Gorillas and lions are some of the most iconic animals found in Africa. Have you ever wondered what would happen if they were to meet in the wild? In a fight between a gorilla vs. a lion, who would win? Keep reading as we compare the strengths and weaknesses of these two powerful creatures.
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Gorilla vs. Lion: Comparisons
Check out this video for a summary of comparisons between lions and gorillas:
Now, let’s take a more in-depth look. In this section, we’ll see how lions and gorillas stack up against each other in several specific categories.
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The gorilla is surprisingly strong for an animal that spends most of its time foraging for plants to eat. Silverback gorillas, the dominant males, are especially strong.
Gorillas are thought to be around 6 times as strong as humans and have been measured lifting up to 1,800 pounds of weight. That said, it is theoretically possible that they could lift as much as 10 times their own weight–4,000 pounds or more.
They are also capable of throwing with a force of nearly 1,000 pounds–enough to crush a human skull.
Lions, of course, are also quite strong. They are used to hunting and have been known to take down prey animals weighing as much as 1,000 pounds.
Though they are not considered to have as much brute strength as gorillas, lions are no strangers when it comes to hunting large prey. This would even the odds a little bit in this category.
So, when it comes to strength, the gorillas may have a slight advantage, though lions and gorillas are fairly evenly matched.
Adult male gorillas can grow quite large–5 ½ to 6 feet tall, with an arm span of up to 8 feet, and weighing as much as 400 to 500 pounds.
Lions are fairly close in size. They are typically 5 to 6 feet long (though some can grow up to 8 feet long) and weigh as much as 500 to 550 pounds.
Though they have very differently-shaped bodies, when it comes to size, gorillas and lions are pretty evenly matched.
Gorillas tend to move somewhat slowly, though they can run up to 25 miles per hour if necessary. They move most quickly when knuckle walking, or using both their arms and legs to get around.
Lions are much faster than gorillas. They can run as fast as 35 to 50 miles per hour in an all-out sprint, which would allow them to easily catch up and overtake an escaping gorilla.
So, in this category, lions have a definite advantage.
Gorillas are closely related to humans; as such, their senses are very similar to human senses. They can see and hear about as well as the average human, no better.
They do have a better sense of smell than humans do, so they might be able to pick up on the scent of an approaching lion.
Meanwhile, lions have catlike senses–they can see incredibly well both during the day and at night. They also have a great sense of hearing.
What’s more, lions can smell prey that’s nearly 2 miles away, allowing them to find their next victim quickly and efficiently.
So, in terms of senses, lions have the advantage over gorillas.
Gorillas have one of the strongest bite forces in the animal kingdom at around 1,300 pounds per square inch. They use their incredibly strong jaws and teeth to rip apart trees and chew tough plant materials.
Lions, surprisingly, have a much weaker bite force of around 650 pounds per square inch. That said, their teeth are sharper than gorillas’ teeth and designed for ripping apart flesh, bone, and muscle.
So, in the bite force category, gorillas have an advantage, though it’s likely a lion could do more damage since their teeth are sharper.
Gorillas are highly intelligent creatures capable of using tools. In a fight with a lion, it is possible a gorilla would use some object within its environment as a weapon against the lion.
Of course, gorillas are not used to fighting large predatory animals. They are gentle, docile creatures by nature who rarely become aggressive unless attempting to protect their troop or fend off other gorillas.
Meanwhile, lions are not known for their intelligence, but they do know how to hunt. They are born predators and, as mentioned above, will take on prey weighing up to 1,000 pounds.
That said, lions will not attempt to take down an animal unless they are sure they can kill it. What’s more, they don’t have very good stamina, so they will tire quickly.
So, in terms of behavior, lions and gorillas both have strengths and weaknesses. It is difficult to say which one would have the edge in a fight.
Gorilla vs. Lion: Who Would Win?
Now that you have a good idea of how each animal compares against the other, you may still be wondering: who would win?
As you might imagine, the answer to this question is up for debate. Lions and gorillas both live in Africa, but they keep to separate regions and habitats so it’s unlikely we’ll ever know for sure what would happen if these two great beasts met in the wild.
As noted, gorillas are impressively strong, so it’s possible they could use their strength to wear down an attacking lion. They also have a superior intellect, so they might be able to use weapons or fighting techniques to outsmart the lion.
But, as we also discussed, lions are natural predators. They are less likely to shy away from a fight than a gorilla would be, and their speed and agility would probably allow them to keep up with the gorilla even if it tried to escape.
What’s more, lions are built for hunting, and they often work together to take down larger prey. If a group of lions were to surround a lone gorilla, the gorilla likely wouldn’t stand a chance.
Ultimately, it might come down to a matter of chance.
If the gorilla could use its brute force to crush the lion’s skull before the lion could deliver a killing bite, then the gorilla would win. If the lion could bite the neck or tear the gorilla’s flesh enough to make it bleed out, then the lion would win.
Gorillas and lions are both large, strong, impressive animals. If they were to fight each other, the lion may be slightly more likely to win, but they are both so evenly matched it is difficult to say for sure.