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Lions Vs. Tigers: REAL King of Beasts

Updated on March 17, 2010

Overview: Big Cat Family

Both the Lion and Tiger belong to the feline or cat family. Although much larger in size and every physical proportion than our domestic friends, the house cat, these two animals share the same overall breed. Their habitats range from the thick jungles of Asia to the open plains of Africa where both predators reign supreme among other land carnivores in their respective regions. Compared to the other members in the big cat family, the cheetah, leopard and jaguar; the lion and tiger are the largest.

In this article I will pose the question to you, the reader, "who is the REAL king of the Beasts?"

I have included video footage to support this argument and will try not to lean in favor of the option I personally chose. However, without seeing these animals in their environment and natural habitat, behavioral patterns and true comparisons are hard to distinguish without scientific evidence and research.

the Lion

In this corner...

The lion is the second largest member of the big cat family behind none other than the tiger. Male lions can weigh up to 550 lbs (250 kg) and are the primary means of protection for it's territory. Lions live in social groups called prides that can range anywhere from 10-30 members, including lionesses and cubs. In fact, out of all the members in the big cat family, the lion is the only member who lives, hunts and eats together as a group.

The existing habitat for the lion has dramatically decreased through centuries of dehabitation, human overpopulation and poaching. Their territories used to spread throughout much of Southwest Asia and practically the whole continent of Africa. Now however, lions are limited to small regions in Africa, mainly the sub-Sahara and the Gir Forest National Park in India where only about 300 are believed to reside.

Lions live roughly anywhere from 10-14 years in the wild, and up to 20 years in captivity. With little fear of any natural enemies, lions, like tigers roam freely and eat almost anything at will. Though their prey selection varies by region, both are accredited to being very strong predators and tackle prey often times, more than twice their size.

Lions on the Hunt

the Tiger

Only the Strong...

 The Tiger (panthera tigris) is the largest member of the big cat family and are destinctive in their appearance with stripes on their bodies that help camouflage the tiger with it's surroundings. Like the smaller leopard, no two tigers have the same pattern of stripes which helps distinguish between one another. The male tiger can exceed weights of up to 660 lbs (300 kg) and has no known natural threat (other than man) in it's habitat.

Tigers are solitary animals, and live and hunt alone unlike the lion which lives in a group called a pride. They are very territorial and display aggressive gestures by which to defend it.

Tigers range from the Siberian taiga and snow covered landscapes to tropical forested areas and grasslands. The Bengal tiger is the most numerous of the tiger subspecies and the Siberian tiger is the largest.

There aren't many animals that resides in the tiger's habitat that can't be regarded as a potential meal. Their prey ranges from wild pigs and rabbits to the largest species of cattle in the world called the Gaur. Because of the tiger's natural habitat (mostly woodland areas), tigers rely on stealth and speed to surprise their prey.

By far, one of the most spectacular displays of beauty and strength can be found watching a tiger hunt.

Tiger Kill

Beautiful Dagger
Beautiful Dagger

So who wins?

So far we have discussed the various prey and habitats of both the tiger and lion. One species prefers solitude while the other are more adapt to a social lifestyle. Both the lion and tiger are fearless predators with high maternal and territorial instincts that truly make them rulers over their kingdoms.

So what is the verdict? Who truly reigns supreme over the big cat family, both in size and strength?

  • The tiger can exceed weights of up to 600 lbs but in only one subspecies, the Siberian tiger.
  • The lion hunts primarily in a group of other lions called the pride and live on wide open grasslands, whereas the tiger prefers thick woodlands for cover.
  • Both the lion and tiger are top land preditorial animals in their respective domains.
  • The tiger is the largest member of the big cat family with the lion in second place.

The fighting styles of these animals are mainly displayed through territorial and mating encounters. Because of different habitats, strengths vary as do prey, with the lion being more adapt to longer and intense fights with neighboring prides and other predators, such as the hyena. The tiger, however, does not have as much competition or opposing threats as the lion.

The wildebeast, zebra and water buffalo are among the normal diet of the African lion and although they hunt in numbers, lions are more than capable of bringing down prey by themselves. The tiger hunts relatively smaller animals such as warthog and deer but are more agile than lions and bring down large prey as well.

The argument however, cannot be won on the pages of debate forums, nor can it be solved by uneducated arguments that defend that person's idea of the superior animal. Regardless though, it makes for a great debate on the mightier of these two beasts. Who is king?

The smarter fighter?

Claw Strength

And the polls say?

Who wins in a fight between the lion and tiger?

See results

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    • profile image

      Ross wind 14 months ago

      HERE THE RESPONSE

      1- Did you ever know that a tiger fights other tigers more than a lion fighting other lions?

      Answer: Tigers do fight but it is exceptional. Most serious specialists will tell you that in general tigers avoid fighting. Most mature tigers have very little fighting marks. In contrary the male lions, the lioness and even the cubs are full of marks! Your source of information is likely full of propaganda.

      2- Tigers are way stronger; they HAVE to be. They hunt prey six to seven times their own size. Have you researched on the attitude of Bengal tigers? Those things are like, "Oh! Another croc for breakfast!"

      Answer: Tigers are strong yes, stronger no. Facts are in average Lions hunts larger prey than tigers. Tigers have a lower level of courage. They rarely do frontal attacks they are in general rear attackers with is far less dangerous. Tigers do occasionally kill crocs yes but never by the front it is by the back. You are contradicting yourself about “the Bengal tiger attitude” by acknowledged they can back off in front of a cheetah (the weakest of the big cats) which the mighty lion will never do. The tigers mighty paws? Did you notice that tigers rarely used their paws to kill prey and even when they fight each other?

      3- The lion as the attitude of a king and rule like a king too.

      Answer : You put a black mane lion with tigers in the same enclosure. The lion will dominate the tigers and will control the food. Tigers are by instinct afraid of a mature male lion. Tigers are often seen submitted to a male lion. You are right the mature male lion don’t back away when confront to a tiger. He is fearless. Lions are more furious than tigers and fight mush more often but do not always fight to kill it is true. Lions are unique and are known to sometimes spare life. Nevertheless tigers often avoid fights while lions rarely do.

      4- Tigers kill the Indian Gaur, single-handedly.

      Answer : Many specialists wrote that tigers rarely attacks healthy adult gaurs and surely not by the front. When there were many lions in India Kailash Sankhala wrote that whatever the tiger killed so the lion. Having a lot of mouth to feed lions hunts more often so face danger more often. Plus lions and lionesses do frontal attacks on one of the most aggressive preys on earth the powerful Cape buffalo.

      5- Lion hunt rarely.

      Answer: Male lion hunts rarely in an open field for the simple reason there are easily detectable and slower than the lionesses. In the savannahs speed is very important. In a 2013 study with modern technologies, it was found out that the male lion hunts in different territories were there is more vegetation for cover. Statistic shows males have the same average of success as the lioness but hunt the slower but larger preys. The majority of the male lion kills were adult male cape buffalo. The study shows that lions and lionesses only hunt as a pride 48-50% of the time they hunt as single or duo the rest of the time. There are many videos of a single lion kills on the net. There are many videos of male lion hunting as well.

      6- The tiger is more agile.

      Answer : Yes he is more agile and a stronger jumper too. The tiger is built for fast kills. The lion is not as agile he is built to use more muscle power.

      CONCLUSION

      Like you saw in the many lion vs tiger fight links in general in fair fights a healthy male lion will win most of the time against a tiger.

    • profile image

      Anonymous 20 months ago

      Tiger is the true king of beasts. And who says that they aren't warriors? Did you ever know that a tiger fights other tigers more than a lion fighting other lions? Do some research, people, and get real.

      Tigers are way stronger; they HAVE to be. They hunt prey six to seven times their own size. Have you researched on the attitude of Bengal tigers? Those things are like, "Oh! Another croc for breakfast!"

      And it is a natural instinct of the tiger to prevent unnecessary mess. So let alone a lion, a tiger could back away from even a Cheetah, if its mighty paw swipe didn't kill it already. But provoke it and it'll show the other guy who's boss!! Lions actually fight less, guys, coz they prefer sleeping. Even if there was an intruder, the present king would try to appear more big and bad. Such bluffs normally work and therefore fights do not happen as much as you think. Even if they happen, they aren't for the kill. Lions don't back away from fights simply because they are more social than tigers and have an attitude of a King. But just an attitude doesn't make one King.

      When a tiger fights, it fights for KILLING, understand? And tigers ARE more ferocious. They directly leap for the throat. Lions don't get serious from the beginning.

      And yes, tigers can crunch up fully grown tortoises like they were nothing. So it's illogical to say that a lion's mane would protect it from a tiger's bite. A mane is just a mass of hair, and what is hair compared to a tough shell of a tortoise?

      Tigers kill the largest cattle on Earth, the Indian Gaur, single-handedly. The much smaller African bison requires 3 to 4 lionesses.

      And a lion hunts rarely so its strength isn't kept up. On the other hand, it is every tiger for itself. The tiger hasn't got a bunch of women to hunt for the pride. So the tiger is also physically fitter and therefore stronger. It simply HAS to be stronger and more agile.

      So guys, tiger owns it all.

      TIGER IS THE REAL KING OF BEASTS.

    • profile image

      Ross Wind 2 years ago

      LION VS. TIGER HISTORICAL BATTLES

      1-Black and white film tiger lion fight. Tiger loose retreats lion running after.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MRLYzRvYkE

      2-Black and white film lion wins, run after tiger, tiger laid down injured or died.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqEiDjsrHUE

      3-Jingle Jim black and white movie lion winner run after tiger

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYSWIzhS_Rw

      4- Black and white film Sub adult male lion with little mane defeat tiger, again lion run after tiger

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYSWIzhS_Rw

      5- 1929 black and white film Gir forest old lion kill tiger

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJhd4F6YO90

      6- THE 1933 BIG CAGE FILM THE WHOLE STORY

      First found the whole scene clean images versions. In the Big Cage scenes in few occasions the tiger tried to escaped but the lion ran often him. In nature when a tiger face serious opposition he retreats. The tiger (s) did the same. He knew he could not defeat and sense his life was in danger. A frame by frame examination on versions that have clear images, shows in a few occasions, the tiger retained momentarily the lion on the grown by his mane. Details of this scene was lather explained in the newspapers (The Milwaukee journal July 18, 1962 ). The black mane lion face not one put three tigers in a row. The lion killed so fasts the first and second tigers that they did not have enough footage. A third tiger was send and the male lion still had enough of energy in him. If I remember correctly, the last tiger tried to escape too. The keepers manages to stop the fight when the lion was held down by his mane again. Now all 4 performing male big cats used by Beatty were born in the wild and were in top shape.

      THE TIGER EXPERT KAILASH SANKHALA

      One of the greatest tiger expert was Kailash Sankhala (1925-1994) known as "The Tiger Man of India". The tiger was his favourite animal. From his 1970's book, he had studied tigers for many years and when to the Gir forest too. There are only 10 to 12 regions in the whole India that can suits the lions needs. Once, these few dispersed places were eventually all occupied by lions. To do so lions had to pass through the tiger's moist regions first. Kailash Sankhala wrote that the lions took the territories away from the tigers. Before lions were exterminated by men, tigers totally disappeared from these regions. On page 119 Kailash Sankhala had the honesty to state in a fair fight on a one on one combat a tiger is no match for a lion he added that a tiger will avoid a lion.

      The title lion "king of the jungle" come from India a tiger land. The Lion "king of the beasts" comes from "Mesopotamia" a tiger land too.

    • profile image

      Ross Wind 2 years ago

      There are many physical reasons in favour of the male Lion. Here a few of then, lions are taller at the shoulders. They have stronger shoulders, neck and more powerful front legs. The lion's body is more compact, as a larger chess, his bones are thinner but are the strongest on earth. Strong bones is needed to hold ultra powerful muscles. Small bones means more place for muscles. A same age and size healthy male lion and tiger, the lion will be the stronger and heavier. They are no mammal on earth more muscular than a lion. In combat the Lion's blows are harder.

    • profile image

      lion expert202 2 years ago

      you are fools for chosing tiger.tigers have no chance of winning 98.9 percent of lions wins a ful grown lion is capable of killing a leopards,cheetahs,crocodiles and any other apex predator evenan of guard elephants,giraffes,a fully grown hippos and rhinos a cave lion is capable of preying on all the apex predator except polar bear.A male lion is a warrior not a killer so a lion is truely the king of beast and can kil a tiger with a single paw swipe so lion is dominant over a tiger

    • Taranwanderer profile image

      Taranwanderer 2 years ago

      Great stuff! I've always been interested in fights (theoretical, of course) between lions and tigers. https://hubpages.com/education/Wild-Cats-Facts-Abo...

    • profile image

      Ramesses 3 years ago

      TIGER

      Weight: 150 to 650 pounds. Length: 6.5 to 10 feet. Height: 2.5 to 3.5 feet at shoulder

      Speed: Average: 45 mph. Top: 51 mph

    • profile image

      Elykoi 4 years ago

      It's amazing how misinformation since childhood can cloud peoples judgment despite overwhelming evidence that the TIGER is the APEX PREDATOR! Yeah, I'll give it to the Lion as the King of the Jungle, but that's for some nursery Lion King perhaps. Tigger is the real beast and it just amazes me how some people stay in constant and perpetual state of denial. To sum it up, just listen to the "EYE OF THE TIGER" song!

    • profile image

      sailam 4 years ago

      TIGER is the largest carnivore on land.it can kill almost all apex predators like crocs,bear, leopard...

      There is no chance for lions to kill an healthy adult ferocious tiger.

    • profile image

      Trapper 4 years ago

      I think a tigress will fight more ferociously to a lion than a tiger..

    • profile image

      josh 4 years ago

      No crap they roam freely with no fear, their prey is way smaller then that of a lion. Lions are the better fighters, a tiger would be able to get the killing bite to the neck on a lion because of its mane. The lion isn't going to sit there and watch the tiger try to kill it. The lion is faster and its swipe is stronger, it will find an opening and kill the tiger as soon as it finds it.

    • profile image

      guy 4 years ago

      Tiger would own the crap out of a lion only match for a tiger would be a polar bear maybe a silverback just maybe but tigers are like spartans no way thell lose Tigers true king of beasts

    • profile image

      abc 4 years ago

      tiger are most powerfull cats in the world. they can prey bears,crocodiles,leopard and also lions when not enough food to eat.

      so,tiger wins.

    • profile image

      fjkh 5 years ago

      always tiger is king and beat the lions

    • profile image

      yasmin 5 years ago

      The Lion is the King of the JUNGLE!!! THERE FOR HE WINS! He stands for strength, courage and power! The lion take the cake and he knows no fear.

    • R.Edwards profile image
      Author

      R.Edwards 5 years ago

      Some of these comments are amusing, stating science research in "fight labs" as a legitimate reason to say whether or not either animal would come out victorious. I'm not sure if there are any actual footages of these animals fighting, and the ones you see on youtube are fictional, most at conservationalist parks where the two animals engage in friendly sparring, NOT FIGHTS!!! The prey that these two animals take down cannot be compared either, Tigers don't have to run after their prey for long distances tiring them out which makes the Lion HAVE to have members of its' pride help out. Tigers hunt in stealth, surprise attacks, much like the leopard so they have to be heavier to knock their prey down in an instant, duh!!! Lions have to be smaller, much hotter climate and has to have the agility to run longer distances, making its physical makeup slimmer and more leaner than the tiger, another "duhhh!!!" statement. If you were to put these two animals in a closed in room, the Tiger would probably win, it doesn't fit the Lion's habitat. Also vice verse, if you put these two animals in a wide open area where there is tall grass and open space the Lion would win probably, again, doesn't fit the Tiger's natural habitat. Here's an option, put them on a boat in the middle of the ocean....now there's a match!!!

    • profile image

      troytigerfan 5 years ago

      lions have been king long time but they never put the tiger in because they think the lion is bigger but that is wrong its the lions mane that makes him bigger ,and lions are cowards of tigers ,thats most often yea they have been king for thousands of years but i dont blame the he is a natural killer and the lion was probably picked to be king naturaly but it should have been the tiger because the tiger is a fighter and a winner

    • profile image

      troytigerfan 5 years ago

      well first of all i seen plenty of tigers and lions fight only reason they put the lion as king is because of its mane so if more people saw videos of tigers and lions they would pick tiger because they take down bigger prey alone and usally win against lions so choose

    • profile image

      Nazer Ali Sultani 5 years ago

      Lion have been the king for thausand of years, and they the king

    • profile image

      AERONTHELIONFAN 5 years ago

      this is for all tiger fans watch this video about your fave cat killed by the king of beasts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqE0KwhS26M

    • profile image

      Aeronso25 5 years ago

      well this is for you tiger fans have you seen a tiger killing a lion?? not likely i agree with you that lions run away from a fight with tigers watch this one male lion scares three tigers but watch this instead http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ML7I-Mhsp-c

    • profile image

      AERON25 5 years ago

      Well this is for you all tiger fans have you seen a tiger kill a lion watch this video instead yeah i agree that lions run away from a fight with tigers but lions really win watch this video instead http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiJxtQ-Rmzs

    • profile image

      Shane 5 years ago

      Tigers are the largest of the living cats and size does matter. Tigers have the ability to bring down the world's largest cattle "the Gaur" single handed which weighs over 1000 kilos. Also, Tigers have been known to attack fully grown elephants and not to forget has brown bears too in their menu. Imagine their power and wrath! A lion doing this alone just forget about it. It takes a pride of lions(that too female lionesses), to bring down a cape buffalo weighing 800 kilos.

      Tigers are the king of beasts.

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      rishi 5 years ago

      Tiger and lion should both be king

    • profile image

      Arjun 5 years ago

      Tigers' are undeniably an embodiment of strength & more ferocious & aggressive. Tigers single handed can bring down a gaur over 1000 kgs & drag the carcass without any problem. By contrast it requires a pride of lions to bring down a buffalo let alone pulling the carcass single handed, besides Tigers are known to hunt where as lionesses do the hunting.

      Yes lions are string but no match when compared to the brute strength, might & ferocity of a Tiger.

      Truly the Tiger rules :)

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      Michael Israel 5 years ago

      Friends friends, this debate has gone on for centuries, and the only reason these arguments still hold water, is because no matter which cat is better, we are still going to favor the one that we Want to be the best. I have watched so many clips on tigers battling Lions, both are natural born killers, and both hunt similar prey, however prey can very in size in favor of both the Lion and the Tiger. However, if you want to figure out which is the best over all, than you need to find each one's attribute to a warrior. A Lion is better armed than a a tiger, this can give an advantage if the tiger tries to go for the throat. The Tiger has much more over-all fur than the Lion. The blinding boxes of the tiger are much quicker than the Lion, but the Lion's Boxes are stronger, and could knock a tiger down. Tigers can attack bears (though they prefer not to make it a regular thing) and other large animals, however, the tactic that a tiger uses for hunting, or attacking large prey is the pounce, and stealth. The Tiger is bigger and heavier than the Lion, and when it pounces, or drops from a tree, it puts all its weight on that animal. Now, imagine a tiger in a Lion's habitat, the tactics that it normally uses would be impossible on the African plains, there would not be much stealth, and pouncing would be a rare option. But put a Lion in a Tiger's habitat, it would be much easier for him, because, normally, it is at 20 from his prey before he leaps out and attacks, while a tiger is (normally) within striking distance before it considers attacking. When a Lion hunts, it (unlike a Tiger) will chase its prey for an elongated time, and after the chase, will pull it to the ground an bite the throat, rather than wait within striking or pouncing distance and then attack. So, you decide which one is over-all better

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      alyssakollar 5 years ago

      who thinks a tiger is tuffer under put yes or no lions suck

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      nadztar 5 years ago

      The tiger would win. First of all, it is larger and longer than the lion, which gives it the size and weight advantage. It's skull is shorter and broader than the lion's, giving it a stronger bite force. The lion has it's mane to protect it's neck, but the tiger will not only go for the neck. It's hind legs are stronger than the lion's, which gives it the option to stand on both legs and hit with it's front paws. The lion does not have this option, and will only stand on it's back legs and hit with one paw at a time. Tigers have also been known to kill adult brown bears. Lions can't hand giraffes alone, which comes to the point that tigers could defeat lions most of the time.

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 5 years ago from United States

      That is really great comparison..Awesome hub

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      Supernovah 5 years ago

      Most video that I have seen between lions & tigers (with the exception of biased edited video), the lion wins! tigers are great cats second only to the lion. Tigers are bigger but they lack the mane that a lion has. Lions are the protectors of the pride so their bred or their nature is to fight not hunt, they are fighters & killers & seem to be more ferocious in most exchanges between lions & tigers. While tigers are predators & their aggression is mostly based on a kill to eat. Tigers are built for predatory reason while lions are built & made to fight & kill by nature. Both animals take down much larger prey even tho the tigers might take down larger prey which is in their nature their make up isn’t to fight much larger aggressive animals or even in some instances smaller animals or really any animals…their predators. I will never forget the video that I watched on youtube.com in which a tiger & I believe a leopard did battle & the leopard gave that tiger all he could handle, pretty even fight while a lion would anihilate a leopard. If you artificially match up a tiger, lion battle by shaving a lions mane yes the tiger might defeat the lion but all & all a lion would come out on top if they go to war with both lion & tiger if you did not shave his mane.

    • profile image

      LighT 6 years ago

      I have watched many videos for tiger vs lions , Obviously tigers are the strongest , I have seen tigers fighting crocodiles in water and lions running from wild cattle . Tigers rule over lions

    • profile image

      sharon 6 years ago

      lion is the king of beasts.no one can defeat the through a fight.

    • darkjesu profile image

      darkjesu 6 years ago

      tigers are bigger than the lions and it is undeniable but they have lacking of courage to fight,they would often run away in a fight unlike to the lions.Lions are fearless and much aggressive than the tigers.I think lions would win over the tigers.

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      Muhammad Arif 6 years ago

      U know 1 thing that the tiger is known to have attacked on full grown elephants in India to grizzlies in Russia

    • profile image

      kjp 6 years ago

      i like the imformation you said, but i think you are contradicting yourself. one moment you are saying the lion take down bigger prey than the tiger, next you saying tigers take down big prey as well. forgive me if i am wrong! but what big prey can the tiger take down?

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      gary 7 years ago

      i think tiger is most powerful animal in the world they have no fear, they roam in the jungle quite freely no one is their natural predator he can dominate anyone he wants in his territory i have a reason for that if a lion get injured somehow he can still be alive by stoling some meat from his brother or sisters but for a tiger he has to fight alone take their prey down whether he is injured or not they are actually self responsible,

      if i give u another reason you commented in your documentary that lion hunts larger prey but i want to tell u that larger downs larger prey like biggest cattle in the world gaur and big brown bear also without any help so i hope you will just think on my comment