Who would win a head to head fight between the king of the jungle and the grizzly bear? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.
The lion is the second-largest cat after tigers with a unique coat that ranges from a shade of buff yellow, orange-brown, or silvery gray to dark brown with a tuft of dark hair on their tail tips. They are stocky mammals with a long body, large head, and short legs.
Appearance varies between the sexes as the males have a distinct thick mane around their head and necks that are usually darker, almost black, than the rest of their coat. This mane serves for intimidation of rivalries as well as a symbol of health and power.
Grizzly bears are tremendously massive mammals with brownish to buff fur with silver to pale tipped hair that brings the grizzle effect. They have long straight claws that help them dig and defend against predators. They have a dish-like face, short, rounded ears, and a large powerful shoulder hump whose muscles are used to power their forelimbs through their daily routine.
Lions are predominantly larger than female lions. A full-grown male can grow up to 6-7 feet (1.8-2.1 meters) in body length excluding a 1meter tail, stand at about 3 feet (1.2 meters) at the shoulder, and weigh around 370-500 pounds (170-230 kg). Lionesses can grow to 4-5 feet (1.5 meters) with a shoulder height of 2-3 feet (0.9-1.1 meters) and achieve a weight of 264-396 pounds (120-180 kg).
Grizzlies are rather bulky with adults weighing an upward of 900 pounds (410kg) and 8 feet (2.5 meters) in body length. Males are generally heavier than females and can reach significant weights of 1700 pounds (770 kg). Grizzly bear claws can grow as long as 4 inches in length which is as long as the human finger can grow.
Lions can occupy a variety of habitats but generally prefer roaming in grasslands, savanna, and open woodlands where hunting prey is easy. They have been known to roam in Europe, Asia, and most parts of Africa, south of the Sahara.
Throughout history, grizzly bears are known to roam in the forested and open regions of western North America, from Alaska to Mexico. They remain numerous in Alaska and Canada and are prominent in many Native American legends as they depict potency and strength. They have a preference for riparian areas along rivers and streams.
Lions are nocturnal mammals who hunt mostly at night and sleep during the day. They live in territorial pride of up to about 40 members or so. Males mark the pride’s territory with urine and defend it fiercely against intruders. All of a pride’s lionesses are related, as most are siblings. Young males eventually leave the pride to establish their own by taking over pride headed by other males. Mating rights in the pride are dependent on the ability to fight off younger males as well as intruders.
On the contrary, grizzly bears are solitary animals who mark their territories by rubbing trees, scratching their backs, orbiting large chunks from tree trunks. During the summer and autumn, they accumulate large amounts of fat to protect them in winters where they hibernate in dens. During the mating season, potential males fight each other for an opportunity to mate a receptive female.
Lion roars are as loud as 114 decibels and can be heard from five miles away. They are made when angry or when expressing territorial dominance to warn off intruders. Roars can also be mating calls, made to announce the presence of a receptive female. A growl can also be made to scare away the intruders. Short, sharp snarls are produced as a sign of dominance as well. When playing together, a group of lions lets out silly noises such as puffs and hums. A lioness would grunt very softly when calling for her cubs. Other vocalizations made by lions include meows, moans, and purrs.
Grizzlies make vocalizations that resemble either a growl, huff, chomp, or bark when annoyed or agitated. Growls are usually loud, pulsing, deep-throated sounds. When fighting for mating rites, males let out bellowing noises. Adult grizzly bears let out moans when in pain while cubs scream when terrified. Huffing noises are made by scared bears when danger arises or when they nervously decide to descend from trees or stop running. Jaw popping also referred to as the clacking of teeth, is made when they feel nervous, alongside loud snorts which are a sign of anger.
Female lions are the primary hunters in pride. They prey on wildebeests, zebras, antelopes, rodents, and sometimes large-sized animals such as the Cape buffalo and hippos but with assistance from their male counterparts. In the low season, they may scavenge their food from hyenas, cheetahs, and wild dogs. When hunting, they aim for the throat and hold down prey to suffocate them.
The grizzly bear diet consists of nuts, berries, fruits, leaves, and roots. They are also carnivores and can prey on rodents, small mammals, calves of many hoofed animals, and fish.
Strength and Bite Force
Compared to other big cats, lions have a rather weak bite force of 650 pounds per square inch. However, their muscular physique quite covers up for their weak bite.
Grizzlies, on the other hand, are quite the champion choppers as their bite force of 1200 pounds per square inch is strong enough to bring down their prey and tear through the tough plant and meat material.
Lions can run fast, although in short bursts to maintain stability. They can reach top speeds of 50 miles per hour (80 km/h). While this is relatively small compared to prey such as antelopes, teamwork is a key factor while hunting.
Despite their heavyweight, grizzlies can reach speeds of up to 35 mph (56 km/h) which is considerably higher than the speed of the fastest man on the planet,25 mph (43 km/h). Therefore, in case of a bear attack, do not run because you cannot outrun a grizzly. Consider standing your ground as you avoid eye contact or creeping away stealthily.
Attack and Defense
Lions have a menacing stature and will often use this to their advantage. Also, their ability to blend in with the savannas is a top-notch trait. The thick mane protects their necks when fighting as well as the loose skin on their bellies which protects them from the frantic kicks of their prey.
Only young grizzly bears can climb trees to escape from predators. For the adults, their good set of 4-inch long appendages can do damage to an adversary or prey. Grizzlies fight while standing on hind legs and can puff their fur to appear even stockier.
Who would win?
A pound to pound combat between these two apex predators would be gruesome and brutal.
A wild male grizzly is bound to reach a weight of 1700 pounds, more than twice the weight of a full-grown male lion. Additionally, grizzlies are damned with long, deadly claws and a tremendous bite force, enough to cause substantial damage to the lion.
However, the king of the jungle is king for a reason. His ferocity and stature allow him to adamantly launch an attack even though chances are not so bright on his side. But here are the facts; no predator can withstand the grizzly bear’s swipes, not even the lion.
Moreover, not only does the grizzly bear have the size and height advantage, but he also fights on hind legs giving him a clear opportunity to launch an attack from both his paws. In contrast, lions can and will never fight with two of their paws.
More often than not, a lion cannot withstand fight a grizzly for much longer for even though they are more masculine, the grizzly bear is much, much more advantaged and would easily bring home the bacon.