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Gorilla vs. African Elephant: Who Would Prevail in a Fight Between These Two Giants?


There are few sights in nature quite as breathtaking as a gorilla vs. an African elephant in their natural habitats. These incredible mammals have an immense presence and fascinating behaviors that make them some of the most awe-inspiring creatures on the planet. But when it comes to a head-to-head matchup, which beast reigns supreme? 

The gorilla is known for its immense strength and agility, while the African elephant boasts imposing size and incredible intelligence. Both animals have unique diets and habitats that contribute to their survival in the wild. So, which is truly the king of the jungle? It’s up to us to take a side and examine the characteristics of each to see which emerges victorious in the battle of gorillas vs African elephants.

 Gorilla vs. African Elephant

Comparison Table: Gorilla vs. African Elephant

GorillaAfrican Elephant
Scientific nameGorillaLoxodonta africana
HabitatDense forests of AfricaSavannas and forests of Africa
SizeHeight: 4-5.5 ft (1.2-1.7 m) Weight: 300-485 lbs (136-220 kg)Height: Up to 13 ft (4 m) Weight: Up to 14,000 lbs (6,350 kg)
DietHerbivorous, mostly fruit and leavesHerbivorous, mainly grasses, leaves, and bark
Social structureLives in groups called troops, led by a dominant male silverbackLives in herds led by a matriarchal female
CommunicationVocalizations and body language, including chest beating and vocalized barksVocalizations including trumpeting, rumbling, and growling
Endangered StatusEndangered, with a decreasing population due to habitat loss and huntingVulnerable, with a decreasing population due to habitat loss and poaching for ivory
LifespanUp to 35-50 years in the wildUp to 60-70 years in the wild

Introducing Africa’s Biggest Beasts – Gorillas vs. African Elephants 

Size & Strength: 

Gorillas are the largest primates on the planet, with the potential to reach heights of up to 6 feet and weigh between 300 to 400 pounds. African elephants are the world’s largest land animals, growing up to 13 feet tall and weighing up to 7 tons. Though gorillas may be smaller than elephants, they have enormous strength, with an estimated 2,000 pounds of ground-level pulling power. An elephant’s trunk alone can lift a staggering 550 pounds! 


The main dietary preference of gorillas is herbivory, where they eat a variety of plant-based foods such as fruits, leaves, stems, roots, and bark. African elephants are herbivores that mostly eat grasses, leaves, fruits, twigs, and bark. They often supplement their diets with soil for minerals or tree bark for salt. 


Gorillas live in tropical or subtropical forests of central Africa and inhabit areas between 400-3200m above sea level. African elephants wander savannas, woodlands, and forests of sub-Saharan Africa at elevations between 1-2 miles high. 

Behaviour & Abilities: 

Gorillas often live in family groups led by a dominant silverback male responsible for protecting the group from predators. They communicate through specific vocalizations, such as grunts and barks, as well as facial expressions and body language. African elephants have complex social structures within herds led by matriarchal females who form strong family bonds with their young ones. They also use sound to communicate–their low-frequency calls can travel long distances! Plus, they have incredible memories that help them remember important things like food sources or migration routes for years after experiencing them just once.

Size Matters – Which Is Larger, The Gorilla vs. African Elephant

  • The African elephant is much larger than the gorilla. An adult male African elephant can grow up to 13 feet (4 meters) tall and weigh up to 7 tons (6,300 kilograms). On the other hand, an adult male gorilla stands at around 5.5 feet (1.7 meters) tall and can weigh up to 400 pounds (182 kilograms). 
  • African elephants are also longer than gorillas, with their trunk usually measuring between 6–9 feet (1.8–2.7 meters). However, when extended, the gorilla’s arms and legs may be longer than an African elephant’s. 
  • Regarding bulk and muscle mass, gorillas have the advantage over elephants. Although they look more slender than powerful-looking elephants, gorillas are strong and agile due to their muscular frames and long limbs.

Strength In Numbers – How Big Is Gorilla vs. African Elephant

  • Gorillas are highly social animals and live in troops or bands consisting of two to 30 individuals. These troops are led by a dominant silverback male and include multiple females and their offspring. The members of the troop form close bonds and generally stay together for life. This social structure provides support and protection for the group, including sharing food resources and defending against potential predators.
  • African elephants, on the other hand, form even larger herds. These herds can range in size from an average of 10 to 15 members to occasionally totalling up to 400 individuals. The herds are led by dominant females known as matriarchs, who play a crucial role in guiding group decisions and protecting the younger members of the herd.
  • Both gorillas and African elephants rely on close bonds among family members for survival. They share food resources within their groups and work together to protect the vulnerable younglings from predators such as leopards and lions.
  • These social structures and strong familial bonds are vital for the well-being and survival of both gorillas and African elephants, enabling them to navigate their environments, secure resources, and protect themselves and their young from potential threats.

Dominating The Landscape – What Kind Of Territory Do They Defend


Gorillas inhabit expansive tropical and subtropical forests in Africa, ranging from dense rainforest regions to alpine bamboo thickets. They can be found at elevations between 8,500 to 13,500 feet. Gorillas primarily consume vegetation, including leaves, shoots, stems, flowers, roots, and bark from various plant species. 

They also eat fruits, nuts, and insects like termites and ants. To protect their territories and social groups, gorillas display aggressive behaviours such as chest beating and roaring, and they may use sticks or rocks to defend themselves if necessary.

African Elephants:

African elephants, the largest terrestrial creatures on Earth, can be found in a variety of habitats across 37 countries in Africa, including savannahs, deserts, marshes, and forests. They have extensive territories that span for miles. African elephants are herbivores and feed on a range of plants, including grasses, herbs, leaves, twigs, bark, and fruit. 

In times of scarcity, they may consume soil or water-soaked clay to supplement their diet with minerals. To protect their territories and young from predators like lions or hyenas, African elephants exhibit defensive behaviours such as trumpeting loudly, raising dust clouds, charging with their tusks bared, or circling to deter potential threats.

Both gorillas and African elephants demonstrate territorial behaviours and employ defensive strategies to safeguard their home ranges and protect their social groups from rivals or predators. These behaviours highlight their adaptability and resourcefulness in maintaining their territories and ensuring the safety of their members.

FAQs on Gorilla vs. African Elephant

Who can defeat an African elephant?

While it may seem like an impossible feat, there are a few animals that could potentially overpower them, such as a group of adult male lions or a pack of hyenas. However, it’s important to remember that elephants are usually peaceful and would only resort to violence if provoked or threatened.

Would a gorilla beat a black bear?

The comparison between the strength and prowess of a gorilla versus a black bear has certainly raised interest among animal enthusiasts. While both animals possess impressive physical abilities and strength, the gorilla’s muscular power is far stronger than that of a black bear. Additionally, gorillas have a higher level of intelligence, allowing them to strategize and use their agility to their advantage. On the other hand, black bears have sharper claws and thicker skin, giving them a potential advantage in a physical confrontation. 

Would a gorilla beat a lion?

While the lion may initially seem like the more formidable opponent with its hunting skills and sharp claws, it is important to consider the sheer strength and size of a fully-grown gorilla. A silverback gorilla can weigh up to 400 pounds and possess incredible upper body strength. In contrast, a male lion typically weighs around 420 pounds but relies heavily on its agility and sharp teeth to win a fight. However, it should be noted that fights between a gorilla and a lion do not occur in the wild as they inhabit different parts of the world. 

Final Words on Gorilla vs. African Elephant

The African elephant and the Western lowland gorilla are two of the most fascinating animals in nature. These two mammals are powerful creatures that have captivated us with their many unique characteristics. While the gorilla is known for its strength and agility, the elephant is renowned for its size and intelligence. In addition to these differences, the two animals also have unique diets and habitat preferences. 

But despite these distinctions, the two species share one common attribute: they both play important roles in the ecosystems in which they live. Through this overview of gorillas versus African elephants, we hope to have helped you fully appreciate these magnificent creatures and recognize their vital importance in the animal kingdom.


Author Profile

A motivated philosophy graduate and student of wildlife conservation with a deep interest in human-wildlife relationships, including wildlife communication, environmental education, and conservation anthropology. Offers strong interpersonal, research, writing, and creativity skills.

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A motivated philosophy graduate and student of wildlife conservation with a deep interest in human-wildlife relationships, including wildlife communication, environmental education, and conservation anthropology. Offers strong interpersonal, research, writing, and creativity skills.


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