Gorilla vs Elephant: Who Would Win in a Fight?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: March 2, 2023
© Jeff W. Jarrett/Shutterstock.com
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Gorillas and elephants are notable for their great intelligence as well as their shared range in parts of Africa. For the most part, these creatures keep away from each other as they seek out plants to eat. That doesn’t mean we cannot or should not use our imagination to think about what would happen if they crossed paths and decided to fight each other instead of indulging in peaceful ways. In a gorilla vs elephant, many factors can come into play.

Fortunately, we have gathered all the relevant data to take an educated guess at what would happen during this battle of two intelligent creatures. Discover whether a gorilla or elephant would walk away from a major rumble in the jungle.

Comparing a Gorilla and an Elephant

gorilla vs elephant
Gorillas and elephants are both very smart mammals, but the elephant is much larger!


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SizeWeight: 220lbs – 440lbs
Height: 4.4ft- 5.1ft
Weight: 6,500lbs – 12,000lbs
Height: 7ft – 12ft at the shoulder Length: 18ft – 21ft
Speed and Movement Type– 25 mph
– Can move quickly with knucklewalking
9-25 mph on land
– Charges to chase down enemies
Bite Power and Teeth1,300 PSI bite power
– 32 teeth including 2-inch fangs
– Elephants are herbivores with no appreciable bite power
Senses– Human-like sense of sight
– Good sense of smell
– Human-like sense of hearing
– Able to hear very well
Can sniff out food miles away  
– Has a poor sense of vision.
Defenses– Threat display
– Speed  
– Massive size scares away predators as an adult.
– Tough skin
Offensive Capabilities– Open-handed strikes (can’t make true fists)
– Biting    
– Uses tusks to impale enemies –  Devastating stomps
– Uses head and trunk to tip enemies and then kill them
– High intelligence makes them wary of others and careful
Predatory Behavior– Opportunistic predator as an omnivore  – Not a predator, just attacks enemies
– Grazes for over 16 hours a day

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

Gorilla staring at the camera
The key factors in this fight would be size, power, and combat abilities.


What decides which mammal would win a fight between a gorilla and an elephant? Like with most fights in the animal world, the biggest factors are going to be the body of each creature as well as how they use it to defeat opponents.

To that end, we’ve decided to examine seven different qualities that fall into two categories: physical features and offensive capabilities. Take a look at how each of these factors plays into the overall battle and see which animal has the advantage in a variety of different situations.  

Physical Features of a Gorilla and an Elephant

elephant close up in a field
Elephants can weigh 12,000lbs and grow 12ft high, but a gorilla only weighs 400lbs and is 5ft tall.

©David Steele/Shutterstock.com

The bodies of gorillas and elephants have a profound impact on a fight between the two. The size, speed, and offensive capabilities of different creatures how they approach combat. Learn about which advantages each of these creatures has over the other.

Gorilla vs Elephant: Size

Gorillas are very large apes, standing up to 5 feet and weighing upwards of 400 pounds. The largest gorilla ever recorded weighed 860 pounds. That’s a sizeable animal. Elephants are much, much larger, though. They can stand 12 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh beyond 12,000 pounds!

Elephants have a size advantage.  

Gorilla vs Elephant: Speed and Movement

Although gorillas may look like stocky, slow creatures, they can reach 25mph while knucklewalking, their preferred method of locomotion. That is incredibly swift, and it matches an elephant’s speed while charging.

Elephants and gorillas tie in terms of speed and movement.  

Gorilla vs Elephant: Bite Power and Teeth

While elephants are herbivores that don’t have much in the way of biting power, gorillas are omnivores that have plenty of power to spare. They can bite at 1,300 PSI and drive all 32 teeth, including 2-inch fangs, into their opponents.

Gorillas get the advantage in terms of teeth.

Gorilla vs Elephant: Senses

An elephant has some great senses like hearing and smell. They use those senses to make up for their poor sense of sight and to learn when they have predators lurking about.

Gorillas’ senses are much like humans except they have a better sense of smell.

The gorilla has an average array of senses, but the elephant has a few super senses.

The elephant gets the sense advantage.  

Gorilla vs Elephant: Physical Defenses

Both gorillas and elephants are social animals that live in packs, and that alone is a powerful deterrent to predators. On an individual level, though, the elephant has profound physical defenses in the form of its huge size and thick skin. They can also run away when trouble begins.

Gorillas use their speed and threat displays to end fights before they begin, and they’re rarely hunted as prey.

The elephant has the advantage in terms of defenses.

Combat Skills of a Gorilla and an Elephant

Big silverback male Western lowland gorilla
Gorillas rely on their hands and teeth to fight, but elephants use their tusks and weight.

©Andreas Rose/Shutterstock.com

Having a powerful body is one factor that goes into a fight between these creatures, but the other major consideration is combat skills. How does each animal behave in a fight? It’s an important and necessary facet to explore, and it’s one that we will look at in terms of potential and real-world practice.  

Gorilla vs Elephant: Offensive Capabilities

In a fight, a gorilla will use its powerful arms and hands to swap a foe, nearly making a fist and smashing it into enemies. They can also make use of their long fangs to dole out some serious damage.

Elephants can use their trunks and head to knock enemies down and then dig into them with their tusks. The most common offensive method they use is trampling foes with their massive legs and the weight they support.

The elephant has far better offensive capabilities and gets the advantage here.  

Gorilla vs Elephant: Predatory Behaviors

The elephant is devoid of predatory behaviors, but it will act aggressively towards any animals that encroach on its area. They will use a threat display of feigned charges that turn into real ones if the enemy doesn’t back down.

Gorillas are opportunistic predators that happen upon foods they eat. Sometimes, gorillas will fashion tools to help them obtain food. In terms of fights, they will often bluff at their enemies, like other gorillas, to avoid starting a dangerous fight. If the other creature doesn’t back down or continues to display threatening behavior, the gorilla will attack.  

The gorilla has an advantage in predatory behavior since it is the only one with those instincts.

What Are Key Differences Between a Gorilla and an Elephant?

western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla, gorilla, gorilla) with strong, angry look on face
Gorillas are lighter and smaller than elephants, but they are smarter.

©Jeff W. Jarrett/Shutterstock.com

Elephants are herbivorous mammals that weigh 12,000 pounds and stand over 10 feet tall, and gorillas are omnivorous bipedal mammals that weigh over 400lbs and can grow to 5 feet in height.

Their bodies are very different, but they are both known for their high level of intelligence. In terms of a fight between the two, the biggest differences are their approaches to attacking. Elephants prefer to use their weight to kill others while gorillas tend to use their immense strength, especially in their jaws.

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

Animals That Have Tusks-elephant
An elephant would win a fight against a gorilla with ease.

©Stu Porter/Shutterstock.com

An elephant would win in a fight against a gorilla. Gorillas are certainly powerful and smart animals, but they lack any definitive means of killing an elephant. Unless they happened upon an elephant lying down and managed to inflict severe bites to them, a gorilla simply would not stand a chance.

That’s not going to happen, though. An elephant would most likely hear or smell a gorilla coming, so it would not take the large quadruped by surprise.

More than likely, a gorilla would stumble into the wrong territory and find itself facing down a charging elephant that would flip its comparatively light frame into the air and then stomp it to death. Elephants are in a completely different league in terms of size and power, and that’s enough to definitively say they win this battle.

However, we can’t ignore the gorilla’s intelligence. That factor would come into play before the battle when the gorilla sees the elephant and decides to go back the way it came to avoid a fight.

Are There Any Animals That Can Defeat an Elephant?

The venom of a king cobra is one of nature’s most toxic substances.


With their impressive size and tendency to stick together in large familiar packs, elephants may seem like undefeatable creatures. However, if the right opportunities arise there are a few animals who can potentially take on an elephant and win.

Surprisingly, the comparatively small king cobra is perhaps the elephant’s most formidable opponent. By targeting the thin, vulnerable skin of the elephant’s trunk a king cobra can inject enough venom to take down a full-grown elephant. Other predators like hyenas, lions, and rhinos can also defeat some sick, injured, or young elephants, but none are capable of taking down a healthy adult like the king cobra.

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About the Author

I'm a freelance writer with 8 years of experience. I've written in a variety of niches such as video games, animals, and managed service providers. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014 with degrees in English and Education. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and writing for fun.

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