Triceratops vs T-Rex: Who Would Win in a Fight?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: October 20, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/leonello
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T-Rex and Triceratops were two incredibly powerful dinosaurs that roamed the Earth together some 65-68 million years ago. The T-Rex is often considered one of the most powerful, terrifying carnivores to ever live. The triceratops was an herbivore that had all the power needed to defeat enemies and ensure it could live a peaceful life. What happens if we pitted these two against each other in the heavyweight bout to end them all: triceratops vs T-Rex?

We have some fossil records to give us clues, but we’re going to rely on data and educated guesses about each creature to tell us which one would likely walk away from a fight alive. Discover which of these mammoth beasts is tougher than the other.

Comparing a Triceratops and a T-Rex

Triceratops vs T-Rex 1280x720
T-rex vs. triceratops pits two of the most iconic dinosaurs against one another.

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TriceratopsT-Rex
SizeWeight: 12,000lbs-20,000lbs
Height: 9ft – 10ft
Length: 25ft – 30ft
Weight: 11,000-15,000lbs
Height: 12-20ft
Length: 40ft
Speed and Movement Type– 20 mph
– Probably used an ungainly gallop
17 mph
-bipedal striding
Horns or Teeth– Has two, 4ft horns on the head
– Has a third horn, about 1ft-2ft long  
17,000lbf bite power
– 50-60 D-shaped serrated teeth
– 12-inch teeth
Senses– Most likely had a good sense of smell
– Could hear low frequencies
– Somewhat good sight but restricted to front-facing eyesight.
– A very strong sense of smell
– Powerful vision with very large eyes
– Great hearing
Defenses– Massive size
– Powerful bones resist damage to the skull  
– Massive size
– Running speed
Offensive Capabilities– Used horns and ramming to topple and kill enemies.
– Could potentially use its weight to stomp on foes.    
– Bone-crushing bites
– Speed to chase down enemies  
Predatory Behavior– Herbivore that may have been territorial
– Evidence suggests frequent ramming contests against other triceratopses.
– Possibly a devastating predator that could kill smaller creatures with ease
– Potentially a scavenger

The Key Factors in a Fight Between a Triceratops and a T-Rex

Dinosaurs
The winner of a triceratops vs T-Rex fight would be based on speed, power, and killer instincts.

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Deciding whether the T-Rex or triceratops would be the winner of a fight requires an examination of the most important factors of each dinosaur. We have decided that comparing five physical dimensions and the combat abilities of each creature will grant us enough insight to say which of them would win a fight.

Take a look at the advantages each dinosaur has over the other and learn how they would leverage their bodies and skills to battle.  

Physical Features of a Triceratops and a T-Rex

Triceratops is shorter but heavier than the T-Rex

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The triceratops and T-Rex were both massive creatures, but size alone does not tell us the whole tale of the tape. Instead, we must examine several other facets of these creatures’ being to get a clearer picture of which dinosaur is more powerful. Discover the advantages that each dinosaur would have in a fight to the death.  

Triceratops vs T-Rex: Size

The T-Rex was a massive, bipedal creature that weighed up to 15,000lbs, stood 20ft tall, and grew to lengths of 40ft. Not to be outmatched, the triceratops was a quadruped that could weigh 20,000lbs, measure 30ft long, and grow 10ft tall at the shoulder.

The T-Rex was bigger than the triceratops and has the overall advantage in size.

Triceratops vs T-Rex: Speed and Movement

Triceratops was rather speedy for a creature its size, capable of using an ungainly gallop to reach a top speed of 20mph. Tyrannosaurus Rex could only reach 17mph using a bipedal stride.

Triceratopses are faster than T-Rex, and they have the advantage in speed.

Triceratops vs T-Rex - Face Off

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Triceratops vs T-Rex: Horns or Teeth

Triceratops and T-Rex used different methods for an attack, so we are going to compare each. The triceratops has three horns on its head, two 4-ft horns and one, 1-ft horn.

T-Rex was a terrifying carnivore that had 17,000lbf bite power and up to 60 teeth that measured 12-inches long. It could bite deeply into just about anything.

For sheer attack power, the T-Rex has the advantage because of its amazing bite.

Triceratops vs T-Rex: Senses

Good senses prevent other creatures from launching an effective ambush. T-Rex had a great sense of vision along with a powerful sense of smell and hearing. Triceratops had limited vision, low-frequency hearing, and a good sense of smell.

T-Rex was better-equipped in terms of senses.

Triceratops vs T-Rex: Physical Defenses

Both the triceratops and the T-Rex relied on their massive size and running speed to keep them safe from predators. Triceratops also had an extra-powerful skull to help them survive trauma.

Triceratops was slightly faster and had powerful bones in the vital area that is the head, so it gets the advantage in terms of physical defenses.

Combat Skills of a Triceratops and a T-Rex

Allosaurus vs T-Rex - T-Rex Battle
T-Rex is a vicious fighter that uses its teeth to kill enemies.

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The T-Rex was a monster that would find, pursue, and kill creatures with relative ease. It only needed to land a single powerful bite to do fatal damage to most creatures. Moreover, they hunted throughout their lives, giving them a lot of experience identifying the weak points of other creatures and using that information to their advantage. In other words, they knew where to bite as well as how to bite.

Triceratops did not hunt, but evidence shows that it likely clashed against another triceratops like rams do today. That means they knew how to use their horns offensively; they’re more than decoration. Their combat skills would likely include charging and then looking to attack enemies in their vital areas.

T-Rex was a far better fighter and killer overall, so it gets the advantage.

What Are Key Differences Between a Triceratops and a T-Rex?

Triceratops vs T-Rex: Showdown
T-Rex vs. Triceratops would have pit two massive dinosaurs against one another.

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Triceratopses are heavier than T-Rex, and they are quadrupedal while T-Rex was bipedal. T-Rex was taller and longer than the triceratops, and it was a carnivore while the triceratops was an herbivore.

T-Rex hunted with its massive teeth and triceratops would only fight using a powerful charge that put its horns first. These are the key differences between the two creatures, and they give insight into how each dinosaur would approach a battle.

Who Would Win in a Fight Between a Triceratops and a T-Rex?

Triceratops vs. Elephant - Triceratops charging
Triceratops would win a fight against T-Rex

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A triceratops would beat a T-Rex in a fight. That answer might be surprising, but we can’t just consider the T-Rex’s strengths in this situation. We have to consider its weaknesses.

The T-Rex is taller, longer, and deadlier with its killing instincts, but it is helpless if it gets knocked over. Perhaps no other creature is well-suited enough for the task of bowling over and killing a T-Rex than the triceratops.

If these two creatures fought on an open plain, the fight would begin with a charge toward one another because that is the only thing a triceratops knows how to do. Remember that triceratops is heavier and faster, so it smashes into the T-Rex with a much greater force. The triceratops is quadrupedal and much more balanced on the ground compared with the bipedal, unwieldy T-Rex. When it meets the T-Rex, a few things could occur:

  • T-rex is knocked over and the triceratops drives 2, 4-ft horns into its lungs, heart, viscera, or head while it’s fruitlessly trying to get up
  • The triceratops’ horns penetrate directly into the T-Rex as it tries to counter
  • The T-Rex times its attack perfectly and bites the triceratops on the neck, either preventing a counterattack or getting hurt by the counter

In any of these most likely scenarios, the T-Rex either earns a victory that leaves it severely injured or dies in the attempt to kill a triceratops. That is not to say the T-Rex couldn’t kill this dinosaur, but it would need to come at it from a safer angle than head-on. That is hard to do to a faster enemy.

Up Next:

Triceratops vs T-Rex: Showdown

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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.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What other dinosaurs had horns?

Beyond the Triceratops, a number of other dinosaur species had horns. Predators such as Ceratosaurus and Carnotaurus had horns and were large therapods like T-Rex. Other relatives of Triceratops include Styracosaurus and Monoclonius.

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