When it comes to fierce African predators, two of the biggest names that come to mind are the hyena and the cheetah. These two amazing hunters have some similarities and key differences that would give one an advantage in a head-to-head battle. If a hyena and cheetah were to face off, which combatant would come out on top? Let’s break it down and see who would win a fight between a hyena and a cheetah!
Hyena vs Cheetah: Size
First, let’s look at the size difference between hyenas and cheetahs. Hyenas are much larger and heavier than cheetahs.
The spotted hyena adults are around 33 to 55 inches (85–140 cm) long and weigh between 88 to 190 pounds (40–86 kg). That’s pretty big! Male spotted hyenas are larger than females. Striped hyenas and brown hyenas are smaller than spotted hyenas.
On the other hand, cheetahs are a lot more petite. Adult cheetahs measure between 43 to 52 inches (110 to 130 cm) long and only weigh about 75 to 123 pounds (34 to 56 kg). The cheetah is the smallest of the big cats.
So in a matchup against a hyena, the cheetah is clearly outmatched in terms of bulk and body mass. The hyena has the size advantage.
Hyena vs Cheetah: Speed and Agility
Though, the cheetah has the upper hand when it comes to speed and agility.
The cheetah is the fastest land animal, capable of running at incredible speeds of around 60 to 75 miles per hour (96 to 120 km per hour) in short bursts. Their streamlined, aerodynamic build allows them to sprint rapidly to catch prey.
Hyenas have a top speed of about 37 miles per hour (60 km per hour), which is pretty quick, but nowhere near as fast as the cheetah. The cheetah’s agility and acceleration give it an edge regarding movement and mobility over the hyena.
So while the hyena has the size advantage, the cheetah’s astounding speed and agility even the playing field.
Hyena vs Cheetah: Attack Power
Hyenas have mighty jaws and strong teeth. They have a bite force of over 1000 pounds per square inch, enough to crush bone. Hyenas can eat every part of prey, including bone and skin.
They have powerful neck muscles that help them subdue large prey. Hyenas typically target large herbivores like wildebeest, zebras and antelopes. They hunt in packs, outnumbering and surrounding their prey.
Cheetahs don’t have the same bite force. They typically target smaller prey like gazelles, impalas and hares. Cheetahs rely on their explosive speed and fast reflexes to attack to knock prey off balance. They usually go for the neck to suffocate prey. Cheetahs hunt solo and don’t have the group attack strategy of hyenas.
While the cheetah’s speed has attack power, the hyena has stronger direct offensive attack abilities.
Hyena vs Cheetah: Defence
Cheetahs and hyenas also differ in their defensive capabilities.
Hyenas have thick musculoskeletal frames, strong forequarters and necks, and excellent jaw strength. This gives them both offensive and defensive power. Their size, strength in numbers, thick skin and mane hair provide protection.
Since cheetahs rely on speed and stealth, they are more vulnerable in a direct fight. They have thinner builds and frames compared to hyenas. Cheetahs are not equipped to defend themselves against larger, aggressive predators. They tend to avoid direct confrontation.
The hyena’s physical defences give it an advantage in a battle against a cheetah. The cheetah’s best defence is to run away!
Hyena vs Cheetah Who Would Win in a Fight?
The hyena would beat a cheetah in a fight.
The hyena’s larger size, powerful jaws, aggressive pack hunting skills and thick defences give it an advantage over the sleek, speedy cheetah in a physical fight.
While the cheetah is faster, its thin build and solo hunting strategy make it hard to defend itself from the hyena’s brute strength. The cheetah’s best bet is to use its speed to flee rather than engage in a direct attack.
The cheetah’s speed is formidable, but the hyena’s overall physical strength gives it the edge in a knock-down brawl between these two carnivores.
In the African wild, direct conflicts between hyenas and cheetahs are rare. But if they were to go head to head, the hyena’s size, strength and pack mentality provide advantages over the lightweight cheetah.