Gorilla vs. Kodiak Bear

by Thomas Kummer

The Debate of the Century

There are some things in life that are just blatantly black and white, like evolutionism vs. creationism, and penguins, but there is one debate that may never be settled as long as humans are alive.  In theory, if a full grown kodiak bear were to fight a mature silverback gorilla in a battle to the death, who would win?  

The kodiak bear is a subspecies of brown bear that lives in the kodiak archipelago of southwest Alaska, and is known to be the largest of the brown bear species.  Kodiaks can weigh as much as 1,500 pounds and grow to be over ten feet tall.  The bears are regarded as the largest known carnivores on the planet, however, most of their diet consists of berries and grass.  To that end, their killer instincts may be severely lacking.


Over the past 75 years, only one person every other year is injured by a kodiak bear, and there has only been one reported death.  On the other hand, one hundred and eighty bears are killed each year under strict hunting regulations, and a kill/death ratio of 0.000074 won’t cut it in a gladiator fight.


Gorillas are native to Central Africa and are currently an endangered species, with only around 300 mountain gorillas remaining in the wild.  Eating a mainly herbivorous diet comprised of leaves and fruit, with some small animals like caterpillars and ants, these beasts have small hind legs, and an extremely large upper body.  Just imagine John Cena and the Rock went on steroids, combined their upper body, and multiplied it by two, then you’ll get what an average silverback gorilla looks like.  

Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo

In the years since Jane Goodall started to study Mountain Gorillas, no humans have been murdered but many are injured every year in zoo accidents like the famous case of Harambe at the Cincinnati Zoo.  Gorillas are known to be smart and have been observed to use simple tools as well as have a primitive language to communicate and teach.  

For a fair fight, both animals would need to be out of their natural habitats and in an aggressive mood.  A gorilla and a bear, starved for three days are flown in by helicopter to The Coliseum in Rome for a ferocious death match.  A hungry bear will need a meal and they have been known to kill under extreme circumstances.  A gorilla on the other hand only eats small animals, nothing larger than a mouse.  When threatened, the Gorilla will stand and beat his chest to ward off lesser opponents, never going to full attack mode.  A bear will not be easily deterred, especially one unfed for three days.  

Although I’ve always believed in my heart that the gorilla would win a closely-contested match, the facts tell otherwise.

Proportionately, a bear fighting a gorilla would be like a toddler trying to wrestle with a 250 pound grown man. No matter how much smarter the ape is, a bear is just too big.

Final Prediction:
Kodiak Bear wins in 3 minutes and 28 seconds.


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