Gorilla vs Orangutan: Who Would Win in a Fight?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: March 8, 2023
© iStock.com/dbar99
Share this post on:

Advertisement


Listen to Article

Gorillas and orangutans are two of the most intelligent primates alive today. Both of them are capable of using tools, solving puzzles, and achieving complex communications. Gorillas and orangutans are omnivores, but meat is a rarity on either’s menu. They would rather spend their time eating plants. Although gorillas live in Africa and orangutans live in Asia, it’s interesting to ponder how these creatures measure up in all respects, including fighting. What would happen in a gorilla vs orangutan fight?

We have compiled the relevant data and laid it out for all to see. Based on the statistics and behavioral data that we have obtained about these creatures, it’s clear which one would endure a fight. Discover which mammal survives a battle of the primates!

Comparing a Gorilla and an Orangutan

gorilla vs orangutan
Orangutans and gorillas are both primates that prefer eating plants.
GorillaOrangutan
SizeWeight: 220lbs – 440lbs
Height: 4.4ft- 5.1ft
Weight: 66lbs -200lbs
Height: 4ft – 5ft
Speed and Movement Type-25 mph
-Can move quickly with knucklewalking
– 2- 3mph  
Walk using feet and the sides of their hands
Bite Power and Teeth1,300 PSI bite power
-32 teeth including 2-inch fangs
Less than 1,000 PSI bite power
– 32 teeth
– Teeth less than an inch long.
Senses– Human-like sense of sight
– Good sense of smell
– Human-like sense of hearing
– Among the most intelligent animals on the planet
– Believed to have similar sight to humans.
– Poor sense of smell  
Defenses– Threat display
– Speed to run away
– Climbing abilities
– Threat display
Offensive Capabilities– Open-handed strikes (can’t make true fists)
– Biting with fangs
– Can lift over 1,000lbs, allowing them to drag, throw, and mangle foes.
– Biting
– Tool use (branches)
– Can lift about 500lbs in weight, far more than their body weight  

What Are Key Similarities and Differences Between a Gorilla and an Orangutan?

Orangutans live most of their lives in trees but gorillas live on the ground.

©Millie Bond – Copyright A-Z Animals

15,751 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

Gorillas are omnivorous primates that weigh over 400lbs and stand over 5ft tall, and orangutans are arboreal omnivores that weigh about 200lbs and stand 5 feet tall. The gorilla is a knucklewalker, using its powerful arms to drive it forward towards enemies or food. Orangutans walk using the sides of their hands and feet, but they spend most of their lives in trees.

Gorillas mostly live on the ground in troops, small packs of gorillas. Orangutans are more solitary creatures, but they do live in loosely knit groups.

All in all, gorillas and orangutans are very different creatures despite having similarities in terms of intelligence and morphology.

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

Bearded Animals
A fight between a gorilla and orangutan would be settled by strength and the ability to inflict fatal damage.

©Don Mammoser/Shutterstock.com

Deciding who wins in a fight between a gorilla and orangutan is a complex process. We have to look at very specific features of both animals to determine which has an edge and how those work out in a hostile situation. The best way to break down this data is by broadly comparing physical elements and combat skills.

We have discovered six metrics that provide enough insight to determine who wins a fight. See which animal has the advantage in each section.

Physical Features of Gorillas and Orangutans

Gorilla coming down the path
Gorillas can weigh 400lbs or more, but orangutans weigh just about 200lbs.

©iStock.com/dbar99

Most of the factors that will determine which animal is successful in the bout stem from physical differences between the gorilla and orangutan. After all, fights between wild creatures tend to favor the bigger and stronger of the opponents. Consider the following bodily features of gorillas and orangutans to see who has the better chance from a physical standpoint.

Gorilla vs Orangutan: Size

The orangutan is not a very large animal, standing about 5 feet tall and weighing up to a little over 200lbs at its largest. A gorilla achieves the same standing height, a little over 5 feet, but it’s much heavier, weighing upwards of 400lbs. A lot of that extra weight is muscle.

The gorilla has the size advantage.  

Gorilla vs Orangutan: Speed and Movement

The orangutan is unique in that it spends much of its life in trees; it’s an arboreal primate. As a result, they do not need to move very quickly as they navigate the world from canopies. On the ground, they can achieve about 2-3mph, and that’s about as fast as they can move in the trees, too.

Gorillas live on the ground, and they have adapted to move very fast, up to 25mph using knucklewalking and a bipedal motion.

Gorillas have the advantage in speed and movement.  

Gorilla vs Orangutan: Bite Power and Teeth

Orangutans spend most of their time eating plants and seeds, so their teeth are adapted to grinding. They do have the ability to bite others, but their bite is less powerful than a human’s and their teeth are only an inch long.

Gorillas use their teeth for eating and fighting off enemies, biting with 1,300PSI of force, and using 2-inch fangs to great effect.

Gorillas have the advantage in bite force.

Gorilla vs Orangutan: Senses

Orangutans have good senses for hearing and sight that rivals that of humans, but their sense of smell is poor. Gorillas have very good senses of smell and human-like hearing and sight. They would most likely see each other or hear one another rather than sensing them from very far away.

Gorillas have a slight edge in senses.

Gorilla vs Orangutan: Physical Defenses

The defenses of a gorilla are based on their ability to quickly flee from trouble and use a threat display to make enemies think twice about approaching them. Their threat display is positively frightening, using roars, thumping the ground, and bluff charging while standing at full height. They also have their somewhat large frame to use as a defense to scare off threats.  

Orangutans’ defenses are less impressive. They can climb trees better than many other creatures and they have a threat display where they make various noises and display their teeth. While impressive, it’s not as scary as a gorilla’s.

Overall, gorillas have better defenses.

Combat Skills of Gorillas and Orangutans

Orangutans can use tools or bites to harm others, but gorillas can bite harder and land severe blows.

©Millie Bond – Copyright A-Z Animals

The physical advantages are only half of the equation in this case. We must look at how the gorilla and orangutan fight in the wild to determine which has the superior abilities to defeat foes.

Gorilla vs Orangutan: Offensive Capabilities

Orangutans are not very aggressive creatures, but they can bite and inflict pain, use tools like branches to hit one another or use their strength to toss or otherwise harm creatures in their grasp.

Gorillas are very strong animals, capable of lifting over 1,000lbs as adults and using all that strength to “punch”, grab, pull, and throw enemies. Moreover, they have a pretty powerful bite that can inflict mortal wounds on enemies by biting into sensitive areas.

Gorillas are much more capable in terms of offensive power.  

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

Gorilla bite force - gorilla resting
A gorilla would beat an orangutan in a fight and meet very little resistance.

©AB Photographie/Shutterstock.com

A gorilla would win in a fight against an orangutan. Gorillas are far better fighters and far more capable of inflicting fatal trauma on enemies. An orangutan might escape a gorilla by climbing trees, but that is not going to defeat the gorilla.

If these two met on flat open ground, the gorilla would quickly charge and overwhelm the orangutan. It would use its mighty strength to toss it around, potentially dismembering or seriously pummeling the small creature.

The gorilla would bite vital areas, too, causing additional trauma. The orangutan would have no way of fighting back that would be effective. It is far weaker than a gorilla and its bites are simply not strong enough to fight back against the vastly more powerful primate.

What Could Defeat a Gorilla in a Battle?

When it comes to strength and intelligence in the jungle, there are not many animals that top the list other than primates, and the gorilla, as we have stated, is the most deadly of them. This poses the question: what could defeat a gorilla in a one-on-one battle?

Except for absolute starvation, most predators would not attempt to attack alone a fully-grown gorilla, but stranger things have happened. And there have been winners! Remains of gorillas have been found in the hunting lands of leopards.

A fully-grown leopard could use its stealth to hide within branches of a tall tree and surprise a gorilla while it foraged on the forest floor. With a perfect attack, a leopard could deliver a deadly bite to the neck, throat, or skull of the gorilla and pin it to the floor. After the deadly pounce, the leopard’s raking hind claws would make short work of the ape’s abdomen and vital organs, spelling the end of the gorilla and this battle.


Share this post on:
About the Author

I've been a freelance writer since 2013, and I've written in a variety of niches such as managed service providers, animals, and retail distribution. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and writing for fun.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.