Lion vs Tiger – Lion photo by Samuel Judge – Tiger photo by Captain Chickenpants

I have added a voting poll. You’ll see that the majority of people believe that tigers win!

You can also make comments freely at the base of the page if you wish. These are a true reflection on voting. Some people double voted etc but these have been removed so what is left is accurate…

Lion versus Tiger vote results July 2012

In a fight between a lion and tiger, on average the tiger is more likely to is my argument………

You disagree? Please say why in a comment. Click here to see visitors’ submissionThis submission by Leonardo in South Africa is probably the best and conclusive.

I thought I would enter the discussion on this subject. It is of interest to people as it pitches two dominant predators against each other. It is a bit like one of those cult moves, Gonzilla vs King Kong. There are videos on this subject. They are, understandably, of tigers fighting lions in captivity. They are just big cats imprisoned in relatively small spaces, which leads to scuffles, but they are not fights to the death or really serious fights. Certainly there are no winners.

It is unnatural for a lion to fight a tiger as it would not happen in the wild. The lion occupies Africa (its range is being eroded by people). It is also present in India in the Gir Forest on the west coast in small numbers.

The tiger lives in Asia, meaning India going west to Indonesia and China. Except for the Gir Forest lions, these dominant predators live thousands of miles apart. They also live in different habitats. The lion lives in woodlands, shrub, dry forest and even desert while the tiger lives in a wide range of habitats from the rainforests (e.g. Sumatran tiger) to the birch woodlands of Siberia (Siberian tiger). The lion lives in drier habitats.

If they did live in the same place they would no doubt find ways to avoid each other or at least minimize conflict. Conflict amongst equal or near equal predators is not wise as it compromises survival. The cheetah, for example, usually gives up its kill to say hyena because of the possibility of becoming injured even slightly which would severely reduce its capacity to run. And fast running is how the cheetah survives. And the humble domestic cat if he or she is an outdoor cat will try and avoid territorial disputes by marking its range (a from of communication) with scrapes and sprays.

However, at a theoretical and fun level, the only real way to figure out who would win a lion vs tiger fight (which is what people want to know, I think) is to try and work it out based on their various skills and strengths.

Lion vs Tiger..Update:

On occasions in the past lions have been forced to fight tigers. These were staged. On a more informal and far less serious nature, at the Bronx Zoo in the 1950s a lion cub called Zambezi and a young tiger named Range who were raised together faught occasionally and Range always won due to being a smarter and better fighter. In the days of the European menageries of the rich and kings (middle ages and beyond), lions were sometimes made to fight tigers. We are told that, “apparently the tigers always won….”

(Sunquist – Wild Cats Of The World -page 287 –  the premier book on the wildcats)

Update 16th Sept 2010:

There have been three very good submissions by visitors on the Lion vs Tiger debate. Here they are:

Lion vs tiger – lion wins – this is a monster page full of detail. Have a drink before you tackle this one.

Tiger would win 80% of fights with lions

The experts say the tiger wins the lion versus tiger fight

Some comments from visitors:

“I thought the lion would win but this changed my mind but I still wished the lion won. Lions all the way!!”

“As you said the tiger hunts alone…while the lion hunts in groups and this is the how it happens in nature. So there is prey like the adult elephant that the tiger can’t bring down but I saw a pack of lions kill an adult elephant. So when you say that “tigers kill any animal” it is wrong but it is correct to say that lions kill any animal. Also if they met in nature most probably the tiger would be killed because the lion always lives in a pride .. and most of time in each pride is between 1-2 male lions and sometimes 4. Also like as you said most of the time there will be no fight .. because one of them will run because of the fear of injury. And the male lion has an advantage in his shape. In the animal world external appearance is important .. the male lion has a scary appearance because of the mane. If a fight happened, the most important factor is the size and the tiger wins on this point. But as I said early, in nature tiger would most probably encounter a group of lions and he would never win because of that.”

Ahmed (from Libya) Yousef from Kuwait makes a strong case for the lion: Lion Wins nearly all the Lion vs Tiger Fights

“My favorite family of animals has always been the cat family from a young age. In the cat family, I have always liked the tiger better than the lion. I have done a report concerning this problem before, and nearly all the websites I’ve visited supported the tiger, that is with the exception of favourites. TIGERS!!!”

Cheng Ming (from China)

“I do have a comment. While, it can be generally considered that the Tiger has more qualities to deem it the winner. I think, that since both the Tiger and the Lion are closely matched up it may depend on the animal itself. For instance, if a young un-experienced tiger is placed against a naturally more agressive lion. The chances are the lion would prevail. It may come down to the animal itself and it’s behavioral characteristics coupled with experience. A lion in a zoo may not fair so well with a wild aggressive tiger. Just a thought!”

Ali (California, USA)

“Always lion wins …..u have seen that chinese fabricated videos lion has more experience than tiger so lion only wins i haved stuied the behaviour of lion and i studied the behaviour of tiger so i believe lion wins…”
Madhusudhan (Bangalore)

“Tigers can kill any animal…This is to correct an earlier statement that tigers cannot kill elephants when in fact they have been known to bring down young elephants on their own whereas it takes the whole pride of lions to take down an adult elephant. To me that further proves that the tiger would win.”

Lynnal (Zimbabwe)

  • the biggest african lion: 375 kg
  • the biggest siberian tiger: 423 kg
  • longest african lion: 270 cm (without tail)
  • longest siberian tiger: 290 cm (without tail)
  • longest jump in the distance a african lion: 10 m.
  • longest jump in the distance a siberian tiger: 9 m
  • african lion running speed: max. 80 km/h
  • siberian tiger running speed: max. 60 km/h

I think the lion would have won.

Damian (Poland)

Initially, I thought that the outcome would be a draw – but I changed my mind. In reality, however, either one would back off or the loser would have been young and inexperienced or perhaps ill. That said a comparison of factors that make each a great predator might be useful in deciding the outcome of a lion vs tiger contest.

Here is a table comparing the lion and tiger in respect of factors (I have called them “fight factors”) that might help us decide who would win in a lion vs tiger fight. This is summarized. The information comes from Wild Cats Of The World, the premier book on wild cats. Also please remember that the Sumatran tiger is the smallest tiger and the Siberian the biggest. There is more detail below the table:

Fight Factor Lion Tiger Winner – lion vs tiger
Size – weight – see Wild Cat Species by Size for a full list of wild cat sizes Max weight: 216 Kg1 Max weight: 320 Kg1 Tiger
Fighting ability “ a variety of prey….” “Tigers kill any animal…” Tiger
Climbing ability “..not particularly adept climbers…” “Tigers rarely climb trees…but can and will” Tiger
Swimming ability “quite capable swimmers…” “Tigers swim well….” Tiger
Jumping ability “..jump fences 2-3 metres high..” “Jumping ability well developed..” Draw
Bite strength bite force quotient (BFQ) = 112 bite force quotient (BFQ)= 127 Tiger
What the experts say tigers are favoured over a lion – 75% of experts favor the tiger – source: National Geographic Tiger

Video – lion vs tiger

I don’t really believe in any video of a lion versus tiger fight. They are going to be artificial as these cats never normally meet each other in the wild.

Climbing ability

Climbing ability indicates athleticism and cats are generally skilled climbers. Forest dwelling cats are better climbers than ground living cats. The tiger is more of a forest dwelling cat I think it fair to say, although habitats for both are wide. (see the master climbers: Margay and Clouded leopard).

The tiger has demonstrated some impressive climbing skills that are recalled in Wild Cats Of The World by the Sunquists:

  1. A tiger raced up a tree pulling down a person who was doing research. He was 4.6 metres of the ground (15 feet).
  2. Adult tiger climbs smooth barked tree to 10 metres (32 feet).

Lions when young can be “quite good climbers”.

Jumping ability

The tiger can jump (at a maximum it seems) from 8 to 10 metres (10 metres = 32 feet). More typically they jump around 4-5 metres. Lions have been observed to jump fences 2-3 metres high.

Fighting ability – Tiger vs Dogs

Tigers are generally the dominant predator (the authors, the Sunquists, of Wild Cats Of The World say). So they are not always on top. And a pack of wild dogs although only weighing 20 kg each can overcome a tiger and kill it. Here are two dramatic and sad descriptions of such events.

Dholes or Asiatic wild dogs – photo by yathin

A pack of 22 Asiatic wild dogs or dholes drove a tiger into a dried stream. The tiger protected his back with a tree. The dogs attacked and were repelled by the tiger. Five dogs were killed or badly injured and the tiger was badly hurt in this first attack. The tiger’s ears were torn, its body cut and an eye was closed. The dogs harassed the tiger for one hour and attacked again. The tiger repelled the attack but was hurt more. The third attack killed the tiger. Twelve dogs were killed and many others badly wounded.

In another wild dog attack on a tiger in southern India the following happened. The pack of dogs attacked the tigress from different angles and the tigress gradually became tired. The tigress in desperation at hearing more dogs arriving charged at two of the dogs and killed one with a swipe of its paw. The dog’s spine cracked like a whip. The tigress escaped but was eventually torn to bits about five miles away by the full pack of wild dogs.

Both are excellent examples of the hugely courageous and fierce fighting ability of the tiger. The tiger has been described as, “more of a wrestler than a runner..”. And it is built to pull down prey several times its own size.

Now to the lion, which is equally as courageous and as dynamic a fighter. Perhaps a useful comparison would be of the size of prey these two big cats hunt and pull down. This may help in assessing a lion vs tiger fight but it is a rather vague guide. Note: the prey that is available is a factor in this assessment.

Lion vs Tiger Maximum weights of prey in Kilograms Winner
Lion Giraffes (716)
Hippos (500)
Buffalo (500)
Cape Buffalo (600 – 900)
Tiger Average weight of tiger kills (Nagarahole National Park) was 401 kgs including several at 1000 kilograms (estimated). Moose killed by tigers weigh between 500 – 820 kgs Tiger – just
A visitor made this point:“I would like to mention that lions usually hunt in groups and single lions would have a lot of trouble with any of the animals listed in the prey (especially hippos). Alone, they can only take down smaller prey such as wildebeest (max ~300 kg) and, if they can catch them, antelope and gazelles.”Comment: This supports the tiger in a lion vs tiger fight, I would have thought.

Note: the tiger probably just wins this round! But this is not a very scientific assessment. And it is very close. Also lions hunt in groups and alone, which complicates this comparison. Also lions and tigers get killed by large prey. For example, the water buffalo and gaur can and do kill attacking tigers.

Both lion and tiger hunt and kill very large animals but also eat small animals. Lions regularly catch antelope fawns.

What Do Lions Eat.

Bite Strength

This is a comparison of bite strengths for various animals. The bite strength or force listed here takes into account the size of the animal so it is a direct and fair comparison (i.e. a compensation for animal size is built in). In a lion vs tiger test of bite force, the tiger wins – just.

Animal BFQ
Tasmanian devil 181
African hunting dog 142
clouded leopard 137
grey wolf 136
tiger 127
cheetah 119
lion 112
cougar 108
bobcatsee hybrids 100
brown bear 78
cat 58

Swimming ability

The lion has been observed swimming across the Okavango river and other major rivers.

Okavango river Africa – photo by rishon-lezion

The tiger swims well and probably is more water orientated than the lion living as it does in wetter climates. Tigers have been observed swimming to islands in the Sunda Straights (Wild Cats Of The World). The Sunda straight has tidal currents of more than 4 kilometres per hour. It is between Sumatra and Java.

Of the more major islands in this straight, Pulau Legundi is about 2.2 miles from the mainland and another island, Pulau Sebuku is about 5 miles from the mainland. However there are smaller islands that are much nearer at an estimated 300 yards to just under a mile from the mainland. This, though, is very impressive swimming for a cat! This is the sea not a river. See map below:

Sunda straight – Lion vs Tiger – Wikipedia commons – author ChrisO

Tiger out swims the lion

Sunda Straight – photo by soulsurfer3

In a lion vs tiger contest the tiger out swims the lion.

Conclusion: Tiger wins a lion vs tiger fighting contest.

Note: 1. Wild Cats of the World by Mel and Fiona Sunquist

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page…

Lion Versus Tiger Bite Force
Bite Force – New bite force research, done by Animal Planet, reveals that the tiger has a much stronger bite force that the lion. The lion has a bite …

This is kinda funny…
I won’t lie to you; I am not an expert, in fact, I’m only a senior in high school. BUT, I HAVE taken many courses in Biology and I’ve read my fare share …

Lion is a better fighter than a tiger
In most video that I have seen between lions & tigers (with the exception of biased edited video), the lion wins! Tigers are great cats second only to …

Tiger vs Lion : Who would win?
A lion would win 60% of the lion vs tiger fights. These are my reasons. It’s quite a strong subject matter to bring up, but seeing as many people …

Two visitors say lion would beat tiger in a fight
A tiger is king in the his jungle but the lion is king of all beasts. After all the Panthera Leo Persica invaded Bengal tiger territory. Lion’s bite for …

Jesus the Lion of Judah
In a hypothetical lion versus tiger fight , I do not believe the Tiger would win… Your expert picks are not accurate. During Tiger week on Animal …

Tigers would win 80% of fights with lions
This article is good, no doubt about it, but I would like to say that taking into consideration the average weights of lion and the tiger would be better …

Lion vs Tiger: Your facts don’t match the experts
The first thing is there is no way to truly compare the two because of all the the sub-species, the largest of tigers are bigger than the the largest lions….

I say a lion beats a tiger in a fight
Most articles are biased towards tigers. I prefer tigers to lions but looks and size are not going to win a fight for you. I love tigers but there is no …

A Lion Wins in Lion Versus Tiger Fight
Hello to all lion vs tiger fans, here are some reasons that attest that a male lion is a winner in 9 of 10 fights (comparing African lion to any type of …

Lion Wins nearly all the Lion vs Tiger Fights
I don’t agree at all with you…it seems that you show so much wrong information. And you believe the Chinese who fabricated so many video tapes to prove …

Lions could easily defeat a Tiger in a fight to the death
There’s no doubt that Lions could easily defeat a Tiger in a fight to the death – if both opponents were of equal stability at beginning of fight. It …

Your Lion Versus Tiger Assessment is Rubbish
If these two predators did ever meet in the wild the lion would win as they live in a pride and tigers are solitary. As for the prey table there has been …

All things being equal a lion will win all lion vs tiger fights
Lion would almost always win against tigers. This was true in the Roman period. In fact, there was only one recorded case of a tiger defeating a lion in …

The tiger will win every time it faces a lion
Tigers are more skilled hunters than lions. Tigers can bring down large preys alone whereas, it takes several lionesses to do the same. So, even …

Lions Wins No Question in Lion vs Tiger
A friend of mine is a zoo keeper and i personaly study both animals . The male fully grown fully maned african lion has no equal.He is the best …

Lion wins with Tiger of same size
I agree the Tiger is (Siberian) probably one of the top 3 predators on the planet. A big male Siberian will way over 600 pounds and I think because of …

The experts say the tiger wins a tiger vs lion fight
Hey there people, we can debate all day long, but the truth hurts.. for lion fans. I have emailed various experts, wildlife research institutes, zoos,…

Lion vs Tiger article is well researched
I just got done watching the Animal Planet show Animal Face-off: Lion Vs. Tiger, and the program was so off the wall, they did not take into account things …

Historically Lions Nearly Always Win Fights with Tigers
Historically lions nearly always win fights with tigers and other large species. Historical documents prove this time and time again. Although tigers …

Tiger versus Lion
Ok, well if there were to be a fight between a full grown male Siberian tiger, and a full grown male African lion, I would say the tiger would claim victory….

Tiger vs Lion fight – who is the winner?
Answer of scientist: the male Tiger vs male Lion – 90% chance the tiger is winner because the tiger is bigger and stronger than lion.The weight …

Lion vs Tiger – This is a Great Article
I know everyone that has posted here has written that the lion is the stronger and therefore the winner, but I have to tell you the truth. The tiger would …

Lion vs tiger – the most recent account happened in a Turkish Zoo!
Who’s the king of the jungle? Who would win the lion versus tiger fight? An old question about inter-species conflict has, unfortunately, been answered …

Lion – Person vs Person Conflict Not rated yet
People disagree about the lion vs tiger debate. This is classic.

Lion vs Tiger – Lion wins most times Not rated yet
In this debate I’m going to cover just basic’s on the lion, we don’t need to cover attribute’s of minor weight and power because they are basically anatomically …

Tiger all the way! Not rated yet
Tiger won almost every time when they fight against lions. Now, I’m gonna tell you the main trick.  I have read in books that tigers have good jumping …

Lions are always at the top even when they lose Not rated yet
Most tiger fans make me laugh: they are ignorant. Mostly are Chinese and/or Asians whom they never saw a male African lion in a fight. The size of the …

Lion wins in a lion versus tiger fight Not rated yet
In my opinion the staged Korean and Chinese fights are just that, staged by either fighting young, ill and underfed lions. Having lived there this is not …

A male lion will always fight to protect the pride Not rated yet
I don’t agree with your argument that a tiger will win a lion versus tiger fight. You seem to miss some fundamental points. The female lions do all of …

The male lion would easily kill a tiger Not rated yet
A friend of mine is a lion trainer at Marine World in Vallejo, CA. where they have lots of tigers and lions. They work with each day. I asked him if …

Lion Would Win Most Conflicts With A Tiger Not rated yet
I like the debate, the truth is tigers would likely avoid conflict, while lions would start one. Tigers are heavier & stronger but not larger and faster,…

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts

Should I get a covered litter box?

The general consensus is that you should not get a covered litter box. Although I…

6 hours ago

What kind of water bowl is best for cats?

The kind of water bowl that is best for cats is either glass, ceramic or…

11 hours ago

Substantial number of people give Covid-19 to their companion animals

There have been a few studies on this subject unsurprisingly. It is obviously highly pertinent…

15 hours ago

People prevented from feeding stray cats in the UK

This is an extraordinary development as far as I am concerned. Councils in the UK…

15 hours ago

I can feel my cat’s spine when I pet him

If you can feel your cat's spine when you pet him, he might be underweight.…

2 days ago


The title is in Japanese. It means: 7 shironeko (7 white cats)...which is not true…

2 days ago