Rhino vs Triceratops: Who Would Win in a Fight?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: November 24, 2023
Share on:

Advertisement


Many types of monstrous animals have walked the earth. Dinosaurs, like members of the Triceratops genus, were the largest land animals to ever roam the planet. Today, the world still has a few lumbering giants, like the rhinoceros. How would a modern giant match up against an ancient one? Discover the outcome of a rhino vs Triceratops fight and learn which animal would win the battle and why.

Of course, these animals cannot meet in real life, so we’re going to use information about them to determine which one has the highest chance of winning.

Comparing a Rhino and a Triceratops

RhinoTriceratops
SizeWeight: 1,765 to 7,700 pounds
Height: 4 to 6.3 feet at the shoulder
Length: 11 to 15 feet
Weight: 12,000 to 20,000 pounds
Height: 9 to 10 feet
Length: 25 to 30 feet
Speed20 to 35 mph20 mph
Defenses– Large, thickly built bodies
– Thick skin up to 2 inches thick
– Reasonable speed to flee over short distances
– Massive body
– Strong musculature and thick bones to resist damage
Offensive Capabilities– Has a horn measuring from 8 to 30 inches depending on the species
– Some species have two horns, such as the black rhino
– Tramples and gores enemies
– Powerful bite of 1,000 PSI  
– Two large horns on its brow measuring 3 to 4 feet long used to gore enemies
– Has an additional horn on its snout measuring up to 1 foot long
– Could use its speed and weight to knock over and then trample prey
Predatory Behavior– Herbivorous creature, so it has no prey drive    – Herbivorous creature that did not hunt prey
– Most likely practiced its horn-clashing attacks against other members of its species

What Are 2 Key Differences Between a Rhino and a Triceratops?

Southern White Rhinoceros grazing the fields of Africa

Rhinos are much smaller and have fewer horns compared to a Triceratops.

©Hanlie Krause/Shutterstock.com

Two of the key differences between a rhino and a Triceratops include their size and the placement of their horns. The Triceratops is far larger than the rhino, weighing between 12,000 and 20,000 pounds compared to the rhinoceros, which weighs from 1,700 to 7,700 pounds, depending on their species. The Triceratops grew up to 30 feet long and stood up to 10 feet tall, but the largest rhinos only measure about 15 feet long and 6.3 feet tall.

Meanwhile, the Triceratops has three horns, two on its brow and one on its snout. Rhinos can have one or two horns on their snouts, depending on their species. These differences will influence the fight a great deal, as we’ll show below.

What Are the Key Factors in a Fight Between a Rhino and a Triceratops?

Rhino, Dust, Running, Charge

A charging rhino can take down many animals, including lions.

©Corrie Barnard/Shutterstock.com

Similar to most other animal fights, the hypothetical battle between a rhino and a Triceratops would depend on their attack methods, size, speed, defenses, and predatory behavior. This section will examine each of the creatures through the lens of those elements, determine which has the advantage, and then use that data to discover which animal would win the fight.

Rhino vs Triceratops: Size

Triceratopses are larger than rhinos by quite a bit. Scientists believe that members of the Triceratops genus could weigh as much as 20,000 pounds, stand 10 feet tall, and grow up to 30 feet long! They were massive creatures. Rhinos are very large compared to most land animals today. They can weigh up to 7,700 pounds, stand 6.3 feet tall at the shoulder, and grow about 15 feet long.

Triceratops has the advantage in terms of overall size.  

Rhino vs Triceratops: Speed

The average rhino is speedier than its size would suggest. A rhino can hit a top speed of 35 mph over short distances. While we do not know the dinosaur’s speed for certain, scientists believe that Triceratops could have moved at speeds of 20 mph.

The rhino has the speed advantage in this fight.  

Rhino vs Triceratops: Defenses

Both rhinos and Triceratopses rely on their massive body size to keep them safe. Few animals will want to go toe-to-toe with an animal that weighs thousands of pounds and is taller than many others. In this respect, though, the Triceratops is superior. The rhino has extra-thick skin and strong bones, and the same can be said for the Triceratops. The only difference is the dinosaur was much, much larger.

The advantage the rhino has in terms of overall defense is its speed since it can run away at about 15 mph faster than a Triceratops.

A Triceratopses has the defensive advantage.

Rhino vs Triceratops: Offensive Capabilities

Triceratops were herbivores, but they could still fight very well. They would have used their three horns, two on their head and one on their snout, to gore their foes. The two horns on their heads could have been anywhere between 3 and 4 feet long, while the horn on their snout would have been about 1 foot long.

Combined with their size and speed, these dinosaurs may have charged their enemies, clashing with them and driving them to the ground. The Triceratops would have then stomped and stabbed their attackers. Scientists believe that Triceratops fought other members of their species, possibly for status or for access to food.

Rhinos are no pushovers, though. They have one or two horns depending on the species. Their horns are only about 8 to 30 inches long, so between half a foot and a foot and a half shorter than the horns belonging to a Triceratops. They can charge, gore, and trample animals that try to attack them.

While their attack methods were similar, the Triceratops had more raw power and bigger weapons.

The triceratops had the offensive advantage.

Rhino vs Triceratops: Predatory Behavior

Neither the Triceratops nor the rhino have predatory behaviors. Both of these creatures are herbivores, so it would not occur to the animals to hunt others.

The rhino and triceratops are tied in terms of predatory behavior.

Who Would Win in a Fight Between a Rhino and a Triceratops?

Triceratops horridus, screaming dinosaur isolated with shadow on white background (3d illustration)

Triceratops had a long bony frill with three horns on their skull.

©Dotted Yeti/Shutterstock.com

A triceratops would win a fight against a rhino. The size disparity between these two creatures would be just too great for the rhino to survive an onslaught from a Triceratops. In the most likely scenario, a Triceratops would charge the rhino, knock it down, and deliver powerful strikes with its horns and feet until the rhino was finished. The rhino’s thick skin and powerful bones might allow it to survive for a time, but it would not be enough to save its life.  

However, the rhino does have one potential way to end the fight without dying: run away. The rhino is faster than the Triceratops. Although these beasts are not accustomed to running from fights, they might get the idea that fleeing from something so dangerous is the smart way out of the fight. Since the rhino can outpace the Triceratops, at least in theory, the rhino could escape with its life but still lose the fight.

Any way we look at it, the Triceratops is the victor in this fight.  

The photo featured at the top of this post is © ALLVISIONN/iStock via Getty Images


Share on:
About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.