Outdoors blog


Grizzly Bear vs Lion – What is the Difference?

Grizzlys live solo in North America while lions in family units in Africa. Grizzly bears are 2x bigger and eat 35k calories per day compared to 9k for lion. In a fight the bear would win. Lions are better hunters and harm more humans per year.

Anyone who is a fan of wild animals would agree that these two animals are greatly hyped for being the apex of predators and top in the wild’s food chain. Although from two different geographical locations, people like to compare them due to their exceptional hunting and survival behaviors.


Geographical location/ Origin

The Grizzly bear being a subspecies of the brown bear is native to North America and Canada. This animal is also found in Europe and Asia, a reason it is known to have the broadest range among all bear species. Initially, the Grizzly bear was also found in some parts of North Africa, but today, it is barely common in that region.

Initially, the lion was endemic to various regions in the wild, including Africa, Western and South Asia and Southeast Europe. Today, the numbers of the lion have reduced and this animal is mainly found in fragmented sections of Sub Saharan Africa. This is why people talking about lions generally refer to African lions.

Typical behavior in their natural habitats

The North American Grizzly bear is a solitary animal that prefers roaming alone and leading a private life away from its own company.

African lions like to live in prides with the beautifully maned males taking charge of protecting the pride. The females do most of the hunting.

Appearance and major physical characteristics


A Grizzly bear is brown in color, but the fur appears to be grizzled or white-tipped. The color form of its fur is definitely the source of its name and what differentiates it from the brown bear from which it descends from.

The African lion exhibits various color forms, from tawny yellow to ash brown and deep orange-brown. Its tail’s tip has a tuft of dark fur.

Weight, size and lifespan

A mature male grizzly bear weighs around 800 pounds. The body length, including the head, is 8ft and the shoulder height lies between 3-4 feet. Evidently, this is a powerfully built predator with an enormous body. Grizzly bears have a long lifespan of around 25 years.

Lions are the largest of all African cats and the second-largest cat on earth after the Siberian Tiger. A typical African lion weighs around 300 pounds with an average body and head length of 6ft and a shoulder height of 3-4 feet. Lions can live up to 15 years.


The Grizzly bear is an omnivore and can survive on a wide variety of foods, including fruits, plant roots, berries and salmon fish. This bear species prefers such food as they are easy to find, but they sometimes prey on other animals such as deer, elk and even black bears.

Lions are carnivores that prey on a vast range of wild animals, including deer, antelopes and zebras. When in groups, they can hunt and snack on large and robust animals such as buffaloes.

Special hunting/survival characteristics

The Grizzly bear

• Great strength.

• Outstanding intelligence and memory.

• Good sense of smell and can detect food from afar.

• Have rounded claws and large muscle mass on their back that helps them dig.

• They are fast runners and can clock 50 kilometers per hour on land.

• Have excellent swimming capabilities

• Young Grizzlys have a great ability to climb trees to escape danger. This becomes impractical when the bear grows big.

The lion

• Have sharp claws to help them catch hold of their prey.

• Strong jaws and rough tongues that help them eat their prey.

• Superb vision; almost 6 times more sensitive to light compared to humans.

• Great reflexes, hunting, and ambushing skills.

• Fast runners with an average speed of 80 kilometers per hour.

• They can jump up to 36 feet.

Grizzly bear vs. lion differences

• Grizzly bears are heavily built and weigh almost double an African lion.

• Due to their larger size, the grizzly bear’s appetite is larger compared to that of a lion. Grizzly bears consume 35,000 calories daily, while lions consume approximately 9000 calories daily.

• Lions have excellent hunting skills and their quick reflex make them better hunters than Grizzly bears.

• Despite the lion’s adept hunting skills, the Grizzly bear is capable of causing a good amount of harm due to their body size and build.

• A lion runs faster than a grizzly bear and can clock up to double speeds. Lions are also good at ambushing their prey.

• In terms of the danger these animals pose to humans, statistics show that the Grizzly bear is responsible for the death of 3 people every year in North America and Canada. A lion, on the other hand, can kill up to 250 people annually.

They are both very fast so do not try to outrun one.

For a fistfight, the grizzly bear would definitely win because of its rounded claws and enormous muscle mass. On the other hand, if it were a skills and agility fight, the smarter lion would undoubtedly be the winner.

The Grizzly bear and the lion are two distinct animals and each is adapted to be a top predator in its respective habitat or geographical location. For bodyweight, size and excellent survival characteristics, the Grizzly bear takes the lead. It’s the sharper hunting skills and swift reflexes for the lion.