Triceratops vs Stegosaurus: Who Would Win in a Fight?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: May 30, 2022
© freestyle images/Shutterstock.com
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Dinosaur battles are exciting no matter which two creatures are fighting one another. While we may think that dinosaurs like T-rex and Giganotosaurus make for the best heavyweight bouts, even the herbivores were incredibly powerful and ferocious. After all, herbivores had to live side-by-side with monsters that stood over 20ft tall and could end their lives in a single bite. Today, we’re looking at a Triceratops vs Stegosaurus bout, a fight that features two of the toughest herbivores to ever live.

Let’s take a closer look at these two and determine which of them would win a fight against the other!

Comparing a Triceratops and a Stegosaurus

Triceratops had a larger size,

©A-Z-Animals.com

TriceratopsStegosaurus
SizeWeight: 12,000lbs-20,000lbs
Height: 9ft – 10ft
Length: 25ft – 30ft
Weight: 11,000lbs-15,400lbs
Height: 7ft-9ft at the hip, closer to 14ft tall overall
Length: 20ft-30ft
Speed and Movement Type– 20 mph
– Probably used an ungainly gallop
– 3.5-4.3 mph
Defenses– Massive size
– Powerful bones that resist damage to sensitive areas
– Bony frill prevents damage to the neck
– Had up to 22 dermal plates that rose from their back which may have been used for defense
– Strong, thick bones
– Large Size would scare some predators away
Offensive Capabilities– Used horns and ramming to topple and kill enemies
– May have fought against larger predators like T-rex
– Could potentially use its weight to stomp on foes
– Had two, 3-4ft-longhorns on the head
– Had a third horn measuring about 1ft-2ft long
– Would swing its tail and slam its thagomizer (tail spikes) into predators
–  Tail spikes measure between 2ft and 3ft

What Are Key Differences Between a Triceratops and a Stegosaurus?

Stegosaurus in Forest
Stegosaurus was a large herbivore whose body alignment is still up to debate.

©Warpaint/Shutterstock.com

The biggest differences between a Triceratops and a Stegosaurus include their attack powers and morphology. Triceratops was a three-horned quadrupedal dinosaur with a large frill made of bone and keratin protecting its neck that attacked by ramming itself into prey, and the Stegosaurus was a quadrupedal dinosaur with a small head, dermal plates sticking up from its back, and spikes on its long tail that the dinosaur used to ward off foes.

Knowing these differences is helpful because it gives us a broad idea of how these creatures would fight each other. Yet, we need to examine other key factors to figure out which animal is going to win this battle.

What Are the Key Factors in a Fight Between a Triceratops and a Stegosaurus?

Triceratops vs. Elephant - Triceratops charging
Triceratops had very large horns that could kill predators.

©freestyle images/Shutterstock.com

Aside from the differences between Triceratops and Stegosaurus, we must also look at other elements to determine the winner of their fight. Knowing how they attack, we need to know other data such as size, speed, and defenses.

Only by considering all this data and finding out which dinosaur has different advantages over the other can we declare a winner with any certainty.

Triceratops vs Stegosaurus: Size

Triceratops was larger than the Stegosaurus on average. A Triceratops could weigh as much as 20,000lbs, grow 10ft tall, and measure 30ft long as an adult. However, the Stegosaurus would only reach a weight of about 15,400lbs, grow 14ft tall at its utmost, and measured 30ft long with its tail.

The Triceratops has a size advantage in this situation.

Triceratops vs Stegosaurus: Speed and Movement

The Triceratops was faster than the Stegosaurus by a large margin. Stegosaurus was a slow animal that could only move at about 4.3 mph. However, the Triceratops could reach speeds of 20 mph, using an ungainly gallop to reach this speed.

Triceratops has the speed advantage in this fight.

Triceratops vs Stegosaurus: Defenses

Both Stegosaurus and Triceratops were large dinosaurs with strong bones that gave them great defenses against most attacks. Yet, both creatures still had unique defenses.

In particular, Stegosaurus had between 14 and 22 dermal plates that erupted from its back in two rows. These plates could measure a few inches to several feet in length. Although the function of these plates may have been related to thermoregulation, they may have also served a purpose in defense.

The Triceratops had a unique defensive structure in the form of the bony frill that grew from the back of its head and covered a portion of its neck. Again, we’re not entirely sure if the frill was for defense, thermoregulation, to absorb damage while charging, or similar to deer antlers that use antlers for display purposes and defense.

Either way, Triceratops had a significant level of protection for its otherwise vulnerable neck. Also, the dinosaur had speed and size to help it fend off predators.

These two dinosaurs are tied for defenses.

Triceratops vs Stegosaurus: Offensive Capabilities

The Triceratops had significant offensive powers even though it was a non-predatory dinosaur. This creature would charge predators and use its large weight and massive horns to harm them. Not only could this dinosaur knock others over, but their horns measured up to 4ft long, more than enough to cause fatal damage to predators.

Stegosaurus is a little more limited with its offensive capabilities. They cannot use their dermal plates to attack, but they could use their tails. The end of their long tails has four spikes that measure about 2-3ft long each. When they are swung into another creature, they cause serious damage.

Triceratops has superior offensive capabilities and the advantage in this situation.  

Who Would Win in a Fight Between a Triceratops and a Stegosaurus?

A Triceratops would beat a Stegosaurus in a fight. The thing about Stegosaurus was that it had a very small head and brain. It may not realize it was in danger until its enemy was nearly upon it. Even then, accurately swinging its tail in such a way as to cause fatal damage to another dinosaur was hard to do.

Some discoveries have shown that Stegosaurus was able to injure an Allosaurus in a fight. Yet, the Triceratops’ attack isn’t like that of a monster that would get close and bite the Stegosaurus. Instead, the Triceratops would charge in and push its horns deep into the side of the Stegosaurus.

If the Triceratops landed that initial attack, the Stegosaurus would die and probably not launch a counterattack. Otherwise, it will turn into a melee between the two creatures. The Stegosaurus may have a chance to bury its spikes into the Triceratops, but the better and more likely scenario is that the more deliberate and well-aimed Triceratops horns puncture the Stegosaurus’ organs, and it dies.


The Featured Image

triceratops
Triceratops, dinosaur reptile stomping, prehistoric Jurassic animal isolated on white background, 3D illustration
© freestyle images/Shutterstock.com

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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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