North America's Hardest Land Animal competition goes live Monday, thanks to Billy Huyton
was musing on Twitter a couple years ago about which animals he thought were the toughest on the planet.
At the time, it was an interesting read for his followers. But Huyton could have never known what those tweets set in motion.
Starting this coming Monday morning on Huyton’s Twitter page, the North America's Hardest Land Animal competition will go live with 16 of the toughest animals on the continent. It is one of the regional qualifiers for the World's Hardest Land Animal competition, which is much like the World Cup for the toughest animals.
Monday, the 16 animals in the North American competition will be drawn into four groups of four, with the top two animals in each poll advancing. Into the quarterfinals. If an animal makes it through that round, it will gain entry into the big time, the World's Hardest Land Animal, in the coming months. But while gaining entry to the top competition is a goal, the main goal of this is still there: to be crowned the hardest animal on the continent.
The first year of the voting was a relative success, but the event has now blown up: thousands of people voted in Europe’s Hardest Land Animal competition last week, and Huyton’s creation is gaining steam, and admirers, with each new vote posted.
“No,” Huyton said about how big the competition has become. “I started this off the back of a thread of the ten hardest animals I considered, irrespective of weight. Many people disagreed, so I thought I'd do a competition to find who it was. To stop people asking why such and such animal wasn't involved, I did some qualifying heats based on regions, so the public picked the animals that would eventually compete in World's Hardest Land Animal©. I'm hoping it gets bigger and bigger each year.”
“This will be the second year: the initial plan was to spread the competitions out first time round throughout the year, but world events meant a lot of people were stuck at home, so I put all of them very close together. This year will be the same for the same reasons.”
With all the focus on the continental events right now, the world competition is still in the distance. One animal stood tall over the rest in 2020, and is one of the favorites coming into 2021. It will make its entrance (with much fanfare) into the 2021 events during the African voting.
“The big winner has to be the Hippo,” Huyton said. “It won both Africa's Hardest Land Animal and World's Hardest Land Animal and faced more or less every big other big animal on the way to its undefeated double triumph, with the exception of the Asian Elephant. Another big winner was the Bengal Tiger: it defeated the Asian Elephant in the group stages of Asia's Hardest Land Animal, but lost to the same animal in the final and came in fourth at World's. Pretty much as good as you'd expect any big cat to do, especially good considering the Siberian tiger, a bigger version, didn't even qualify for World's.”
Here is a breakdown of each animal in the North American competition from Environmental Scientist Andrew Stutler, a Levittown, Pennsylvania native.
Black Bear: smallest of the three bears and usually avoids confrontation. Happiest just to climb up a tree when threatened.
Grizzly Bear: the beast of the lower 48 states and Canada. Will attack if confronted and not likely to back down. Great fisherman, incredible sense of smell, and deceivingly fast speed.
Kodiak Bear: lives on Kodiak Island, Alaska. A massive bear (like the grizzly), just a lot bigger.
Crocodiles and Alligators: stealthy hunters that attack by surprise. Anything can be their victim, in water and land: can run very fast. Top of the food chain: no real predators but man.
Arctic Wolf: very small great hunter, but also hunted by polar bears and people for their fur. Camouflage and small size keep it alive.
Raccoons and Skunks: expert scavengers, can hunt with human-like hands and will put up a fight, but very defeatable by other top predators. Skunks spray to chase away predators but if they are hungry enough will fight through it to eat.
Beavers: large rodents that slap their tail on the water to fend off predators or swim and hide under water. If caught on land they can be killed easily by predators that are stealthy (coyotes, lions, wolves)
Moose: so massive, the only thing that usually kills them is a mountain lion or pack of wolves. Otherwise forget about it: these animals are massive.
Lynx and Bobcat: are very similar lync live farther north. Stealthy cats are great hunters but they are hunted by larger predators and easily defeated if cornered.
Coyote: cunning. Will figure out how to get its prey through persistence and deception. Their sense of smell is great and they will usually get their prey unsuspecting. Lions and wolves may beat them as top predators.
Red wolf: strongest in packs where they can take down pretty much anything. Solitary, they are defensive but not nearly as strong oa predator: a bear or lion will take them down.
Mountain Lions: the largest North American cat and a predator of humans that will kill for meat. Unlike bears that would kill for defense, mountain lions are the top predator of North America with no real competition.
Armadillo: a cool creature that rolls up in a ball for defense. Coyotes will get them if persistent enough.
So according to this, the Mountain Lion, Kodiak Bear, and Grizzly Bear must be the favorites heading into the competition. The Grizzly, which just finished second to the Polar Bear in the Europe’s Largest Land Animal competition, might be out for revenge here, but we will have to see which animals are paired together in the group stage draw Monday. But with three other spots up for grabs to the World’s besides the winner, this is about staying alive, and moving on to the next event for some.
“The North American competition has some big names,” Huyton said. “Four places up for grabs, so some will miss out. I'm expecting the Grizzly Bear and Kodiak Bear to go far, and I'm expecting a better showing from the Moose this year. The Black Bear, Alligator and American Crocodile are all contenders to win North America's Hardest Land Animal /or qualify for World's. The Arctic Wolf qualified for World's last year, but I'm not expecting it to be as successful this year.”
Myron Thiessen, who farms and works with animals in Belize and has also spent a lot of time in Canada farming, thinks that the Grizzly has to be the favorite in this continental vote.
“It has to be the Grizzly,” Thiessen said. “Then I would say the Crocodile. There are some tough animals on that list. It should be interesting.”
You can vote for North America’s Hardest Land Animal on starting Monday morning.