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New survey reveals which wild animals Americans think they could beat in a fight

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Story at a glance

  • A new survey revealed that 6 percent of Americans believe that they could fight a grizzly bear unarmed and win.
  • The results of a new YouGov survey, overall, show that most American’s have a more modest assessment of their skills, saying they would be most confident squaring off against a rat, goose or house cat.
  • The survey paired up 34 animals, including humans, in head-to-head match-ups to determine which respondents believe is the fiercest.

A new survey revealed that 6 percent of Americans believe that they could fight a grizzly bear unarmed and win.

The results of a new YouGov survey, overall, show that most Americans have a more modest assessment of their skills. In fact, American’s would be most confident squaring off against a rat, goose or a house cat. 

The survey paired up 34 animals, including humans, in head-to-head match-ups to determine which respondents believe is the fiercest. Elephants and rhinos came out on top with 74 percent, followed by grizzly bears and tigers with 73 and 70, percent respectively. 

Still, 8 percent of respondents think they could beat a gorilla, while 49 percent believe they could triumph in a battle against a medium-sized dog. 

Respondents were asked “Which animal do you think would win in a fight,” and each saw seven match-ups. No animal was featured more than once, according to the release.


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The survey also noted a gender difference in responses. The largest gap is evident in the number of men — 61 percent — who registered their confidence that they could win an unarmed fight against a dog. Only 39 percent of women surveyed said the same. Men and women showed similar levels of confidence when it came to a match up against an elephant, grizzly bear or rhino. 

Meanwhile 27 percent of men feel they could snatch victory from a king cobra. 

“YouGov data has previously highlighted male overconfidence, but there is effectively no gender difference when it comes to this top tier of opponents – men and women are about as (un)likely to think they could beat grizzlies, lions, gorillas and crocodiles in combat,” Matthew Smith, Head of Data Journalism at YouGov, wrote in the survey’s findings. 

The poll measured the responses of 1,224 U.S. adults from April 12-13, 2021. 


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