What animals could most humans beat in a fight? © Dan Bright

What animals could most humans beat in a fight?

Published: 01st February, 2022 at 11:00
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Reckon you could take on a house cat? How about a chimpanzee, or a grizzly bear?

According to a YouGov poll that asked which animals British people thought they could beat in unarmed combat, 38 per cent thought they could ‘ruff’ up a medium-sized dog, 18 per cent thought they could vanquish an eagle, and 7 per cent fancied their chances against the world’s longest venomous snake, the king cobra.


Rats and house cats were the easiest presumed pushovers, with two-thirds of participants claiming they could see one off, while grizzly bears, elephants and lions were rightfully respected – only 2 per cent of pollsters claimed they would be able to take one down.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, British men were more likely than British women to think they could win a fight with an animal. For example, 15 per cent of men felt they could take on a chimpanzee, compared with just 4 per cent of women.

Across the Atlantic, Americans were more brazen, believing they could bag a win. Inexplicably, the effect is greatest for geese, with 61 per cent of people in the US claiming the ability to subdue an angry goose, compared with 45 per cent of Brits.

Thankfully, no animals were harmed in the making of this poll. It’s all opinion, bluster and hubris.

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Asked by: Arlo Head, London


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Helen Pilcher
Helen PilcherScience writer, presenter and performer.

Helen Pilcher is a tea-drinking, biscuit-nibbling science and comedy writer, with a PhD in cell biology.


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