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The below email was submitted to me for the weekly Mailbag but it deserves its own column, because pitting animals against each other in hypothetical fights to the death is one of my favorite things to do and it always makes for a lively discussion. We’re talking polar bear versus gorilla today. Cage match. Only one comes out alive.
Slow week at work so I decided to go back and read some of the mailbag posts you have made in the past. I came across the one about you v. a cheetah in an octagon which reminded me of a very heated bar debate my friends and I had recently. A little background into this debate: We live in Cincinnati, so Harambe still gets brought up from time to time. This led to gorilla v. polar bear. The conversation was actually 4 against 1 in favor of polar bear. However, the 1 guy on the other side is an asshole so I need some outside perspective on the matter.
Four to one in favor of the polar bear seems right to me. There’s a similar ratio in favor of the polar bear in the office right now, too. Dan, the Grandex antagonist, thinks the gorilla wins fairly easily. My initial instinct tells me to take the polar bear based on sheer size and never look back, but let’s break this fight down.
The gorilla profile:
Height: 5’6″ – 6’0″
Weight: 350 lbs.
The silverback gorilla is a ground-dwelling herbivore that lives in the forests of central Africa. Gorillas don’t often fight, but when they do, they can be lethal adversaries due to their sharp canine teeth and great strength. When male gorillas fight, it is often to the death. They are stocky with a low center of gravity and have very long arms. I’d like to reiterate that these animals are stronger than a motherfucker. I’ve seen estimates that gorillas are anywhere from six to 25 times stronger than an adult man. They can pretty easily pluck your limbs from your torso and beat you to death with them. Scary!
The polar bear profile:
Height: 8’0″ – 10’0″
Weight: 800 – 1500 lbs.
Whoa, the polar bear is massive — the biggest of all bear species, in fact. They are carnivores that live in the Arctic Circle. They feed mainly on ringed seals and bearded seals, but will also take down a walrus or beluga whale if they’re in the mood for a more hearty meal. They’re proficient swimmers, too. Polar bears are among the most powerful mammals on earth, but what makes them particularly dangerous is their natural propensity to destroy. They are extremely aggressive hunters and defenders of their own kind. I just read that a polar bear can decapitate a human with a single swipe of their paw. They are also the only animals known to actively hunt humans. Terrifying!
One of these animals was born to kill. The most natural thing a polar bear does is kill its prey and eat it, and they are really, really good at it. The western gorilla, on the other hand, eats plants and fruit. They’re vegetarians. This point isn’t so much about the gorilla lacking a protein-laden diet and thus being less physically developed than its opponent. It’s more about these animals being wired differently. The gorilla gets thrown into a ring with a huge white bear and he’s thinking, Oh fuck, I’m about to throw hands with this huge motherfucker. But the polar gets in a ring for a fight to the death and it’s like he’s clocking in for another day at his nine-to-five. It’s just another Tuesday in the Arctic for him. See animal. Kill animal. Eat animal.
The gorilla has the reach factor, which can’t be overlooked. I like him holding his own for a while if this fight goes to the mat. Strong ground game, I’m thinking. And if he’s able to somehow latch onto the bear with his sharp teeth and crushing jaws, the bear could be in a lot of trouble. Agility, too. Gorillas are agile little bastards, whereas a bear is sluggish in relation.
You know what else has deadly teeth and a powerful jaw, though? A polar bear. The gorilla is equally as fucked if his jugular meets the business end of the polar bear. And with its height advantage, being three times as heavy, and being a natural born killer, I don’t think this is much of a contest.
Winner: polar bear..