20 Animals That Stand Up to Lions

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Lions, with their impressive manes and roars, are often depicted as the undisputed rulers of their domain. But the world is a complex ecosystem teeming with creatures with the power and strategy to challenge the lion’s reign. Here are 15 such creatures who can stand their ground in a face-off with the king.



An elephant’s sheer size—up to 7 tons—makes it a giant a lion should avoid. Its thick hide shrugs off lion claws, and a well-placed kick can crush a lion’s bones. Even a pride wouldn’t dare tangle with a full-grown elephant, who can change the course of a confrontation with a trumpeting charge.



Hippopotamuses are notoriously bad-tempered and fiercely territorial. Weighing in at over 3 tons, they are the undisputed heavyweight champions of the African waterways. Having powerful jaws that inflict devastating bites, they chase lions out of their territory with surprising speed.

Nile Crocodile

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Lions are cautious around waterholes for a reason. Nile crocodiles are ambush predators, lurking unseen beneath the surface. Their powerful jaws and crushing bite force can take down prey much bigger than a lion. A swift lunge from a crocodile could turn the hunter into the hunted if a lion gets too close to the water’s edge.



These walking battering rams, with thick skin offering formidable protection and horns, single or double, depending on the species, are deadly weapons. A charging rhino is an intimidating force, and even a pride of lions would be hesitant to take on a full-grown, grumpy rhino determined to protect its territory.

Honey Badger


Size doesn’t intimidate the honey badger. This tenacious carnivore has loose skin that allows it to twist and fight attackers. While a honey badger would lose a prolonged fight with a lion, their relentless aggression makes them scrappy opponents no lion wants to underestimate.

Cape Buffalo


Cape buffalo are formidable herbivores that travel in large herds. Nicknamed “The Black Death” for a reason, they are known for their unpredictable aggression and sharp horns. A buffalo’s horns can inflict serious injuries, and a threatened herd will charge with surprising speed and ferocity.



Lions may be the kings but don’t underestimate the queens. Lionesses are the primary hunters, utilizing teamwork and agility to bring down prey. A lone lioness will struggle against a large male lion, but a coordinated pride led by experienced lionesses can be formidable.

Spotted Hyena

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Yes, hyenas may be scavengers, but they are also skilled hunters. Their social nature allows them to work together in large packs to take down prey much larger than themselves. While a lone hyena wouldn’t stand a chance against a lion, the persistence and teamwork of a pack can drive a lone lion away from a kill or even steal its meal.



Although they seem slow and docile, don’t forget their bodies are covered in sharp quills. These quills are barbed and can easily penetrate an attacker’s flesh, causing immense pain and infection. A porcupine’s tail swipe can send a lion yelping in retreat, making them a prickly opponent.



The largest flightless bird, the ostrich, packs a strong punch. Their long legs can deliver kicks strong enough to break bones, and they are surprisingly fast runners. Ostriches would likely avoid confrontation, but if cornered, they can unleash a flurry of kicks that could deter a lion from pursuing.

Siberian Tiger


In the harsh taiga of Asia, the Siberian tiger, the largest of all cat species, holds its own. This solitary predator is bigger than a lion, boasting incredible strength and hunting prowess. A fight between a Siberian tiger and a lion would be a clash of titans.



The pangolin makes a fascinating addition to the list. It’s a unique mammal covered in tough, overlapping scales that act like armor. They can roll up into a ball, presenting an almost impenetrable defense. While not an offensive threat, a pangolin’s defensive capabilities can frustrate a lion and allow it to escape unharmed.

Komodo Dragon


Here comes the largest lizard on Earth. Found in Indonesia, these fearsome reptiles are venomous and possess powerful jaws and sharp claws. Their venom weakens prey, allowing them to deliver a finishing blow. A Komodo dragon wouldn’t actively hunt a lion—different continents!—but their size and venom make them a worthy contender in a hypothetical throwdown.

African Weaver Ants

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While small, African weaver ants exhibit incredible strength and teamwork. They form massive swarms capable of overwhelming and killing animals much larger than themselves. Their bites can deliver a painful sting, and their sheer numbers can overwhelm a lion’s defenses.


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Man poses the biggest threat to lions with their advanced tools and technology. Hunting lions is illegal in most areas, but historically, we have been the primary predators of lions. We have significantly impacted lion populations with guns, traps, and organized hunting strategies.

African Rock Python

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While not a direct predator of lions, African rock pythons are giant constrictor snakes that can be longer than 20 feet. They are known to ambush and overpower large prey, including mammals like antelope. If a lion encounters a large African rock python, the snake could coil around the lion and suffocate it, especially if the lion is alone and unable to free itself.

Cape Cobra


This venomous snake is found in southern Africa. It doesn’t hunt lions, but its venom can be fatal to humans and other animals. If a Cape cobra fights a lion and bites it, it could suffer severe injury or even death, depending on how much venom was injected and the location of the bite.


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Walruses are large marine mammals known for their tusks and tough skin. While they primarily inhabit cold Arctic waters and are not natural prey for lions, a walrus’s size and strength will give a lion a hard time. It could injure or even kill a lion with its tusks if threatened or cornered.


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The largest species of deer are known for their size, strength, and formidable antlers. They are primarily found in North America and parts of Europe and Asia. Mooses have powerful kicks. Combine this with their antler thrusts, and you’ll see that a lion who attacks or threatens them can face serious injury.

Polar Bear

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Claiming the title of the apex predator in the Arctic, polar bears are worth checking out for their strength, size, and hunting prowess. While they do not naturally encounter lions in the wild, a polar bear would be a formidable opponent for a lion if they were to meet. It will be worse for the lion if it encounters the bear in its natural habitat of ice and snow.


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