Silverback Gorilla vs. Grizzly Bear: The Ultimate Showdown

Jan 11, 2024

A silverback gorilla and a grizzly bear

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Gorillas and bears are two of the most majestic creatures on Earth. Although they roam in different circles, imagining what would happen in a battle between these two is fascinating. Which one would be easier for humans to elude in a fight? You can’t take on either of them without serious help, but planning a strategy is fun. Let’s look at the silverback gorilla vs. grizzly bear debate and see which one comes out on top.

Silverback Gorilla Vs. Grizzly Bear: The Primary Differences

Gorillas and grizzly bears are animals neither of us want to anger. However, each of these animals has significant physical and social differences. Let’s walk through the primary differences and see how each fares.


Let’s start with how tall each animal is. Your typical silverback gorilla will grow to be about 5’5” when standing up. However, some creatures can get up to six feet tall when standing up, approaching the height of the male human. 

In contrast, grizzly bears are much taller. A male grizzly bear typically gets to around five feet tall on all fours. When standing up, the Grizzlies are a much different fight, clocking in at nine feet tall on their hind legs! Considering their unstoppable height, it’s a shame none of the grizzly bears could play for the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA. 


When a male gorilla steps onto the scale, the machine will say between 300 and 500 pounds for a male, whereas the female gorillas weigh about 150 to 250 pounds. The range seems broad because a gorilla’s weight depends on its species, age, diet and other factors. For example, captivity can make gorillas much larger. Reportedly, a gorilla in St. Louis, Missouri, weighed over 850 pounds! 

Weight is another category where the grizzly bears tower over silverback gorillas. Your average male grizzly bear can reach approximately 860 pounds in the wild, while female grizzlies typically max out around 455 pounds. While 860 is the average weight, these behemoths can exceed 1,000 pounds at their largest. Most brown bears in North America reach a maximum of 1,150 pounds if they’re bulking up for winter. 

You may think grizzlies are the most giant bears in the world, but two bears have them beat — the Kodiak and polar bears. Each creature lives far up north in and around the Arctic Circle.


Black gorilla stands by a rock at the Cincinnati Zoo

Strength is a metric that’s slightly harder to measure. However, it’s worth mentioning because both creatures are powerful. Let’s start with the silverback gorilla because these creatures are insanely strong. According to Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a silverback gorilla can lift over 1,760 pounds (around 800 kg) of dead weight. Since an average silverback gorilla weighs around 430 pounds, that means they’re lifting over four times their body weight.

Put it in perspective by thinking about automobiles. The average smart car weighs about 1,500 pounds without a driver, so the strongest gorillas wouldn’t have much trouble picking one up. 

So how much can a grizzly bear lift? Your average grizzly bear can lift around 700 pounds (a little over 300 kg) and bring about 600 pounds of force if they swipe your face. A grizzly bear lifts around 0.8 times its body weight of around 875 pounds. Bigger typically means stronger, but the grizzly bear doesn’t match up in strength.

That doesn’t mean grizzlies are weak by any stretch of the imagination. You wouldn’t want to see other of these angry animals in the wild. 


A mother bear teaches her cubs how to retrieve salmon from a stream

Gorillas and grizzlies are giant animals stronger than the average human. Yes, even the guys who are bulking can’t match up to a silverback gorilla or a grizzly bear. 

Gorillas are herbivores that snack on plants all day. In fact, the average male gorilla eats about 45 pounds of food daily, and female gorillas eat about 30 pounds. On an average day, they’ll eat leaves, fruit, shrubs and anything else they can get their hands on. 

Grizzlies are similar in that they enjoy eating berries and other wild fruits. However, their tendency to eat meat makes them an omnivore. Grizzlies will eat fish, with many waiting on salmon as they swim up the river. You may occasionally see bears get their meat from deer, moose and other large mammals of the forest. 

Silverback Gorilla Vs. Grizzly Bear: Where to Spot Them

If a silverback gorilla and a grizzly bear were to duke it out, the setting would be a significant factor. While these creatures are large and majestic, their typical whereabouts could not be more different. Let’s look at where you can find these animals. 

Silverback Gorilla Locations

Silverback gorilla yawning at the zoo in Memphis, Tennessee

Finding a silverback gorilla requires traveling to Africa — specifically the central section of the continent. You can find large swaths of gorillas near the Congo Basin, but lowering population numbers have threatened their existence here. Experts say they could leave the area permanently due to low birth rates. However, governments and conservationists have carved designated areas to protect gorillas. 

Gorillas are unique because you can’t find them elsewhere outside Africa. Depending on where you look, you can find different subspecies, such as the western, eastern and mountain gorilla. Some live in marshes and swamps, thus earning the name lowland gorilla. In contrast, others live in mountainous areas with high elevations.

Grizzly Bear Locations

Grizzly Bears, on the other hand, are much easier to find worldwide. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ll find one if you visit Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. The park has 6 million acres of grizzly bears, reindeer and other unforgettable animals. Besides Alaska, you can find grizzly bears in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and other states out West. 

While the grizzly bears come from North America, you can find some of their relatives in other northern countries. For instance, the Ussuri brown bear is common in Russia, China, Japan and Korea.

Determining the Silverback Gorilla Vs. Grizzly Bear Winner

Considering their massive differences, a silverback gorilla vs. grizzly bear fight can’t occur in the wild. However, we can imagine what would happen if they dueled. 

A silverback gorilla can lift more than a grizzly bear, but grizzlies would still win in most scenarios based on sheer size and incredibly sharp claws. Also, let’s factor in grizzlies have experience fighting other mammals. Gorillas are herbivores and won’t have the same instincts, so that’s another advantage for the grizzlies. The only thing slowing down a grizzly bear would be its lack of agility. 

In an open space, the gorilla could find some tactical maneuvers and give itself a chance. However, the grizzly bear would be a much better bet due to its size and skill set. The average human would have an easier time against a gorilla, but they’d quickly succumb to either animal.

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Jack Shaw is a senior writer at Modded. Jack is an avid enthusiast for keeping up with personal health and enjoying nature. He has over five years of experience writing in the men's lifestyle niche, and has written extensively on topics of fitness, exploring the outdoors and men's interests. His writings have been featured in SportsEd TV, Love Inc., and Offroad Xtreme among many more publications.