A friend of mine went backpacking with her family. But instead of enjoying the great outdoors, she found herself terrified of coming across a dangerous bear.
Of course, she survived her trip without any sort of incident but continues to struggle with the thought of ‘what if” she had actually come across a bear.
While bears are undoubtedly scary, with the grizzly bear being the most frightening of all the bears in our country, I posed a question. What animal would you want to fight off a bear on your behalf?
In this article, we will talk about what animals could defeat a bear. In an epic battle for life and death, are there any animals that could actually win against a grizzly?
But before we begin our hypothetical wars between bears and other animals, let’s take a look at what makes a grizzly bear so dangerous. We’ll talk about its strength and weaknesses and what makes grizzly bears special.
What Makes a Grizzly Bear So Dangerous?
Grizzly bears are enormous! They can stand upwards of 5 to 8 feet tall and weigh well over 800 pounds. They have dish-shaped faces with rounded ears and a large hump on their neck.
They can live up to 30 or 40 years in prairies, mountains, forests, and even near towns.
Their huge muscles, giant claws, and strong jaws make them a terrifying force to contend with. As humans, we always try to avoid a conflict with a grizzly bear, but what about other animals? What can contend with a grizzly bear?
What are the strengths of a grizzly bear?
According to zoologist.com, grizzly bears are one of the strongest mammals on earth. They can knock over dumpsters, lift up giant rocks in search of food, and drag a full-grown moose.
A grizzly bear can behead a human with a single swipe of its 4-inch claws and crush its skull in one bite of its powerful jaws, with a bite pressure of 1200 PSI. In addition, grizzly bears can run fast – up to 35 mph – and have thick, tough skin.
What are the weaknesses of a grizzly bear?
The bears aren’t undefeatable. They do have some weaknesses that other animals can exploit to the gain the high ground in an epic battle! For example, bears are short-sighted.
They also have impaired peripheral vision. They have smaller brains than other animals their size and have trouble with visual processing.
Bears also have trouble standing up on a steep hill.
What animal could defeat a grizzly bear?
A grizzly bear can easily defeat a defenceless human, although thankfully, bear attacks are rare. But what animal would you want on your side in a fight against a grizzly?
There are some animals that can defeat a grizzly – let’s take a look at which ones could theoretically help you out of a jam.
A Note About Baby Bears
There are a number of animals that prey on baby bears. For example, if a cub gets separated from its fierce mama bear, it could be attacked and preyed upon by animals such as cougars, bobcats, tigers, and wolves.
But, of course, mama bears are extra fierce when protecting their cubs, so the predators know to stay far away.
Both male and female bears are considered to be apex predators. Apex predators are animals at the top of the food chain, such as grizzly bears, polar bears, and lions.
What Animals Could Defeat a Grizzly Bear?
|Animal||Strengths||Physical Appearance||Advantage Over a Grizzly|
|Bear||Runs 25 – 35 mph|
1200 PSI Bite Power
Excellent sense of smell and hearing
Can kill with a single swipe or bite
|Can weigh over 800 pounds and stand over 8 feet tall|
|Crocodile||Runs 22 mph|
Swims at 15 mph
3700 PSI Bite Power
Ambushes predators and does the death roll
|Weighs up to 2000 pounds|
Can grow 10 to 20 feet long, Tough, scaly skin
|Ambushes its prey and drags it underwater. Can kill it with its bite.|
|Rhinoceros||Runs 25 to 34 mph|
Charges when threatened
|Weighs 1900 to 3500 pounds|
Is 11 to 13 feet long
Has a strong horn
|Size, speed, and its strong horn|
|Hippopotamus||It can run over 30 mph|
Powerful jaws and teeth
|Weights 3000 to 9000 pounds|
10 to 16.5 feet long
|A hippo’s large size gives it an advantage over a grizzly bear.|
|Elephants||Runs at 9 – 25mph|
Great hearing and smell but poor vision
|6500 to 12,000 lbs|
18 to 21 feet long
|An elephant can impale with its tusks and stomp with its massive feet. It can also knock over enemies with its head and trunk.|
|Tiger||Tigers are aggressive and territorial|
Bite force of 1000 PSI
It runs up to 49 mph
|200 – 700 pounds|
8 to 12 feet long
Three inch-long canines
|Ambush and fast bite to the neck|
|Buffalo||Can run 35 mph for up to an hour|
It can charge with its large horns
|Weighs up to 2000 pounds|
Thick, strong skull
|A bison can charge the buffalo, spearing it with its horns and throwing it easily|
|African Lion||Can run 50mph|
Leaps up to 36 feet
Hunts in packs
|4.5 to 6.5 feet long|
Up to 400 pounds
|Lions hunt in packs, so while a grizzly could easily injure a smaller lion, a pack would have a definite advantage|
|Giraffe||It runs up to 37 mph|
Up to 19 feet high
|Large size and powerful kick|
|Walrus||Swims up to 22 mph|
|Weighs over 3500 pounds|
11 feet long
Tusks up to 39 inches long
|Lives in groups|
Can swim fast on water
Protects itself with its long tusks and thick skin
|Polar Bear||Runs up to 25 mph for short distances before overheating|
Swims up to 6mph
|Weighs up to 1500 pounds|
Over 8 feet tall
Large paws with short claws
|Polar bear fur camouflages them in ice and snow|
Larger than grizzly bears
|Wolf||Runs 31 – 37 mph|
|Weighs 120 – 180 pounds||Hunts in packs|
Incredible sense of smell
Fast swimmers up to 35 mph
Can bite at 4000 PSI and 300 teeth
|200 – 2400 pounds|
12 – 21 feet long
|Large size, swim speed, and massive bite. Uses ambushes to catch prey.|
|Humans||Runs at 6 to 8 mph|
Swims at 6 mph
|The average height of 5 foot 9 inches|
The average weight of 130 – 180 pounds
Saltwater crocodiles can grow up to 20 feet long and weigh 2000 pounds. This is a definite size advantage over a bear.
If a croc wanted to attack a bear, it would hide in the shallow water along the river. Then, when the bear came to hunt for fish, the crocodile would ambush the bear and drag it underwater.
Finally, the death roll would maim the bear until the croc could finish the deal with its strong teeth.
Rhinos are herbivores and prefer to keep to themselves. However, when a rhino is threatened, it won’t back down from a fight. Their sheer size and speed make them a force to contend with. A rhino would likely avoid a meetup with a grizzly bear unless it felt like the bear was about to attack.
The rhino could run just as fast as the bear! If it charged the bear and speared with its horn, the rhino could win, hands -or hooves – down.
Hippos are giant and can weigh over 9000 pounds with a length of over 16 feet! Their lumbering size gives them a considerable advantage over the much smaller grizzly.
And considering that hippos are incredibly aggressive, according to livescience.com, there’s no doubt that a cranky hippo would take down a grizzly if it wandered into its social circle.
A grizzly bear is just no match for an elephant.
There is a reason lions don’t attack elephant’s and its because an elephant would be too difficult to take down.
If a pride of Lions can’t take down an elephant a grizzly would certainly struggle.
With its vast size, an elephant could easily knock over an attacking grizzly. An elephant would withstand attacks with its tough skin and stomp or spear it to its demise.
Interesting fact an elephants skin is 2.5cm thick, and is made of a tough resistant protein called keratin.
A tiger could win in a fight with a grizzly, but only if it strikes first, according to naturenoon.com. A grizzly could quickly decapitate a tiger with one strike.
It also has much more stamina to win a prolonged battle. However, a tiger is an exceptional hunter. It could wait to ambush the grizzly bear and kill it quickly with a bite to the neck.
Buffalos are peaceful herbivores – from a distance. But, if you get too close, a threatened buffalo will charge. Their large size, combined with large horns and thick skulls, make them a clear winner in a fight between a grizzly and a buffalo.
A buffalo can easily pick up a bear with its large horns and toss it away like trash.
7. African Lion
Would an African Lion defeat a grizzly bear? National Geographic points out that female lions often hunt as a team, giving them a distinct advantage over a solitary grizzly.
A grizzly is much larger than a lion, so it can sustain more damage and cause more damage. However, a lion could easily outrun a bear and ambush it. Together with the pack, a lion could beat a grizzly in a fight.
You might think the bucolic giraffe is not much of a danger to a threatening grizzly bear. But just the opposite is true! While you aren’t likely to see a giraffe and grizzly showdown in real life, giraffes have been known to deliver a fatal kick to an attacking lion.
Due to its sheer size, speed, and kicking abilities, you can be pretty sure that a giraffe has a great chance of defeating a grizzly in a proverbial fight to the finish.
A giraffes kick generates 2000 psi (Pounds-of-force Per Square-inch). That’s about 2.6 times powerful than a Kangeroo kick (759). The advantage of a Giraffe is it can also kick in multiple directions.
Walruses have a comical look about them, with their blubbery bodies, fins, and tusks. But you might not believe the outcome if a walrus would fight a grizzly bear!
You’re unlikely to ever see a match between a walrus and a grizzly bear. You might, however, see a fight between a polar bear and a walrus. In this case, says Poseidon Expeditions, it’s unlikely that a polar bear (which is larger and more ferocious than a grizzly) could take down a healthy adult walrus. They’re just too large and much too formidable of a foe!
So if somehow a grizzly were to attack a walrus, the grizzly would have some advantages on land, with the potential of delivering a fatal blow, but the walrus would definitely win in the water.
10. Polar bear
What if you could put a polar bear in a boxing ring with a grizzly bear? Who would win? Let’s think about it.
A polar bear is typically significantly larger than a grizzly. It’s also an avid hunter, while grizzly bears eat a lot more fruits and veggies. You’d think this would make it clear that polar bears could wipe out a grizzly.
On the other hand, grizzly bears have a claw that is just made for killing. But what’s more interesting is that, according to Anchorage Daily News, polar bears react submissively to grizzlies. They won’t even put up a fight; they’ll just leave. So maybe their non-violent actions make them the clear winner?
You won’t find much fighting between polar bears and grizzlies, considering the evidence of pizzly and grolar bears, a match made in heaven for both species.
So while a polar bear has enough size and strength to defeat the ferocious grizzly bear, it just chooses to make love and not war instead.
11. Wolf Pack
A lone wolf is no match for a grizzly bear. A grizzly can break the spine of a wolf with a single swipe while its thick skin protects it from wolf bites. Generally, though, wolf and bear interactions are pretty rare, according to the experts at Yellow Stone Park.
In real life, a pack of wolves may drive a bear away from their den but relinquish a fresh kill.
So while a solitary wolf couldn’t kill a healthy bear, an entire pack working together could take a grizzly down if needed.
Location, location, location. If you put a bear and a shark in a boxing ring, the bear would easily win with a single swipe. Sharks can’t run on land, so the bear would have a clear advantage to take down the shark in a hurry.
On the other hand, if you were to dunk a grizzly bear in the ocean, the shark could easily ambush, outswim, and bite its foe to an untimely end.
What about shallow water? Bear versus shark in shallow water is a definite toss-up. While the bear might be able to outmanoeuvre the shark, the shark still has a swimming advantage and a lot more teeth! If the bear could avoid the shark’s massive jaws, it might stand a chance at victory.
13. Human Warrior
Can a human kill a bear? Of course, a human can kill a bear, sometimes. However, in hand-to-hand combat, a human is no match for a bear.
In fact, humans can’t outrun bears, and they can be easily beheaded in a single swipe of a grizzly bear paw. As a result, forest rangers or the police usually kill bears that kill humans.
But humans have higher intelligence and weapons, which can easily wipe out a bear. But grizzlies rarely attack humans in reality. So if you’re ever approached by a bear, understanding how to respond is critical to saving your own and the bear’s life.
Unless you have a team of hippos, rhinos, giraffes, wolves, sharks, walruses, and crocodiles on your side and ready to fight, just don’t approach a grizzly bear. It would most likely mean the end of your life – and theirs.