Bear vs Elephant: Who Would Win in a Fight?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: December 29, 2021
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Bears and elephants are two interesting creatures that have a reputation for being tough in a fight. However, if we were to pit a bear vs elephant, who would win? The question is fair to ask. After all, bears and elephants both live in some areas together, such as India and other parts of Southern Asia. Since we’re looking at the question of how a bear would fare in a fight against an elephant, we figured it would only be fair to amalgamate the bear species, picking the best features of each to see how they would do against the elephant.

We’ve gathered all the information we need to figure out which of these creatures would make it out from a fight alive, and we’re going to share it with you here. Discover if a bear stands a chance against an elephant!

Comparing a Bear and an Elephant

Bear vs elephant
Elephants weigh up to 12,000lbs and grow to 12 feet tall while bears weigh 900lbs and stand about 5ft tall!

A-Z-Animals.com

BearElephant
SizeWeight: 60lbs – 990lbs
Height: 2ft – 5ft at shoulder, up to 9 ft standing.
Length: 4.5ft – 9.5 ft
Weight: 6,500lbs – 12,000lbs
Height: 7ft – 12ft at the shoulder Length: 18ft – 21ft
Speed and Movement Type25-35 mph  9-25 mph
– Capable of charging
Bite Power and Teeth1200 PSI bite power at maximum
– 2-3-inch teeth
– Teeth allow for bears to bite down, shake, and maul.
-Elephants have weak teeth and do not use them for defense.
Senses– Some bears can smell from several miles away
– Hearing twice as good as humans
– Good vision and some bears can see better at dusk.
– Great hearing
– Poor vision
Can sniff out food miles away  
Defenses– Large size
– Speed to run away
– Fierce threat displays
– Ability to traverse land and water
-Climbing ability
– Massive size scares away predators as an adult.
– Tough skin
Offensive Capabilities– Powerful, bone-breaking bites
– Sharp claws that can tear open prey
– Weight to pin down enemies    
– Tusks can impale enemies
–  Devastating stomp attacks
– Can use head and trunk to tip enemies over
– High intelligence makes them wary of others and careful.
Predatory Behavior– Ambush predator in some cases, waiting for prey
– Opportunistic predator that pursues and kills prey
– Typically secures a kill with a single, powerful bite to the throat.  
– Non-predator but will fiercely attack encroachers
– Grazes for much of the day

The Key Factors in a Fight Between a Bear and an Elephant

Polar Bear vs Grizzly - Two Grizzlies Battle
A fight between these animals boils down to their strength, size, and how they attack others.

What determines if one animal or another is successful in a fight? When it comes to a battle between a bear and an elephant, we have to consider their physical components and how they use their bodies in combat. Not every creature knows how to fend off predators well enough even if they are quite large.

To compare these mammals, we considered seven factors that would contribute to a victory over the other.

Physical Features of Bears and Elephants

What do grizzly bears eat - eating a salmon
Bears can weigh 900lbs-plus and run over 30mph.

DPS/Shutterstock.com

Examining the bodies of a bear and an elephant will tell us a great deal about which one stands the best chance to win a fight. We have prepared several different points of comparison for these two mammals that will show which one has the edge in many facets of physicality.

Bear vs Elephant: Size

A fully grown bear can reach tremendous sizes. The largest bears can stand 5 feet tall and weigh as much as 900 pounds or more. However, an elephant is a much larger creature that regularly weighs over 10,000 pounds and stands 12 feet tall at the shoulder.

The elephant is much larger than the bear and gets the advantage here.  

Bear vs Elephant: Speed  

Elephants are large, but they are also swift. Elephants can reach speeds of 25mph when they are running full tilt, often at potential predators. Bears vary in their speed, with some reaching 25mph and others running up to 35mph.

The bear is a faster animal and gets the advantage in this case.

Bear vs Elephant: Bite Power and Teeth

The elephant only bites to chew its food, various plant matter. It has no serious biting power. However, bears have very strong bites, with the strongest being 1,200PSI, among the most powerful bites on the planet. Combined with their 3-inch teeth and ability to clamp down and thrash enemies around, a bear has a very powerful bite.

The bear has the advantage in its bite power.  

Bear vs Elephant: Senses

Elephants can hear very well, and they can smell even better. That means they can tell when a predator is coming for the most part, but their vision isn’t the best. Bears can smell, see, and hear well, better than humans in all the senses.

Bears have the advantage in terms of senses.

Bear vs Elephant: Physical Defenses

Elephants and bears both rely on their large size to keep others away. They’re also both speedy animals that can outrun a lot of trouble.

However, bears can climb and swim quickly, and that is why they have the defensive advantage.

Combat Skills of Bears and Elephants

Animals With the Toughest Skin-elephant
Elephants rely on their tusks and weigh to attack predators.

iStock.com/Ondrej Prosicky

Having a strong body and knowing how to use it are two different things. Some animals have better fighting instincts and abilities than others. Take a look at how the elephant and bears measure up to each other in combat skills.

Bear vs Elephant: Offensive Capabilities

The elephant does not go on the attack very often. When they do, it’s deadly. They can charge, knock down, stomp, and gore their enemies.

Bears can use their claws, powerful swats with their paws, and insanely powerful bites to kill their foes.

Both creatures have a lot of ways to attack, so we’re going to leave this point at a tie.

Bear vs Elephant: Predatory Behaviors

Elephants are somewhat docile creatures that spend most of their day grazing. They do not like to be bothered by others. As such, they do not have any predator behaviors.

Bears are apex predators in many of their environments, hunting and killing all sorts of creatures. Sometimes their attacks come in the form of an ambush, and other times they chase down an enemy in a more blatant fashion.

Either way, bears get the edge in terms of predatory behaviors.  

What Are Key Differences Between a Bear and an Elephant?

Black Bear Population by State
Bears and elephants are both mammals, but the bear is much smaller and lighter than an elephant.

iStock.com/christiannafzger

An elephant is an herbivore that weighs up to 12,000 pounds and stands 12 feet tall, and a bear is a carnivore that weighs up to 900 pounds and stands about 5 feet tall. Bears are aggressive predators that tend to hunt solo while elephants are territorial herd animals. They’re both mammals that have a range that overlaps in Asia, but that is where the similarities end.

Who Would Win in a Fight Between a Bear and an Elephant?

elephant close up in a field
An elephant would easily win a fight against a bear.

David Steele/Shutterstock.com

An elephant would beat a bear in a fight. Even though we have granted this hypothetical bear the best features of all the various species, the fact remains that they cannot do enough damage to kill an adult elephant.

A fully grown bull elephant would most likely smell or hear a bear coming long before it showed up. Even if it sprinted at the elephant at 35mph, the bear can’t charge and overwhelm or otherwise get into a position where its claws or teeth would do fatal damage to a creature the size of an elephant. It might bite and scratch the stomach or “shoulders” of the elephant, but that would leave it vulnerable to a nasty attack.

The only result of this fight would be the elephant knocking over the bear and then goring it severely while throwing it through the air. The end result would be an elephant with a few new scars and a badly defeated bear at its feet.

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About the Author

I am a freelancer specializing in SEO content writing. I write in a variety of niches such as video games, animals, and managed service providers. I've been writing full-time since 2018, so I've been doing remote work before it was cool. When I'm not working, I can be found reading, trying to catch up on my tv show backlog, playing video games, and starting stories that I'll never finish.

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