A-z - Animals

Bears vs Lions: Who will win the fight?

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key point

  • The chances of a bear and a lion meeting and attacking each other in the wild are almost non-existent because neither predator is in the same range.
  • Bears can weigh up to 990 pounds and stand 9.5 feet tall. Lions, on the other hand, can only weigh 550 pounds and reach 8.2 feet.
  • Bears have a bite force of 1200 psi, almost double the lion's 650 psi. However, other factors such as age, health and vitality, and even social structure may also have played a role in the final outcome of a battle between two top predators.

Bears and lions are known to be the most ferocious predators on earth. Interestingly, they do not share scope. Lions live mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, while bears live in North America, Europe and parts of Asia. Still, we wondered what would happen if these two top predators went up against each other in a bear-versus-lion battle.

Since we have no records of such fights in the wild, we'll have to rely on available data on the two carnivores to determine who is most likely to win. Fortunately, we have all the information we need to make educated hypotheses about which mammal emerged victorious.

Comparing Bears and Lions

bear vs lion
Bears and lions are two predatory mammals, but bears are bigger and heavier.

© AZ-Animals.com

Bear lion
size Weight: 60 lbs – 990 lbs Height: 2' to 5' at the withers, standing up to 9' tall.
Length: 4.5ft – 9.5ft
Weight: 264 lbs – 550 lbs Length: 4.7 ft – 8.2 ft
speed and movement type – 25-35 mph -35 mph (up to 50 mph in very short bursts)
– Dash enemies
Bite Force and Teeth – 1200 PSI Max Bite Force – 2-3 Inch Teeth – Teeth allow bears to bite, shake and punch. -650 PSI Bite Force
-30 teeth, including up to four 4-inch canines
the senses – Some bears can smell from miles away – Hearing twice as good as humans – Good eyesight, some bears see better at dusk. – Amazing déjà vu, especially night vision.
– Good sense of smell to be able to smell the markings of other lions
– Good hearing allows them to hear prey from miles away.
defense – large size
– speed of escape
– Intense threat display
– Ability to travel across land and water – can climb trees to escape combat
– Take pride in digital security
– large size
– Can run away from enemies quickly
offensive ability – Powerful bone-breaking bite – sharp claws can tear apart prey
– Overwhelming Enemy Weight – Ability to stand up and allow their weight to overwhelm quadrupeds causing them to fall to the ground.
– Sharp claws to tear enemies apart – Claw strikes deliver powerful and stunning strikes – Powerful bite to tear bones and rip apart prey.
predatory behavior – In some cases ambushes a predator, waiting for prey – Opportunistic predators that chase and kill prey – usually with a forceful bite on the throat to ensure the kill. – Primarily stalking and pouncing on opponents – Use groups to take down prey

Key Factors in a Bear and Lion Fight

The animal with the strongest bite - the grizzly bear
A bear vs lion fight will depend on overall strength and hunting ability.

©Scott E Read/Shutterstock.com

A bear versus lion fight will come down to several broad factors, such as the physical makeup of each animal and their ability to fight other animals. We've prepared a checklist of seven different elements that will come into play in determining which of these animals is most likely to win over the other.

Consider the body parts of bears and lions and the ways they hunt and defeat their prey.

Physical Characteristics of Bears and Lions

how long do lions live
Both the lion and the bear run at 35 miles per hour and are over 8 feet long.

©Stephanie Periquet/Shutterstock.com

Both bears and lions are quadrupeds with many differences in their physical characteristics. We've established that elements such as size, strength, and senses will play an important role in helping one person conquer another and become a top predator's predator.

The Bear and the Lion: Size

Humans have weight classes for combat sports because size and weight play such a role in helping one animal successfully attack another. In the wild, there are no weight classes. Bears can weigh up to 900 pounds or more and can stand 9 feet tall when they stand on two feet, as they often do in battle. The largest bear ever recorded was the polar bear, weighing 2,209 pounds.

Lions can weigh up to 550 pounds and grow up to 8 feet long. The largest lion ever recorded weighed 827 pounds.

In this case, bears gain a size advantage.

The Bear and the Lion: Speed and Movement

Both lions and bears are fast land animals. The sprinting lion can reach speeds of 50 mph in short bursts. A bear can reach the same speed, but it cannot maintain maximum speed like a lion.

The Lions have the advantage in speed.

Bears and Lions: Bite Force and Teeth

Bears and lions rely primarily on bites to deliver fatal blows to their prey. The bear has a powerful 1,200PSI bite force that can drive 3 inches of its teeth into an enemy. Lions have a weak bite at 650PSI, but their canines can be up to 4 inches long!

Bears benefit from bite force as it is almost twice as powerful as lions.

The Bear and the Lion: The Senses

As predators, bears have amazing senses that help them find and kill their prey. Their sense of smell is so well developed that they can sniff out food from miles away. Their hearing is twice as good as humans', and their vision gets better at dusk, when many other animals are vulnerable.

Lions have amazing eyesight and a good sense of smell at night. They can hear some prey from miles away.

Lions have slightly better senses overall, so they have the sensory advantage.

Bears and Lions: Physical Defense

Bears believe their large size and frightening threat displays are able to keep predators at bay, and they are very successful. They can also increase their speed to evade combat.

Lions can run away from predators with great speed, remain proud, and rely on their threat displays to deter enemies.

All in all, physical defense is a tie for these two animals.

Bear and Lion Fighting Techniques

What Grizzly Eats - Eat Salmon
Like lions, bears are effective ambush predators.


Having a strong body is only one aspect of being a successful fighter. Experience, attack ability and hunting ability are also important in this predator battle. Think of the fighting skills of a lion and a bear.

Bears and Lions: Offensive Power

Both the bear and the lion deliver the fatal blow with their teeth. Lions can wrap and dig enemies with the claws of their front legs, crushing them under their own weight while biting and clawing at their prey.

Bears can slay enemies with powerful claw strikes, razor-sharp claw scratches, and extremely powerful bites. Both have similar offensive capabilities, but the Bears are much stronger.

The Bears have the edge in terms of offensive ability.

Bears and Lions: Predatory Behavior

Bears are carnivores and use a variety of methods to attack and kill unsuspecting enemies. They wait near the water for prey such as polar bears and seals. Sometimes, they go to feast on prey bottlenecks, such as during a salmon run. Other times, they are opportunistic predators that will kill anything that happens to smell.

Lions are ambush predators, relying on stalking and pouncing on their opponents, weakening their enemies with a decisive bite before killing them. In a protracted battle, they consume their foes with claws, bites, and time.

What is the main difference between a bear and a lion?

Types of Lions - Running Lions
Bears are longer, heavier, and taller than lions, and bears fight on two legs, while lions fight on four.

©Blue Slate Films/Shutterstock.com

Bears are omnivores, weighing over 900 pounds and standing 9 feet tall on two legs in combat, and lions are carnivores, weighing about 500 pounds and reaching 8 feet in length. For the most part, both mammals are top predators in their ranges, and adults rarely fall victim to other mammals.

Other notable differences include that bears can stand on two legs for short periods of time, and that lions have an extra layer of protection for their necks in the form of manes.

Who will win in a fight between a bear and a lion?

Polar Bear vs Grizzly - Battle of Two Grizzlies
Bears will prove themselves the ultimate predator by defeating lions in battle.

©Alexandra Giese/Shutterstock.com

The bear will win the fight with the lion. The Bears have the advantage in almost every area, from size to offensive ability. The only chance the lion has of winning is if it manages to sneak up on a bear, jump on it and bite its head with such force that it shatters the skill.

A more likely scenario is that the two will become aware of the other's proximity, causing the enemy to clash. A bear will lift both feet, while a lion will attack the vulnerable belly and legs.

The lion's initial bite certainly did some damage, but it wasn't fast enough to get away without being injured. A bear can strike a lion with devastating claws and claws, and then bite, causing serious injury.

The fight may not be over anytime soon, but the lion will take far more damage than it can inflict. In the end, the bear will get hurt, but the lion will die. Of course, a pride of lions can certainly beat a pride of bears alone.

Social Organization Issues

two male lions
Lions are social by nature and tend to hunt or attack rivals in packs to increase the likelihood of success

©Maryke Scheun/Shutterstock.com

The above results are based on the results of a bear versus a lion. It's worth noting, however, that bears are generally solitary, while lions are more gregarious and tend to roam around in packs or even packs. In this case, winning may simply be a matter of lifestyle. As a bear's confidence in victory is likely to be lost in the presence of three adult males, or even the pride of a lion backed by four lionesses. While it's likely that the Bears won't go down without a fight, or that heavy casualties could occur, in the latter case the victory will likely go to the Lions and their supporters only.

Another animal that can take down bears: Bears vs. jaguars

In a fight, the Jaguars would lose to the Grizzlies. Jaguars lack the attack strategy needed to take down grizzlies. We're not sure the big cat would have been able to bite through all layers of hair, flesh, and fat to deliver a lethal, crushing blow to a grizzly bear's massive skull, even if the fight took place from an ambush.

Instead, a jaguar will undoubtedly attack and cause damage. The biggest challenge for a grizzly is getting close to a big cat, and this beast will solve it inadvertently.

By pinning down the Jaguars, the Grizzlies will turn the tide and launch a brutal attack. It can try to escape by biting the cat's neck and back.

While it would be an interesting fight, it's unlikely the two animals will go head-to-head.


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