The elephant and rhino are two of the most recognisable animals in Africa. Both gentle giants, unless provoked then they can leave a trail of destruction in their path. Elephants and rhinos are enormous and are always ready for battle. They are powerful enough to defeat any predator they face on the savanna. Are they equally built, or is one animal stronger than the other?
We are going to explore an elephant vs rhino fight. Who would win? We will investigate the physical abilities of both animals. We will compare the biggest of each species, the male African bush elephant vs the male African white rhino.
Elephant vs Rhino Animal Fact Sheet
|Size||weight 4700 – 6000 kg|
length 5.5 – 6.4 m
height 3.2 – 4 m
|weight 2300 – 3600 kg|
length 3.7 – 4 m
height 1.7 – 1.8 m
|Speed||25 mph||31 mph|
|Lifespan||60 – 70 years||40 – 50 years|
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Elephant vs Rhino Size
The African bush elephant is the heaviest animal on land, weighing as much as 4700 – 6000 kg (10,360 – 13,300 lb). Their length can be 5.5 – 6.4 m (18 – 21 ft). They are tall, being 3.2 – 4 m (10.5 – 13 ft) at the shoulder.
The white rhino is the second heaviest animal on land, weighing 2300 – 3600 kg (5000 – 8000 lb). They can be 3.7 – 4 m (12 – 13 ft) long and have a height of 1.7 – 1.8 m (5.5 – 6 ft) at the shoulder.
The elephant has the size advantage.
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Elephant vs Rhino Speed and Agility
An elephant can sprint at 25 mph (40 kph). The elephant takes time to build up to this speed. The white rhino can run at 31mph (50 kph), and because of their size, neither animal is agile.
The white rhino has the speed advantage.
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Elephant vs Rhino Attack Power
Elephants have a bite force of 2175 psi, while the white rhino has a bite force of 1000 psi, that’s stronger than a lion, but this is not the animal’s preferred method of attack. The elephant and rhino, when challenged, both charge into battle, the elephant with its two tusks and the white rhino with its two horns.
Elephant tusks, on average, are 2 m (6 ft) in length and weigh 23 kg (50 lb). The biggest elephant tusk recorded was 3.5 m (11.5 ft) long, and the heaviest weighed 120 kg (265 lb). The average length of the white rhino’s front horn is 60 cm (2 ft) long. The average weight of the front horn is 4 kg (8.8 lb). The longest white rhino horn recorded was 1.5 m (5 ft).
An elephant can also use its trunk in battle, like a club, to hit their opponent. The elephant and rhino are so strong they can use their brute strength and size to destroy tourists’ cars on safari.
The elephant has an attack advantage.
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Elephant vs Rhino Defence
Elephants and rhinos have thick skin, an average of 2.5 cm (1 in). This protects them from predators but is also delicate and easily sunburned, so they are often seen rolling in mud. The mud acts like sun cream for protection from the sun and insects. Because elephants and rhinos are so giant, very few animals will pick a fight with them apart from rival males.
The elephant has the defence advantage.
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Elephant vs Rhino Animal Senses
The elephant and rhino have keen hearing and a great sense of smell. This makes up for their poor eyesight. Rhinos are easily startled and will charge without hesitation. Elephants are incredibly smart and can remember the location of watering holes in droughts.
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Elephant vs Rhino What Are The Differences?
The most significant difference between the elephant and rhino is size, with the elephant being heavy, longer and taller than the rhino. Only the elephant has a trunk and two tusks. The tusks are enlarged incisors. The rhino’s two horns are made of keratin, the same material hair and nails are made of.
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Elephant vs Rhino Who Would Win In A Fight?
In an elephant vs rhino fight, an elephant would win. The elephant has the size advantage over the rhino, and its tusks are twice the length of the rhino’s horns. The elephant has the strength to move a car with ease, so it can flip a rhino onto its side and gore its underneath, using its long tusks.
Elephants have killed rhinos before when they are in musth when they have heightened aggression. When teenage male elephants were moved to Pilanesberg National Park, dead rhinos started appearing. Their bodies had wounds on their necks and shoulders, which suggested elephants killed them.
Typically when a teenage elephant is in musth and faces a giant older elephant, they lose the fight or quickly give up, making them lose their musth. As the adolescent elephants were significantly bigger than the rhinos, they never lost their musth, so they carried on like unruly teenagers. So adult bull elephants were introduced, and the teenage elephants calmed down within hours.
Rhinos can dish out a lot of damage and take a lot of punishment, but if they can’t take on a teenage elephant. They would have trouble surviving in a battle against an enormous bull elephant.