Chimpanzee vs. Gorilla: Who Would Win in a Fight?

Silverbacks Fight
© CXI/Shutterstock.com

Written by Kyle Glatz

Published: November 25, 2023

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Gorillas are the world’s largest non-human primates, especially the eastern gorilla. Chimpanzees are another species of primate that lives in the tropical areas of Africa. Both mammals are mostly peaceful toward each other, but recent news stories have shown several skirmishes have occurred between the species at Loango National Park. So, who wins in a one-on-one chimpanzee vs. gorilla fight? We’re going to compare the two species on an individual basis and determine which animal is most likely to win a battle.

Although this battle has occurred in the wild, it’s only hypothetical. We’re not celebrating the fact that these primates fight, only showing what can happen if they clash.

Comparing a Chimpanzee and a Gorilla

chimpanzee vs. gorilla
ChimpanzeeGorilla
SizeWeight: 57 to 150 pounds
Height: 3.25 to 5 feet tall
Weight: 200 to 400 pounds
Height: from 4.4 to 5.5 feet
Speed– up to 25 mph– up to 25 mph
Defenses– Smart animals that know how to identify danger
– Usually live in groups to reduce individual threats
– Can climb trees to escape danger
– Not much in the way of physical defenses compared to other animals
– Has a large, powerful body that can take damage
– Fierce territorial display can dissuade attackers
– Good senses to help them identify danger
– Has enough speed to escape immediate threats
Offensive Capabilities– Roughly 1.35 times as strong as a person
– Intelligence to know where to strike to maximize damage
– Use their strong grip and hands to grab and tear at weak spots on their enemies
– Can deliver a bite with a force of 1,300 PSI
– Have sharp fangs measuring about 1 inch long that can tear into flesh
– Incredibly strong, capable of lifting 1,800 pounds or even more
– Use powerful strikes to smack enemies
– Can also deliver incredibly powerful bites at 1,300 PSI
– Canine teeth can grow upwards of 2 inches long    
Predatory Behavior– Omnivores that sometimes attack and eat members of their species and monkeys– Mostly vegetarians that sometimes eat insects, so they don’t have a prey drive

What Are 2 Key Differences Between a Chimpanzee and a Gorilla?

Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Game Reserve - Uganda, East Africa

Chimps are smaller than gorillas.

©Sam DCruz/Shutterstock.com

The biggest differences between a chimpanzee and a gorilla are their species and size. While both animals are primates, gorillas belong to the genus Gorilla, while chimpanzees belong to Pan. Gorillas are bigger than chimpanzees, with the largest subspecies weighing 200 to 400 pounds and standing 4.4 to 5.5 feet tall. Meanwhile, chimps stand between 3.25 and 5 feet tall and weigh between 57 and 150 pounds, but larger chimps can weigh more.

These differences will come into play when determining which animal is most likely to survive an encounter with the other.

What Are the Key Factors in a Fight Between a Chimpanzee and a Gorilla?

gorillas fighting

Size is a major factor in this fight.

©Pakalou/Shutterstock.com

The main factors in most wildlife battles are speed, size, defenses, fighting ability, and predatory instincts. We’re going to look at each of these factors for both animals, find out which creature has the advantage, and then use the sum of the information to determine the fight’s winner.

Chimpanzee vs. Gorilla: Size

Gorillas are larger than chimpanzees. The largest subspecies of gorillas weigh between 200 and 400 pounds, and they can stand anywhere from 4.4 to 5.5 feet tall at their maximum measure. Meanwhile, chimpanzees only weigh between 57 and 150 pounds, rarely exceeding 200 pounds. They’re about 3.25 to 5 feet tall or slightly more.

Gorillas have the size advantage.

Chimpanzee vs. Gorilla: Speed

Gorillas and chimpanzees have the same top speed as each other. They both reach speeds of about 25 miles per hour when moving at their utmost speeds. However, neither animal can maintain those speeds for long.

Gorillas and chimpanzees are tied in terms of speed.

Chimpanzee vs. Gorilla: Defenses

The average chimpanzee is a rather smart creature that knows how to avoid danger. Part of their practices for danger avoidance involves living in groups with one another. However, outside of that, their bodies aren’t particularly strong. They don’t have extra-thick skin, for example. They can hide in trees, though.

Gorillas have good senses that help them detect danger in their area. They’re also very large, allowing them to take some punishment in a fight without diminishing their abilities. Gorillas use a fierce territorial display to make others back down, and they also have the benefit of their speed to escape threats.

Gorillas have the advantage in a one-on-one fight without the benefit of trees to escape.

Chimpanzee vs. Gorilla: Offensive Capabilities

Gorillas can deliver vicious assaults against their enemies. These primates are absurdly strong, and they’re capable of lifting upwards of 1,800 pounds or more. They can leverage that strength to deliver blows at between 1,300 and 2,700 pounds of force. Moreover, they can deliver vicious bites using their 2-inch canine teeth at 1,300 psi.

Although chimpanzees are said to be several times stronger than humans, scientists have refuted that fact. Still, chimps are 1.35 to 1.5 times as strong as a human. They will use their powerful hands to grab, tear, and smash their enemies. They’re smart animals, so they know the most sensitive parts of their enemies to attack. Like gorillas, they can deliver a powerful bite of 1,300 psi with 1-inch fangs.

Gorillas have more power and attack capabilities compared with chimpanzees, so they have an advantage in this area.

Chimpanzee vs. Gorilla: Predatory Behavior

Gorillas are mostly vegetarians, but some species integrate insects into their meals. They’re not hunters, though. Chimpanzees are omnivores. Sometimes, they’ll engage in cannibalism, and other times they’ll hunt monkeys for food. However, that is not very common.

Since chimps actually kill and eat other animals, they get an edge in this category, but it will not be that significant in the grand scheme of this fight.

Who Would Win in a Fight Between a Chimpanzee and a Gorilla?

Gorilla - Gorilla Howling and Showing Teeth

The gorilla would win the battle against a chimp.

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A gorilla would win a fight against a chimpanzee. Gorillas are too large and powerful for a chimp to overcome. On even ground, an angered gorilla would charge the chimpanzee, and the two animals would begin a flurry of attacks. The chimp would not go down without a fight, but the gorilla would get the better of it, brutally smacking, slamming, and biting its foe until the chimp could not fight back.

Chimps have fought gorillas in the wild before. Sometimes, they even kill and eat the gorillas, but only the infants and only when they vastly outnumber the great apes. In this case, in a one-on-one, the gorilla would beat the chimp in battle.


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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.

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