Tiger vs Elephant: Who Would Win in a Fight?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: March 3, 2023
© enky03/Shutterstock.com
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Tigers and elephants are two creatures that live side by side in places like India and other parts of Asia. For the most part, they keep a respectful distance from each other. Yet, we have to wonder what would happen if a tiger vs elephant fight took place. We can imagine how this fight would happen with a little help from science and speculation, taking relevant information about both mammals to see which would win in a serious battle.

Discover how a tiger and an elephant compare to each other in terms of size, senses, and power! We’ll show you which of these powerful creatures would emerge victoriously!

Comparing a Tiger and an Elephant

Tiger vs Elephant
A tiger can weigh 600lbs, but an elephant can weigh 12,000lbs!

©A-Z-Animals.com

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TigerElephant
SizeWeight: 500lbs – 660lbs
Height: 3ft – 4ft at shoulder
Length 8ft – 12.5ft
Weight: 6,500lbs – 12,000lbs
Height: 7ft – 12ft at shoulder
Length: 18ft – 21ft
Speed and Movement Type30-40 mph
– Galloping run
–  20ft -25ft leap
9-25 mph
– Charging, running gait that is not a trot or gallop.
Bite Power and Teeth1000 PSI bite power
– 30 teeth total
– 3-inch teeth
-Elephants have weak teeth and do not use them for defense.  
Senses– Profound sense of hearing helps tigers identify prey
– Binocular vision is similar to humans but much better at night.
– Decent sense of smell that is much less effective than a dog’s.
– Great hearing
– Poor vision
Can sniff out food miles away  
Defenses– Massive size
– Powerful roar
– Striped fur camouflage helps tigers blend into their surroundings.
– Massive size and weight
– Tough skin
Offensive Capabilities– 4-inch claws
– Powerful bite
– Strong jaws that allow tigers to clamp down and suffocate prey
– Tremendous muscle strength that helps them overwhelm prey
– Tusks can impale enemies
–  Devastating stomps
– Can use head and trunk to tip prey – High animal intelligence
Predatory Behavior– Ambush predator
– Stalks and attacks in favorable conditions
– Seeks to clamp on prey’s neck to deliver a fatal bite.
– Non-predator but will fiercely attack encroachers.
– Grazes for much of the day

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

Strongest cats - tiger
A tiger vs elephant fight will be decided by size, strength, and the way they fight.

©Volodymyr Burdiak/Shutterstock.com

Like many other battles between two creatures, the most important data to compare for a tiger vs elephant fight lies in the physical features and combat skills of each of these animals. We have broken down each of those umbrella factors into smaller tidbits. Take a look at the advantages that each animal has over the other when fighting.

Physical Features

Safari Animals You MUST See: African Elephant
Elephants are massive animals that can grow up to 20 feet tall!

©Volodymyr Burdiak/Shutterstock.com

When two animals are fighting, the larger one has an advantage that gets grows commensurately with the difference in their size. However, other physical features can help close the gap and give the smaller creature an edge. Consider the physical components of a fight between a tiger and an elephant.

Tiger vs Elephant: Size

The tiger is the largest and most powerful cat in the world. These mammals can weigh upwards of 660lbs, stand 4ft tall, and grow 12ft long. That dwarfs other serious predators, like the lion. The largest tiger ever reached 932 pounds!

However, both of those cats pale in comparison to the elephant’s tremendous size. An elephant can weigh over 10,000lbs, stand 12ft tall, and grow to 21ft in length. Even if we’re just limiting to Asian elephants that overlap their range with tigers, the largest Asian elephant ever weighed more than 12,000 pounds! That is a massive animal!

The elephant receives the advantage for sheer size.

Tiger vs Elephant: Speed and Movement

The elephant can move quickly when it needs to charge and chase down an enemy, reaching a top speed of 25mph. However, it’s not a very agile animal.

The tiger can run at a blazing 40mph using a galloping sprint that helps it run down just about any other mammal on land. It’s a small wonder they’re apex predators in their range.

The tiger gets the advantage in speed and movement.

Tiger vs Elephant: Bite Power and Teeth

The tiger is a predator that relies on its biting force and large teeth to fell opponents. They can bite with a force of 1,000PSI, driving 3-inch teeth into enemies.

Elephants don’t use their teeth to fight, though. They’re herbivores that do not need sharp teeth or biting power.

Tigers get the advantage in bite power and teeth.

Tiger vs Elephant: Senses

The elephant has a great sense of hearing and smell as they are constantly looking for food to satisfy their large energy requirements. Tigers have far more impressive senses, though. They can see very well at night, use their vision to identify prey, and smell well enough to identify other animals’ markings. It should not be surprising that these predators have such acute senses.

The tiger has a distinct advantage in terms of senses.  

Tiger vs Elephant: Physical Defenses

The tiger’s defenses are not that profound because they are the meanest thing in their habitat. They’re simply too large and powerful to take on, and they have a terrifying roar that will send other animals scampering before a fight begins.

Likewise, elephants rely on their large size and tough skin to ward off predators even from a young age.  

The tiger and elephant tie in these circumstances.

Combat Skills

Deadliest Cats - Tiger
Tigers are ambush predators with a large arsenal of deadly weapons.

©dangdumrong/Shutterstock.com

Physical properties can certainly help decide who wins a bout, but the ability to hunt and kill another creature can make physical components matter less. Take a look at how the elephant and tiger fight against others.

Tiger vs Elephant: Offensive Capabilities

The elephant keeps its offensive measures simple: it stomps enemies to death or runs them through with tusks if they’re available.

Tigers have a larger arsenal for fighting. A swipe from their paw can stagger an opponent. Their claws can gash open prey and leave it bleeding to death. The tiger’s favorite offensive tool is a devastating and almost always fatal bite that drives its massive teeth into its prey’s neck.

The tiger has far better offensive capabilities.

Tiger vs Elephant: Predatory Behaviors

The elephant is not a predator, so it doesn’t go out of its way to attack others unless it’s threatened. In that case, it will charge an enemy, flip them over, and dispatch them.

Tigers are probably the most fearless ambush predator on the planet. They have no problems attacking larger creatures and even human beings. Tigers hide in tall grass or wooded areas and lurk until they can dash to their prey and kill it before it reacts. They often clamp their mouths around a prey’s throat and suffocate them while dealing serious damage.

Needless to say, the tiger gets the advantage for predatory behaviors.

What Are Key Differences Between a Tiger and an Elephant?

Apex predator: Tiger
Tigers are smaller than elephants, but they are much more aggressive.

©iStock.com/Ondrej Prosicky

Elephants are 20 feet tall and weigh 12,000 pounds, and tigers are 4 feet tall and weigh 600 pounds. Tigers are predatory carnivores and elephants are herbivores. In short, elephants are larger and gentler, but tigers are smaller and much more aggressive creatures.

Tigers are devastating hunters and fearlessly pursue a meal, even in human-populated areas!

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

A close-up of an African Bush Elephant at Colchester Zoo, UK.

©Millie Bond – Copyright A-Z Animals

An elephant would win in a tiger vs elephant fight. The tiger is undoubtedly a fierce beast, and it might stand the best chance out of all other land-dwelling animals of successfully hunting an adult elephant. Yet, the elephant’s size and power are simply indomitable.

Let’s imagine that the tiger stalks the elephant, which can smell and hear the tiger but not until the tiger has already leaped onto its back and dug in with its claws and teeth. The tiger is strong, but a lone cat can’t deal fatal damage to an elephant before the elephant ends the right.

An elephant can shake the tiger off and withstand the initial slam of the tiger into its body. Yet, the elephant will knock the tiger over or run it through at some point. Tigers are not agile enough to avoid an elephant forever.

All it takes is a piece of the tiger’s body to get caught under the elephant’s weight and the fight is over. The tiger will be crushed or stabbed to death. However, the chances are good that the elephant will be in bad shape after the fight. Enough deep gashes could leave them open to infection and lingering disabilities. A tiger could kill a juvenile elephant, though.

Animals That Could Take Down an Elephant

While an elephant would be able to win in a battle against a tiger, what would happen if other animals tried to take down an elephant?

It’s possible that a group of lionesses when hunting together as a pack could overpower an adult elephant. Lions are also a member of the African Big Five and typically only treat elephants as prey if food is scarce and an opportunity presents itself, such as if an elephant is weaker because it is young, old or sick. If they decide to attack, lions can go for female elephants, who are slightly easier targets as they are a smaller size than males and have shorter tusks.

If an adult elephant were to disturb a king cobra, the snake’s venom would be enough to kill it and a bite to an elephant’s trunk would be fatal.

When it comes to a baby elephant, several animals would be able to hunt and kill one. A tiger, a crocodile, a pack of hyenas, and a pack of wild dogs most likely could win in a fight with a juvenile elephant.

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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.

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