Discover Who Emerges Victorious in an Epic Rhino vs. Lion Battle

Written by Crystal
Updated: May 9, 2023
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Key Points

  • Rhinos represent 7,700 lbs of aggression armed with a 30-inch horn to take on foes.
  • The African versions of these pachyderms are also quite willing to fight with their teeth.
  • Lions, on the other hand, come with razor-sharp fangs and claws and skills honed by a life on the edge.

It’s a rhino vs. lion animal showdown! Who will walk away the winner?

Lions can run fast, climb trees, and even swim. They have a reputation for taking down some of the biggest animals on the Savannah, sometimes even targeting crocodiles!

Rhinos are slow, but what they lack in speed, they more than make up for in size and armor. The rhino’s first line of defense is its thick armored skin. A rhino’s skin can have two layers of collagen and be up to 2 inches thick.

When the lion bites down on the rhino’s leg, will it be able to swat the fierce cat away? Or does this big cat have a chance at bringing down a massive rhino? Read on top to find out.

Rhino vs. Lion Comparison Chart

Battle FactorsRhinoLion
Size5 feet tall
7 feet long (average)
1,700 to 7,700 pounds
3 to 4 feet tall
8 to 10 feet long
330 to 550 pounds
Speed35 mph50 mph
Dates back 50 million years
Can trample threats
Gores threats with horn
African rhinos fight with teeth
Ambush hunter
Hunts with group
Roar heard 5 miles away
Tops AdvantagesMassive size
Brute force
30-inch horn
Armored skin
Experienced intraspecies fighter
Sharp claws and canines
Can take down large prey
Playfights as cub

The key factors in this rhino vs. lion battle are size, speed, attack abilities, and fighting experience. Being big and strong isn’t enough to survive an animal matchup. The champion must also be able to outsmart an opponent to walk away alive. Let’s learn a little bit more about each competitor before we dive into the fighting.

The Rhino

Rhinoceros in the Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya
It’s rare for a rhino to face down an animal larger than itself. Their most common competitors are other rhinos.

©Travel Stock/

Let’s welcome our first competitor, the rhino, who charges into the ring in a huff. Rhinos have stout defenses and are basically armor-plated dinosaurs. Their protective hide keeps them safe from predators, and their size means nobody wants to mess with them in the first place.

It’s rare for a rhino to face down an animal larger than itself. Their most common competitors are other rhinos. Thanks to intra-species fighting, this competitor has experienced brawling with some of the biggest animals on the planet.

Rhinos have been around for over 50 million years, giving them plenty of time to become expert survivalists. These animals have an ‘attack first and ask questions later’ attitude. The moment the rhino catches the scent of the lion, it’s likely to charge. But will the rhino’s response be fast enough to escape the lion’s teeth and claws?

The Lion

Male lion standing proudly
Males require 16 pounds of meat daily to survive, and females require 11 pounds.

©2021 Photography/

Pouncing into the ring, it’s our second competitor, the lion. Lions are known for their expert hunting skills and ability to win against large prey. These wild cats use ambush and endurance predation to take down antelopes, ostriches, and wildebeest.

As apex predators, lions are always looking for their next meal. Males require 16 pounds of meat daily to survive, and females require 11 pounds. If kitty can win this rhino vs. lion fight, he’ll have food for days!

You can bet that this competitor will be rested and ready to fight. When lions aren’t hunting, they’re napping. These cats can nap for 21 hours every day! Will all of that sleep be enough to give the lion the strength it needs against a mighty rhino? Let’s see how round one plays out!

Round One: Size and Speed

Round one of our rhino vs. lion battle compares each animal’s size and speed. Next to tigers, lions are the biggest cat species in the world. And rhinos are basically armor-plated dinosaurs. Who will have the advantage in this animal matchup?

Rhinos can weigh anywhere from 1,700 to 7,700 pounds! They stand 6 feet tall at the shoulder and can be as long as 11 to 15 ft. This competitor knows how to use its large body to trample any threat.

Lions are smaller than rhinos, but they’re still a sizable opponent! On average, lions weigh 260 to 550 pounds. They have a height of 3 to 4 feet at the shoulder and can be as long as 4.5 to 8 feet long. These big cats have bulging leg muscles, wide chests, and impressive manes.

Lions can run 35 mph and even faster in short bursts. As they get close enough to make the kill, lions can increase their speed up to 50 miles per hour. That’s more than enough speed to close in on the rhino. They can also fly through the air, leaping almost 40 feet when they pounce.

Running with all of their might, rhinos can only reach top speeds of 24 to 35 mph. But that doesn’t mean they’re at a disadvantage. The rhinoceros is only disadvantaged if it’s trying to run away from the lion; in that case, it wouldn’t stand a chance. But what if the rhino is charging toward the lion?

The rhino could use its large body as a weapon as it charges toward the lion at 35 mph. Bashing into their feline foe, the impact could be enough to win this fight. The body of a rhino is big and powerful enough to roll over a car.

Round Two: Attack Abilities

Round two compares each animal’s attack abilities. As herbivores, rhinos don’t have a predatory drive. But lions live a completely different lifestyle.

Lions live in a world where they have to worry about being able to catch enough food to survive. Since they fail in 70% of their hunts, every meal is a big deal. Lions need 16-20 lbs. of meat a day to survive and can eat up to 100 pounds of meat in one sitting.

Lions catch their calories using size, speed, sharp claws, and fang-like teeth. They have a strong bite force that ranges from 650 to 1,000 PSI! The bone-splintering bite can tear prey open, sever their spinal cord, or suffocate them.

Rhinos are usually calm, but that changes when someone encroaches on their territory. Things will heat up even more if the rhino in this battle is trying to protect their young. The most common intruder a rhino has to fight off is another rhino. They shouldn’t have trouble scaring their feline foe if they’re used to fighting off a 5,000-pound beast.

The rhino can use its size, speed, and horn to trample and gore its opponent. Their horn can measure 8 to 30 inches long.

Round Three: Fighting Experience

Finally, it’s time for round three! For this round of the rhino vs. lion battle, let’s compare each animal’s experience with fighting.

Rhinos are some of the most well-equipped animals to deal with danger. Black rhinos have some of the highest mortality rates for species on species fights. They fight and kill each other all the time. Around 50% of males lose their lives to these intra-species brawls.

Lions are also experienced fighters since they have to hunt to live. Their experience with brawling begins when they’re young.

Lions grow up play fighting with other cubs. This play fighting is a way to bond and prepare for the dangers of the Savannah. The lion’s intra-species battles don’t stop there. As adults, if one of the males wants to challenge the leader of the pride, a fight will determine who takes the throne.

Who Is the Winner?

The rhino is the winner! Rhinos are ancient creatures that have been around for over 50 million years. They have a fierce reputation for standing their ground and trampling any threat that comes their way. Since they can charge a predator at speeds of over 30 mph, these modern-day dinosaurs can deliver a lot of damage.

How would this rhino vs. lion battle go down? Armed with a 30-inch-long horn, the rhino gores the lion, puncturing vital organs. Even if the big cat could land a bite, it’d have trouble delivering any damage to the rhino’s 2-inch-thick skin. Lions are incredible hunters, but this armored competitor is too big to beat!

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About the Author

Crystal is always looking to learn more, and share her finds with you along the way. It's amazing how you can spend your entire life living with plants and animals, but still know so little about them! Let's explore our world together as Crystal covers topics about creatures, places, and experiences.

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