizzly bears are opportunistic predators that take their prey by surprise|
– They are also scavengers
|– Stamina Predator or Ambush Predator|
– Work as a team to destroy prey
5 Key Differences Between Grizzlies and Lions
The most notable difference between a grizzly and a lion is their overall size and how they hunt. Grizzly bears are larger than lions, weighing up to 700 pounds, compared to lions, which weigh about 550 pounds. Grizzlies, meanwhile, can grow up to 10 feet long and 4.5 feet tall at the shoulder, while lions stand about 3 to 3.9 feet tall and 8.2 feet long including their tails.
Furthermore, lions are predators that use ambush or stamina predation to bring down prey, while grizzlies are opportunistic predators that use ambush elements to suddenly overwhelm prey.
What are the key factors in a grizzly and lion fight?
When two giant, deadly predators battle each other, certain factors become more important than others. In the case of grizzlies versus lions, the key factors in the fight will be size, offensive capabilities, defensive capabilities, and predation.
We’ll examine each of these traits, and others, to give you the full picture of which animal has the greatest advantage in a fight with another.
Grizzly vs. Lion: Size
Grizzlies are larger in average and maximum size than lions. While the average grizzly weighs between 400 and 700 pounds, they can be much heavier. They grow 7 to 10 feet long and 4 to 4.5 feet tall at the shoulder.
Meanwhile, lions weigh between 260 and 550 pounds, measure between 4.7 and 8.2 feet in length, and stand between 3 and 3.9 feet tall. In this case it is clear that even standing on four paws, the grizzly is much larger.
Grizzlies have a size advantage over lions.
Grizzlies vs. Lions: Speed and movement
The fact that a grizzly bear can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour at full speed should terrify any animal or human that trespasses on its territory.
While a lion can run moderate distances at 35 mph, it approaches prey at even higher speeds, somewhere between 40 and 50 mph. However, this is a speed reserved for very short distances, giving them sufficient speed to grab and bring down prey.
On flat ground, lions have the potential to achieve faster speeds than grizzlies.
Grizzlies vs. Lions: Defense
The primary defense lions use is to form groups with other lions called prides. The presence of a few adult lions would scare off most other large carnivores. However, lions are also large creatures and most animals in their range are too powerful to attack. Additionally, if a lion finds itself in trouble, it can use its speed to escape. Male lions and some lionesses also have manes around their necks to protect them from bites.
Grizzlies have thick skin, rich thick fur, and a large size to scare away potential attackers. They are top predators, so rarely fall prey to predators as adults. Although they tend to live solitary lives, grizzlies may sometimes congregate. Otherwise, they will take advantage of their natural defenses and their defensive stance, backing away to increase their size or charging with bluff to scare off potential enemies.
Grizzlies have better defenses than lions, but only individually.
Grizzlies vs. Lions: Offensive Power
Grizzlies and lions are powerful creatures that rely on a combination of powerful jaws, teeth, and claws to kill their prey. Grizzlies can bite with 975 PSI, while lions can bite with somewhere between 650 PSI and 1,000 PSI, although the latter measurement is still debated.
Grizzlies have four-inch claws and lions have 1.5-inch claws. Although lions use their claws to dig up prey or claw to claw, they are not as powerful or dangerous as grizzly bears, which do the same. Grizzlies can tear apart prey or render them unconscious with a flick of their paws.
Lions will bite hard on the neck of their prey, suffocating them or rendering them unable to fight back by breaking neck bones. Grizzlies are more ferocious as they punch, attack, bite and claw their prey in combat to kill and eat them. The end result is usually a fatal bite to the neck, back or head.
Grizzlies are more aggressive than lions.
Grizzlies and Lions: Acts of Predation
Lions are known to hunt in groups and alone, using ambush tactics or stamina predation to consume their prey. They are very effective hunters.
Grizzlies are opportunistic predators that use the ambush element when they spot prey. They are also scavengers and will eat fruits, vegetables, and even human leftovers.
Lions have a clear advantage in this case, as they are well-coordinated and powerful hunters, primarily eating meat. However, their skill as individual hunters may not be enough to give them an edge over grizzlies.
Lions are more powerful and subtle in their predation behavior than grizzlies.
Who would win in a fight between the Grizzlies and the Lions?
A grizzly would win a fight with a lion, probably by breaking the lion’s back or biting through its skull. Lions do have an edge when it comes to hunting skills, especially when they attack in packs.
In a one-on-one fight, though, the Grizzlies still have a lot of advantages. For example, a grizzly bear has a significant size advantage because it is heavier, longer and stands taller than a lion. Plus, lions can’t match grizzlies in terms of raw strength.
While a lion fights on all fours, a grizzly can fall back on its hind legs, essentially allowing it to climb onto an enemy. Grizzlies that attack deer often use this technique.
The lion is faster and more agile, but it’s not so quick and agile that it can’t dodge every attack of a grizzly bear. Faced grizzlies will attack lions with bites, claws, and claws, which can seriously injure smaller animals. If the grizzly managed to climb onto the lion and use its weight in a fight, the bear would have bit the lion’s back, breaking its spine, and crushing its skull.
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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