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

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: March 10, 2023
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Africa is home to a wide variety of different animals. Among them are deadly creatures like lions and graceful gazelles. Gorillas are highly intelligent primates that only live in sub-Saharan Africa and provide humans with insights into our evolution. Leopards are the oft-forgotten big cats that lack the speed and power of their cousins. Can they prove that they’re worthy of respect by fighting and beating a gorilla? Take a look at what happens in a leopard vs gorilla fight!

Comparing a Leopard and a Gorilla

The key differences between leopards and gorillas are their body types, size, and speed.
SizeWeight: 66-198 pounds
Length: 3.5-6.2 feet
Height: 2-2.3 feet
Weight: 220-440 pounds
Height: 4.4-5.1 feet
Length: 4-5 feet
Speed and Movement Type35-40 mph  -25 mph
-Can move quickly by knucklewalking
Senses– Amazing night vision
– A very sensitive sense of smell
– Sense of hearing that is roughly five times more powerful than human hearing
-Human-like sense of sight
-Good sense of smell
-Human-like sense of hearing  
Defenses– Speed to outrun many predators in its area
– Easily climbs trees
– Stealthy when hiding in trees
– Threat display
– Speed    
Offensive Capabilities– Powerful bite
– Long teeth
– Sharp claws that are retracted when not in use, allowing them to stay sharp    
-Open-handed strikes (can’t make true fists)
– Intelligence to identify weak spots in enemies
– Immense strength, capable of lifting over 1,000 pounds
Predatory Behavior– Unique hunters that wait until they are close to their prey before pouncing rather than running them down
– Mostly nocturnal but can be diurnal or crepuscular  
– Opportunistic predator as an omnivore      

What Are the Key Differences Between a Leopard and a Gorilla?

Gorilla coming down the path

Gorillas are about twice the height of leopards.


The key differences between leopards and gorillas are their body types, size, and speed. Leopards are quadrupedal felines that weigh about 200 pounds and run at 40 mph. Gorillas are mostly bipedal primates that weigh about 400 pounds and run at 25 mph over short distances.

Gorillas are about twice the height of leopards, live in small groups as opposed to being solitary like leopards, and are omnivores instead of carnivores like leopards.

These major differences between gorillas and leopards will define this fight, and we’ll use them and other key factors to determine the winner.

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

Leopards are known for being stealthy

Leopards are known for being stealthy, extremely powerful cats.


The key factors in a fight between a leopard and a gorilla will be their physical traits and fighting capabilities. Both animals are unique in these respects, so we’ll take a look at several facets of each creature and see which of them has the most advantages over the other.

Leopard vs. Gorilla: Size

Gorillas are larger than leopards in every measure but length. Leopards usually grow about a little over 2 feet in height, grow 6.2 feet long, and 198 pounds in weight. Gorillas can grow 5.1 feet high, about 5 feet long, and weigh up to 440 pounds. They are well-known known for being powerful, muscular creatures.

Gorillas have the size advantage in this fight.  

Leopard vs. Gorilla: Speed and Movement

Leopards are much faster than gorillas. Gorillas implement a semi-bipedal movement where they use their arms to propel them forward and their legs to lunge. This “knucklewalking” technique allows them to move at a swift 25 mph over short distances.

Leopards use a galloping sprint that helps them move at between 35 and 40 mph at top speed. They’re just as fast as most lions, but not as fast as cheetahs.

The leopards have a speed advantage.

Leopard vs. Gorilla: Senses

Gorillas are not apex predators. In fact, they’re mostly herbivorous and mostly eat insects to make them omnivorous. Their senses are comparable to humans in sight and hearing, but they have a better sense of smell.

Leopards are great predators with finely tuned senses. They have great vision during the day and amazing vision at night. They have a very powerful sense of smell, similar to most big cats. Their sense of hearing is said to be five times stronger than that of a human.

Leopards have an overabundance of amazing senses that they can use to find their prey, and that is precisely how they will instigate fights with gorillas.

Leopards have a serious sensory advantage against gorillas.

Leopard vs. Gorilla: Physical Defenses

Gorillas have poor physical defenses. They are made of dense muscles, but they only have their threat display and speed to keep them safe as individuals. Of course, living in a group offers some protection.

Leopards’ defenses are more pragmatic. They have the speed that allows them to outrun just about every predator on the continent, save for the cheetah and perhaps the lion. They are expert climbers and are hard to spot in the trees.

On average, leopards have better defenses than gorillas.  

Leopard vs. Gorilla: Combat Skills

Gorillas are not known for their combat skills since they don’t exactly go out of their way to get into fights. However, they are vicious when they need to be. Gorillas will charge their foe, use their amazing strength to grab hold of them, beat them, bite them, and potentially break and tear their limbs. Their attacks are fast and brutal.

Leopards are cunning fighters that wait to ambush their foes until they are very close to them. That way, they don’t have to waste a lot of energy chasing them. By making sure they get close to their prey, they increase their chances of a successful hunt.

When leopards get close to their prey, they usually jump onto them, dig in with their claws, and deliver a powerful bite to the head or neck of the prey, killing it. In that sense, leopards are finely tuned killing machines.

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

leopard teeth

The speed and power of a leopard are hard for a gorilla to match.


A leopard would win a fight against a gorilla. Leopards are one of the few successful predators of gorillas. They are too fast and vicious for a strong gorilla to fight off, especially considering they like to ambush gorillas in their nests.  

One way that the fight would occur would be an ambush situation. If that happened, the gorilla would die very quickly with the leopard swooping in and attacking its head and neck.

The two creatures could meet on equal footing. In that case, the gorilla would probably charge the leopard. The gorilla might kill the leopard if it considers it a true threat and follows through instead of bluff charging. If it gets its hands on a limb or lands a bite on the leopard’s head, the fight could get messy.

However, the more likely outcome is that it would try to scare away the big cat, and that’s when the leopard would pounce. The leopard would sink its claws and teeth into the gorilla. They would fight and tumble around, trading blows. Using its long claws and teeth, the leopard has the tools to finish the job.

At the end of the clash, though, the leopard would still be standing, but it would probably be hurt.

Could Another Animal Take Down a Leopard?

Leopards are skilled hunters with a proven ambush attack plan – but how would they do against a brawling brute even more vicious than a gorilla? Could a leopard defeat the most frightening bear on the planet? Who would prevail in an epic showdown between a leopard and a grizzly bear?

When we consider the size factor – grizzly bears are the winners – hands down. Male grizzlies can grow up to nearly 9 feet in length and weigh up to 800 pounds. Some have actually reached 1,200 pounds! A fully-grown male leopard can reach lengths of 6.2 ft and weigh nearly 198 pounds – that’s a big difference – but can the leopard’s attack skills bring victory?

Bite force could determine the winner – both animals depend on biting to kill prey. Grizzly bears can crack a skull with over 1,160 psi of force per bite. The leopard is not competitive in this category with a bite force of only 310 psi. So far, this battle seems one-sided.

These two carnivores both sport powerful jaws full of razor-sharp teeth designed to rip and tear flesh – but what kind of flesh? Grizzly bears’ teeth have evolved to be the longest, sharpest teeth in the bear family – able to slice through tree bark as well as prey. The leopard’s mouth contains fewer teeth – but its long fangs make the bear’s teeth look downright stubby. A grizzly bear’s bite inflicts more points of impact – but a leopard’s cuts deeper.

A leopard would have to be extremely lucky to land a perfect ambush attack and crushing bite on a grizzly to even have a sporting chance in this scenario. If two big males went head to head in battle – the grizzly would just beat the leopard to death. Its superior size, stronger bite force, and unbelievable stamina would wear the leopard down until two big claw swipes could put the animal on its back – to be finished with a great big bite. This bloody battle would be an easy victory for the grizzly.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Michael Wick/Shutterstock.com

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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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