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Extreme: Siberian Tiger vs. African Lion

siberian tiger
Image via Pexels

Do you want to know which animal reigns in the world of mighty big cats? In this article, we’ll attempt to answer this question, or at least assess which one is superior between the Siberian Tiger Vs. African Lion. Read on for a comprehensive discussion that’ll make you a bit lion-hearted – pun intended!

Read to the end to watch video clips of the two going head to head!


siberian tiger vs. african lion
Image by Glen Carrie via Unsplash

Siberian tigers (also known as Amur tigers) are native to the forests and grasslands of eastern Russia, particularly in the Amur-Heilong region. 

In contrast, African lions are found from Senegal to South Africa across sub-Saharan Africa. They live in various habitats, including grasslands, savannas, and forests. African lions are big and social cats, living in groups called prides. 

Size and Physical Characteristics

siberian tiger vs. african lion
Image by Ralph via Pexels

The Siberian tiger and African lion are the world’s most powerful big cats. While both species are apex predators, there are several key differences in these felines’ size and physical characteristics.

Siberian Tiger

The Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) is the biggest cat in the world. Image via Depositphotos

Size & Weight

tiger cub
Siberian Tiger Cub In Snow. Image by michalzak via

Among all living cats, the Siberian tiger is one of the absolute largest, boasting males weighing up to 650 pounds and females weighing around 500 pounds. Additionally, they are recognized for their thick fur and long tails that can measure up to three feet in length.

Black Stripes

male Siberian tiger Panthera tigris tigris at sunrise in the backlight. Tiger. Image via Depositphotos.

Their orange-brown coat is natural camouflage to blend into their surroundings. They also have white fur on their chest and belly area, which helps keep them warm in their cold habitat.

African Lion

african lion
Image by Leighton Robinson via Unsplash

Size & Weight

African lion in Kruger National park, South Africa
Specie Panthera leo family of felidae. Image via Depositphotos

African lions (Panthera leo) are another humongous cat species of the world, with males averaging between 420–550 pounds and females averaging between 250–375 pounds. Males also have a thick mane around their heads that can help distinguish them from female individuals. The color, thickness, and length depend on their age and health condition.


Big lion with mane in Etosha, Namibia. African lion walking in the grass, with beautiful evening light. Wildlife scene from nature. Aninal in the habitat. Image by depositphotos

Unlike most big cats, lions don’t have spots or stripes; they have a smooth golden brown coat that darkens towards their back legs, giving them excellent camouflage when hunting prey in tall grasses or savannah habitats during the daytime hours.


Lion via Depositphotos.

Siberian Tiger

siberian tiger
Image by Satria Bagaskara via Pexels

You can find the Siberian tiger in the eastern part of Russian Siberia, as well as parts of northern China and northeastern Mongolia. It prefers to inhabit dense forests with plenty of cover for hunting and hiding from predators.

African Lion

siberian tiger vs. african lion
Jean Wimmerlin via Unsplash

Lions are mostly present in southern Africa but can also be found throughout sub-Saharan Africa in habitats. They prefer landscapes such as grasslands, savannas, scrublands, woodlands, deserts, or even mountainous regions.

The Siberian tiger and African lion are incredibly impressive animals with unique physical adaptations that have helped them survive in their respective habitats.

Behavior and Hunting

Lion via Depositphotos.

Siberian tigers and African lions are apex predators but have different hunting behaviors due to their different habitats and prey.

Siberian Tiger

kodiak bear vs. siberian tiger
Image by sharkolot via Pixabay

Solitary Nature

siberian tiger
Male Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) walking in the snow, detail. Image via Deposit Photos

The Siberian tiger is a solitary animal that prefers to hunt alone instead of in groups, though some have been observed temporarily traveling together. They are territorial creatures and fiercely defend their turf from other cats and potential predators. Siberian tigers also use scent markings to let other animals know their presence and to keep away intruders.

Hunting Techniques

siberian tiger
Siberian tiger mother and cub (Panthera tigris altaica). Image via Depositphotos

The Siberian tiger has adapted to its harsh environment by developing strategies to aid its hunting, such as lying in wait for prey or stalking them behind trees and bushes. It also uses the element of surprise by ambushing unsuspecting animals, attacking them directly without warning.


Siberian Tiger close up. Image by Wildfaces via Pixabay

Regarding food, the Siberian tiger usually goes after hoofed animals such as deer, wild boar, elk, and wild goats but will also eat small mammals like hares and birds if they can catch them. It will also occasionally scavenge on dead carcasses if it can find them.

African Lion

african lion
Image by Keyur Nandaniya via Unsplash

Social Structure

Lion via Depositphotos.

Unlike the solitary Siberian tiger, the African lion lives in a structured community known as a pride which is composed of related females (the lionesses) who take care of the cubs while the males (the lions) defend the territory against outside threats. Lions are social creatures and communicate with each other through body language such as head rubbing and group roars.

Hunting Techniques

Lion via Depositphotos.

Lions hunt mainly during the night when they can take advantage of their superior night vision, which allows them to detect potential prey more easily than during the daylight hours when they can be spotted from afar by their intended victims. Like tigers, lions use ambush tactics but have been known to adapt their strategy according to their prey’s behavior. For example, they chase a gazelle for miles until it tires out before going in for the kill or attacking elephant calves when it becomes separated from their mother’s protective herd.


Lion via Depositphotos.

Lions usually feed on large animals such as antelopes, buffalos, zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, or hippos. However, they will also feed on smaller mammals like hyenas or baboons if these are more abundant in their area. They also scavenge on dead carcasses if available; however, they prefer fresh meat whenever possible.

Overall, the hunting behaviors of these two magnificent predators are shaped by their environment and prey. Although there may be some similarities, each species has distinctive adaptations specifically suited to its habitats.

Challenges To Survival and Conservation Efforts

Siberian Tiger
Siberian Tiger in snow. Image by Pixel-mixer via Pixabay

The Siberian tiger and the African lion are charismatic big cats that face numerous threats to survival. Both species face significant challenges like habitat loss, poaching, and human conflict.

Siberian Tiger

siberian tiger
Image via Pixabay

Status of the Population

Tiger running in the snow, wild winter nature. Siberian Amur tiger, Panthera tigris altaica, wildlife scene with dangerous animal. Cold winter in taiga, Russia. White Snowflakes with wild cat via Depositphotos

The Siberian tiger is categorized as Endangered by the IUCN and features on the Red List of Threatened Species, with a population estimated at under 500 in the wild. This number is declining due to poaching, habitat loss, and climate change.


Amur tiger hunting in green white cotton grass. Dangerous animal, taiga, Russia. Big cat sitting in the environment. Wild cats in wildlife nature. Siberian tiger in nature forest habitat, foggy morning. Via Depositphotos

The main threats to survival are poaching for their fur and body parts, habitat destruction due to logging and development, and climate change, reducing the prey base for this apex predator.

Conservation Efforts

siberian tiger
Image via pexels

Nowadays, there are many efforts to conserve the Siberian tiger, such as anti-poaching campaigns, setting aside protected areas for their habitat, conservation education programs, and captive breeding programs to increase the population size. Additionally, trade in tiger products has been banned in many countries where they still exist to help protect them from illegal poachers.

African Lion

siberian tiger vs. african lion
Image by Joel Herzog via Unsplash

Population Status

Cubs and Lion Drinking Water
Cubs and Lion Drinking Water. Image via Depositphotos

Listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the African lion’s estimated population in the wild ranges between 20,000 to 30,000, spread across sub-Saharan Africa. While this number is much greater than the Siberian tiger’s number, these figures are still alarming and continue to decline due to similar threats.


Lion drinking water and looking at the camera
Lion drinking water and looking at the camera. Image via Depositphotos

The biggest threats facing African lions today are human activities such as poaching for their body parts used for traditional medicine or status symbols; hunting for sport; habitat degradation and fragmentation caused by expanding agricultural land; and diseases spread by domestic animals encroaching into lion habitats.

Conservation Efforts

lion sleeping in tree
Tree climbing lion in Ishasha, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda. Horizontal. Image via Depositphotos.

Numerous initiatives have been undertaken to try and reverse these trends, including:

  • Creating wildlife corridors between fragmented habitats to allow lions more freedom of movement.
  • Regulating trophy hunting operations as revenue generation for local communities (who often conflict with lions over livestock.) Oftentimes the profit also goes towards conservation measures, as ironic as it may seem.

In summary, the threats to the survival of the Siberian tiger and African lion are similar and require urgent action to protect these magnificent species for future generations.

Key Points

tiger cub
Young siberian/bengal tiger, captive. Image by via
YouTube video
Siberian tiger fight with African lion,the male lion ran away. Source: Youtube, Uploaded: 远东北亚巨虎


Elephants crossing
Lion stretching. Image provided by Elephants Crossing Lodge.

Who do you think would win in a fight? Are you team Siberian tiger or team African Lion?

We hope you enjoyed our assessment of the Siberian Tiger Vs. African Lion! If you’re curios for another intriguing battle involving the Siberian Tiger, take a look at our post on the Kodiak Bear Vs. Siberian Tiger.

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