Lion vs. Tiger


Lions and tigers are among the most ferocious animals but there are important differences between them. They are both among the four big cats (the other two being jaguar and leopard) and are apex predators, i.e. they have no predators of their own and reside at the top of their food chain.

Lions typically inhabit savanna and grassland, although they may take to bush and forest. Lions are unusually social compared to other cats. The male lion is highly distinctive and is easily recognized by its mane. The lion, particularly the face of the male, is one of the most widely recognized animal symbols in human culture. It has been extensively depicted in literature, in sculptures, in paintings, on national flags, and in films.

Native to the mainland of Asia, the tiger is the largest feline species in the world. The Bengal Tiger is the most common subspecies of tiger, constituting approximately 80% of the entire tiger population, and is found in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Nepal. It is the national animal of India. An endangered species, the majority of the world's tigers now live in captivity.

Comparison chart

Edit this comparison chart




Class Mammalia Mammalia
Order Carnivora Carnivora
Family Felidae (cat) Felidae (cat)
Genus Panthera Panthera
Species P.leo P. tigris
Weight 375-496 lbs (males) 280-396 pounds (females) 579 pounds (average male) 308 pounds (average female)
Coloring coat: tan tail fur/mane:dark brown orange with brown-black stripes
Speed 59 Miles Per Hour 37 miles per hour
Litter size Avg. 1 - 2 Avg. 2 - 4
Binomial name Panthera Leo Panthera Tigris
Conservation status Near Threatened Endangered
Diet carnivore carnivore
Scientific name Panthera leo Panthera tigris
Distinctive feature A mane ranging in color from tan to black Stripes all over the body
Habitat range Africa and india Southeast and Eastern Asia
Hunting behavior Nocturnal Nocturnal - Ambushes prey
Number in wild unkown 3,000 to 4,000
Teeth and Jaws 3 in. canines and heavy pressure jaws Wide mouth that has strong teeth 4 in. canines
Hunting Most females hunt together night to make it harder on the prey to see them, but they will sometimes hunt in the daytime. They have three important hunting strategies; that vary based on the prey. The ambush, the blitz, and the siege. hunts alone during night (nocturnal)
Avg. Meat required for food 11 - 60 lbs also 57 for large males The number of lions in the pride may vary. Tigers may consume up to 40 kg (88 pounds) of meat at one time. It is estimated that every tiger consumes about 50 deer-sized animals each year, about one per week.
Main Prey Medium to large ungulates, most notably thompson's gazelle, zebra, wildebeest, impala, warthog, hartebeest, waterbuck, cape buffalo, hippo, rhino, giraffe, and elephants. Large animals such as deer, buffalo and wild pigs, but they will also hunt fish, monkeys, birds, reptiles and sometimes even baby elephants. Occasionally, tigers kill leopards, bears and other tigers.They also hunt Gaur and Indian Rhinos.
Other food sources Opportunistic and will readily scavenge the kills of cheetahs, leopards, wild dogs and hyenas. Will strictly eat only meat hunted by self. When old, will depend on either smaller preys requiring less effort or on other tigers of the pack.
Brain size Has the largest brain out of all the big cats except the tiger. Largest brain and reaches maturity faster than other big cats. Their brain is 25% larger than a lion .
Habitat Rich grasslands of East Africa to sands of Kalahari Desert, South Sahara to South Africa, excluding the Congo rain forest and India's Gir forest. Lions like to live in open woodlands and thick bush, scrub, and tall grassy areas. India to Siberia and South East Asia. They are also found in grassland and swamp margins. They require sufficient cover, a good population of large prey and a constant water supply.
Population Status Asiatic - endangered, Others - vulnerable Critically Endangered
Life Span Avg. 12 years in the wild for males and 15-16 years in the wild for females. Avg. 15 - 20 Years
Sexual Maturity of Cubs 24 - 28 Months in Captivity; 36 - 46 Months in Wild 24 - 28 Months in Captivity; 36 - 46 Months in Wild
Body Length (mm) 2200 - 3000 (2.2 - 3 meters) 2000 - 3300 (2 - 3.3 meters)
Tail (mm) 700 - 1000 600 - 1100
Reproduction Females will give birth after a gestation period of 100-110 days Females will give birth after a gestation of 104 days
Mother nurses cubs for 10 - 12 Months 18 - 24 Months
how blends into habitat tan coloring to match dry grasses stripes to resemble shadows of the forest and black ears with white spot on back like eyes.

Contents: Lion vs Tiger

edit Differences in Physical characteristics

edit Physical characteristics of lions

Reaching up to 250 kg (550 lb), lions are the second-largest in the cat family (the tiger is the largest).

A lion in a zoo.
A lion in a zoo.

During confrontations with others, the mane makes the lion look bigger than he really is. With powerful legs, a strong jaw, and long canine teeth, the lion can bring down and kill large prey. Lion coloration varies from light buff to yellowish, reddish or dark ochraceous brown. The underparts are generally lighter and the tail tuft is black. The color of the mane varies from blond to black. The lion is a carnivore and a hunter. Its legs are short with very powerful muscles. Male lions are 20 to 35% larger than the females and 50% heavier. Each lion has, what are called, "whisker spots". The pattern formed by this top row of whiskers differs in every lion and remains the same throughout its lifetime.

edit Tigers' physical features

The majority of tigers are tawny brown in color with dark stripes and whitish. Tigers have rusty-reddish to brown-rusty coats, a fair (whitish) medial and ventral area and stripes that vary from brown or hay to pure black. The form and density of stripes differs between subspecies, but most tigers have in excess of 100 stripes. The pattern of stripes is unique to each animal, and thus could potentially be used to identify individuals, much in the same way as fingerprints are used to identify people. This is not, however, a preferred method of identification, due to the difficulty of recording the stripe pattern of a wild tiger. It seems likely that the function of stripes is camouflage, serving to hide these animals from their prey. The stripe pattern is found on a tiger's skin and if shaved, its distinctive camouflage pattern would be preserved.

A tiger in the same zoo, giving its signature "not impressed" expression.
A tiger in the same zoo, giving its signature "not impressed" expression.

Tigers have round pupils and yellow irises. Tigers are the heaviest cats found in the wild, but the subspecies differ strongly in size. Large male Siberian Tigers can reach a total length of 3 m and a weight of 272-273 kg kg. Apart from those exceptional large individuals, male Siberian tigers usually have a head and body length of 200–280 cm and an average weight of 227 kg. The heaviest Indian Tiger (P. t. tigris) mentioned in literature weighed 389 kg (857 lb), the heaviest Siberian tiger (P. t. altaica) 384 kg. Females are smaller, those of the Siberian or Indian subspecies weigh between 110 and 181 kg.

edit Diet

Lion: Adult females require an average of 11 pounds of meat per day and adult males, 15.4 lbs. The pride provides food to its sick and wounded members but not to the male. The male uses his size to take what he wants of the lioness' kill. A typical diet will include zebra, giraffe, buffalo, wildebeest, gazelles and impala. Lions are opportunistic and will readily scavenge the kills of cheetahs, leopards, wild dogs and hyenas.

Tiger: Their main prey species are large animals such as deer, buffalo and wild pigs, but they will also hunt fish, monkeys, birds, reptiles and sometimes even baby elephants. Occasionally, tigers kill leopards, bears and other tigers.

edit Habitat and Geographical Distribution

Lion: Rich grasslands of East Africa to sands of Kalahari Desert, South Sahara to South Africa, excluding the Congo rain forest. They avoid dense forests because prey is scarce. Competition for Africa's grasslands by humans has drastically reduced the lions' range. Although lions were once widespread throughout much of Africa, Asia, Europe, and even prehistoric North and South America, they currently exist in the wild only in sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia with a critically endangered remnant population in northwest India. The lion is a vulnerable species, having seen a possibly irreversible population decline of 30 to 50% over the past two decades in its African range. Although the cause of the decline is not well-understood, habitat loss and conflicts with humans are currently the greatest causes of concern.

Tiger: Tigers range from India to Siberia and South East Asia. Tigers prefer habitat is forest although they can also be found in grassland and swamp margins. They require sufficient cover, a good population of large prey and a constant water supply.

edit Tiger vs Lion Life span

Lion: In the wild, lions live for approximately 12–18 years, while in captivity they can live over 24 years.

Tiger: The life span of tigers in the wild is thought to be about 10 - 12 years. Tigers in zoos live up to 25 years or more, but not by much.

edit Reproduction in lions and tigers

Lion: After a gestation period of 100-110 days, the pregnant female leaves the pride and finds a place to deliver. Depending on the physical characteristics of their habitat, lions will hide their newborn cubs in marshes or kopjes. The number of cubs born depends on the age and dietary condition of the mother. The litter size is 1 to 6 offspring. Cubs are nursed 6-7 months. Cubs reach sexual maturity at 24 to 28 months in captivity and at 36 to 46 months in the wild. If a pride is taken over by a new male who has defeated the top resident male, he will most likely kill any existing cubs that are under 2 years old.

Tiger: Females will give birth to 2-4 cubs after a gestation of 104 days. They will stay with their mother for up to two years before leaving to stake out their own territories. Males look for territories away from their birth site, but females may sometimes share their mother’s territories. As with lions, male tigers may kill a female's cubs if the cubs are the offspring of another male. This ensures that the female will come into oestrus and bear the new male's offspring. They are active at dawn and dusk.

edit Fights: Who would win?

L. M. Boyd writing for The Victoria Advocate said:

That the typical tiger is a fiercer fighter than the typical lion is common knowledge. Less widely known is what gives that tiger the advantage. Simple thing. The lion stands on three paws to maul with the fourth. But the tiger balances itself on its hind legs to maul with both front paws simultaneously.

edit References

edit Interesting links

Share this comparison:

If you read this far, you should follow us:

"Lion vs Tiger." Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 19 Dec 2014. < >

Related Comparisons Follow Diffen
Make Diffen Smarter.

Log in to edit comparisons or create new comparisons in your area of expertise!

Sign up »
Top 5 Comparisons

Comments: Lion vs Tiger

Comments via Facebook

Anonymous comments (15)

April 20, 2014, 10:09am

tiger is the biggest cat

— 82.✗.✗.195

August 11, 2013, 12:46pm

Yo all the dumb asses who think lions are better fighters or are stronger than tigers.Tigers have on average have a 25% larger brain .Tigers have tremendous jaw strength and limb strength . Tigers can jump upto 12feet just for the heck of it with their much heavier (highly mind you ,highly muscular bodies with close to no body fat) bodies. Much greater fighters , atleast 2 to 3 lions are needed to take down even one deer as compared to one tiger taking on a huge water buffalo .

— 1.✗.✗.23

July 14, 2013, 2:22pm

A Tiger can jump an 8 foot wall with a domestic cow in his mouth. enough said

— 173.✗.✗.150

October 26, 2011, 3:12pm

Well the reason while a tiger won't attack a lion is obvious, Both of these animals have strategies they use in their environment, even when there are small prey a tiger will wait and wait until the perfect moment to attack. The reason a tiger has stripes is actually to camouflage in yellow grass. I believe in my opinion when it comes to cleverness a tiger would win. But strength I do not know.

— 67.✗.✗.240

July 3, 2010, 10:44am

Lion has a huge Male to female mass ratio, when compared to Tiger.

I mean,
Lion (Male) when compared to Lioness (Female-Lion) is pretty heavier.
Tiger (Male) when compared to Tigress (Female-Lion) is pretty not much of a difference in mass.

Hence, Male Lion + Female Tiger (Tigress) combination breed (Liger) is bigger when compared to Male Tiger + Female Lion (Lioness) is smaller breed (Tion). Both are IMPOTENT breeds, cannot reproduce further.

Something I don't like & also wonder about Tiger is: Tigers like Porcupines' meat & tries to hunt them & gets injured, they turn Man-eaters or starts attacking domestic animals like Cows, Buffaloes, sometimes stray Dogs..

I agree with you that Physically Tiger is Stronger, yet I believe the Win depends on the BATTLE GROUND!

I also, agree no one can beat TIGER in Water: Lakes, Streams, Rivers... & Steep Hills...

The Strongest Land animal is BROWN BEAR!

— 115.✗.✗.78

June 17, 2014, 12:08pm

I would have to go with the lion winning in a fight due to its willingness to fight.
It looks to fight. It roars to fight. It pretty much says come near my females and you die.
Now for that very reason or a couple of reasons is why the lion would win in a fight.
But that is also a disadvantage to the lion reason being is why their lifespan is so short compared to the tiger that lives much longer than the lion due to the fact that they try to avoid conflict because any injury on a solitary hunter like the tiger/bear,eg) can be fatal. It will have to be something very serious for a tiger to fight each other.
Now back to the point even though i still think that the lion would win they are on most accounts smaller than tigers of two species siberian and bengal not so much I dont believe it is genetics to a digree just imagine that you come from a long line of fathers that have their first cubs in their adolecent, teen years to be quite frank might not even make it to the next year/breeding season where as the tigers more than usual make it to their prime and any animal brought into this world with a parent at their peak is guaranteed the best shot at life.
Now finallly with my conclusion coming to end with the odds on paper goes to the tiger the fact is stated you put a prime lion in the same enclosure with a tiger also in its prime. With some females to fight for what do you think would happen be honest tiger fans one of them definetly isnt going to live. I dont even think it matters if its a lioness or tigress on heat be cause i can tell you this the lions down to fight till death is the tiger????

— 49.✗.✗.156

July 20, 2013, 1:55am

it,doesn't matter which are stronger lions or tigers. And to compare who would win in a fight reading stories about their fights in captivity is very primitive and wouldn't show the reality.Why? Tigers are loners -that means they definitely would be more aggressive to any animal, and would attack first without even thinking , and lions are used to live in groups -so they not so aggressive to others,they probably would consider situation before attacking ,and they probably has less desire to destroy anyone near them -that may be the main reason lions were being injured or killed more often than tigers in their fights in captivity.
While if by any chance in a wild tiger would meet lion ,if consider lions are usualy found in groups -tiger would attack first and tiger would be attacked by all group members of lions,tiger would die.
so to say lions are stronger (they have similar to tigers body composition,plus they have pride who watches their back) and lions are smarter (lions have better social skills,ability to create and form a pride,to make group hunting strategies) , lions has gown -which is great neck defence.

— 84.✗.✗.115

May 1, 2013, 1:10am

In roman times there would be fights between tigers and lions in coliseums. The tiger was favored by odds makers and typically won the fight.

— 71.✗.✗.49

March 30, 2013, 6:11am

There is a lot of lies and false fact from people who are obviously just want to make the tiger looks stronger than lion which is false and true at the same time.
Lions were historically always the number 1 beast and the highest hunt's trophy, in fact Barbary lions (extinct) is much stronger than african lion and and Some Roman archives stated that Lion was the most feared animal in the arena and people always wanted to see the lion instead of tiger.

— 41.✗.✗.182

June 10, 2014, 12:21pm

Both are very close... I love Lions, they have an extremely charismatic style, stare and aura unlike the tigers.

— 115.✗.✗.146

June 5, 2014, 8:39am

if the lion is the king of the jungle the tiger is the emporor of the forest

— 87.✗.✗.253

March 11, 2014, 10:50pm

Na Lion all the way, don't care what anyone says,Lion is king of the jungle for a reason

— 81.✗.✗.44

June 16, 2013, 12:24am

BOTH are stunning, amazing animals - both of which could hand ANY of us mere little humans our *sses. Lions, however, in my opinion - and it is ONLY an opinion and nothing more - are the more lovely of the two. Tigers just look like a common short haired tabby house cat to me. Hats off to BOTH amazing predators. Both truly my favorite two animals ever.

— 108.✗.✗.51

May 22, 2013, 1:42am

Don't just be fanatics, both animals are awesome. Individually, tigers are more capable, not because they need to stand out against lions or other animals but for survival.

A female lion can but rarely do what a male lion can, hunting alone a dangerous prey.

A female tiger does equally what the male can do and even fiercer when it has cubs to protect.

And yes, lions win against many breeds of tigers since most tigers are smaller than lions. But it's different with Bengal and Siberian tigers, these animals can confront (not just ambush) animals like the Gaur(mightier than African buffalo) and the grizzly bear.

Well my bet for these two is none, they can't even tackle a porcupine. Lmao

— 112.✗.✗.222

March 8, 2013, 6:45am

Because of physical build, and the identity of each of them and the nature of the life of the two ...That there is ((only one fighter and one king only)) >> Of course it is a lion. the lion has protected mane and a (brave heart cause of his life) and a strike force,
The surprise is that our God set an example by lion not tiger .
And, of course God's the Creator , honest.

— 41.✗.✗.183


Up next

Donkey vs. Mule