Gorilla vs Bear: The 2 Key Differences

Written by AZ Animals Staff
Updated: July 23, 2021
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There are two more mammals noted for their ferociousness. But, unfortunately, this isn’t the battle of all battles … technically. But we’ll also take it to the streets. This is Gorilla vs Bear.

What follows is a thorough and friendly look at two of the noblest creatures in the world. It’s a look at their legends, as well as their potential to be gentle, laidback, and quiet giants.


There are general types of bears that can be found all over the world. They include:

The bear is not the “dangerous” creature many make them out to be. The bear is HUGE and intimidating. And though it’s more likely to ignore humans, the bear remains infamous for the few negative interactions it’s had with humans.

The truth is a person is more likely to see their demise from drowning, falling or getting stung than gets attacked by a bear. In fact, you are more likely to run into risk on a U.S. highway driving to a trailhead!

Bears can be found in many parts of the world. We classify bears as carnivoran mammals from the Ursidae family.


Gorillas are gentle, loving, intelligent, and capable of openly demonstrating human behavior and emotion. They are the largest of the great apes. Stocky, broad in the chest and shoulders, they have human-like hands.

These are powerful animals, capable of pulling small trees out of the ground. The intimidating beating on the chest is a tactic to drive away unwanted visitors.

Generally social, these animals can share territory with other troops. But should one male from another troop look to unseat the silverback, it gets ugly. Brute strength always resolves the dilemma.

Gorillas spend much of their time searching for food. They nap often. Their diets vary with the region and its habitat. The herbivore prefers food rich in water and juices. So, they lean toward herbaceous plants and fruits, though the gorilla will snack on ants or termites.

The gorilla is an endangered species. Poaching, wars and the diminishing tropical forest all put the gorilla in danger.

Gorillas are closer to humans in nature. They’ve shown the ability to communicate, make and use tools, enjoy family ties. Gorillas think about the past and dream about the future.

Comparing Gorilla vs Bear

Here is a quick chart breaking down the battle of bear versus gorilla.

Gorillas are the world’s largest primates. Ground-dwellers, they are herbivorous creatures. Gorillas come in four subspecies: Mountain, Eastern Lowland, Cross River, and Western Lowland gorillas.Bears are doglike carnivorans. They live in forests and are generally peaceful animals who are more likely to get into mischief than threaten and harm humans
SizeGorillas can grow a little over five feet in height. The Western gorilla will max out at 350 lbs. The Eastern gorilla’s weight will range between 310 and 450.Bears, in their many species, can grow anywhere between eight and up to 10 feet tall. They can up to 1,000 lbs.
HabitatGorilla dwell in Central Africa lowland tropical rainforests. There are subspecies to find in bamboo forests and montane rainforests.Bears live in forests, tundras, mountains, icelands, grassy areas, and sometimes in deserts. There are a variety of species found around the globe that have adapted to a range of ecosystems.
LifespanGorillas can live 35 to 40 years.Many bears do not reach the 25 years they have coming to them. Human activity tends to shorten their time.
AppearanceGorilla has dark complexions with brownish-grey or black hair. Their backs are saddled and they carry themselves in ways that make them look larger.Bears are famous for their intimidating height. They’re stocky and thick, with long snouts, shaggy hair, and short tails. Bears have plantigrade paws with retractile claws.

The 2 Key Differences Between Bear and Gorilla

Living in different parts of the world, the bear and the gorilla are unlikely to run into each other. There are similarities but they are distinct creatures unto themselves.

Gorilla vs Bear: Mobility:

Both are fast. The gorilla can hit 20 mph at the least. The gorilla also has an exceptional response time. But if it was a footrace, the bear would dust the gorilla. It can reach speeds of up to 35 mph.

Gorillas tend to move on all fours. Bears do too but they are also comfortable walking on their legs. Both animals climb trees but the gorilla is unlikely to get stuck in a tree, while the bear gets trapped all the time.

Gorilla vs Bear: Aggression:

Both animals can be gentle while both are capable of great ferocity. We’d lean toward the bigger, faster bear. Though we’d rather not be around if either one gets their panties in a bunch.

The gorilla is a large creature but it stands no taller than the average human. It can tip the scale at 430 lbs. The fully-grown bear hits seven feet or more and breaks the scale at a potential 800 lbs.

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About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Would a gorilla beat a bear?

If you’re counting on strength, the bear has the advantage. But gorillas are fast and intelligent. And they have one of the most powerful arms in the world. In the real world though, unless the situation was extreme, both animals are more likely to ignore each other than anything.

What animal can beat a bear?

While this is mostly speculation, it would be no surprise if a rhino, elephant, or hippo took out a bear. Ferocious creatures like tigers and lions will be a challenge, as well as several species of bull.

Who would win: black bear or gorilla?

The black bear is a smaller species but still has body strength. Unfortunately, the gorilla has exceptional dexterity. The bear will lunge but it won’t pull or grab or wrestle like the gorilla. It’s most likely the gorilla take this one.

Are these species endangered?

Both gorillas and bears are endangered. Humankind continues to encroach on their freedom by hunting and destroying their ecosystems.