One Billion Lions vs. “All” Pokémon

Why one billion lions would absolutely destroy all non-legendary Pokémon in a fight.


Photo from Pixabay.

Wesley Henshaw, Editor-in-Chief

Photo from Pixabay.

So I’ve been arguing with my friends about this, and I don’t know where it came from. Regardless, I’m here to say why one billion lions would crush all the Pokémon.

First things first, let me set the rules of this debate. Considering how I’m the one writing this, I get to decide the rules.

When referencing Pokémon, I will only be using the Pokédex as accessible by the link here. I am excluding legendary Pokémon because, clearly, the legendary Pokémon alone could destroy one billion lions. After all, legendary Pokémon include actual gods who can manipulate time and space. In addition, any Pokémon not on the Pokédex will be excluded for my own sake in research.

This fight is an all-out war between both sides. The environment will be a large field-like area, ensuring that open-combat can be held between the two sides. Final Destination, for Smash Brother fans. To give Pokémon the best chance possible, they will have infinite energy or PP (Power Points). This is a battle of strength, not endurance.

Alright, having set some ground rules, I think it’s time for a disclaimer. I am not an avid Pokémon player, I do not claim to be an authority on Pokémon. However, I would argue, and I hope this becomes clear, that the sheer statistics of the lions are enough to suggest their victory over the Pokémon. I’ve engaged in multiple debates about this topic, and I am supported by three friends who are Pokémon fans, people who have played many of the games and watched the television show. It is because of conversations with them that I have the key arguments I do.

So let’s get into it. Here’s why I believe that one billion lions would easily crush the roughly 80o Pokémon in the Pokédex.

The most important thing in describing the utter destructive force of one billion lions is to help you understand the scale of one billion lions. Time for some math.

According to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre website, the average male lion can be anywhere from 1.7 to 2.5 meters long. That’s 5.6 to 8.2 feet. Now, I had trouble finding information on lion width, but one forum post suggested lions are 1.5 feet wide shoulder to shoulder. I have no way of validating this, but claims the average man is 16.1 inches (1.34 feet) wide shoulder to shoulder, so I’m just going to assume 1.5 feet is a fair width for a lion.

Knowing the width and length of an average male lion, we can calculate the square footage each lion will be taking up. I’m going to use the upper estimates, so each lion takes up roughly 12.3 square feet. Using this number we simply multiply that by one billion, coming to 12.3 billion square feet (rather simple). So one billion male lions would take up 12.3 billion square feet, which, dividing by 5,280^2 square feet per square mile, we get the number ~441.202 square MILES of lion. For context, St. Louis County is 523 square miles. That means in a situation wherein one billion lions stood shoulder to shoulder, they would take up 84 percent of St. Louis County. That is utterly, in a word, ridiculous.

Now for this next point, I’ll be using a bit of theoretical conjecture that may seem a leap of logic, but we are talking about magical pocket monsters.

So, I ask you to turn your attention to ants. Ant populations in a colony typically tend to be roughly around 100,000 to 500,000 worker ants and several hundred ants of other types, according to Texas A&M AgriLife. With this large population, they are able to accomplish various feats of incredible coordination.

An example of the possibilities that come with high coordinated populations. Wikimedia Commons.

Ants are able to build bridges using their comrades and cross gaps. In floods, they are able to form rafts by joining together and floating to safety. They are able to magnify their already impressive strength by teaming up on their quarry.

Now, while lions lack the proportional strength of an ant, this situation does yield numbers upwards of 2000 times of a colony’s population. Meaning, the feats that lions would be able to accomplish with this extreme population, mixed with the known flexibility and agility of the creature, would allow them to act as what I have called, the “Lion Wave.”

At this population, they would form a fluid, unanimous motion not dissimilar to that of a wave. For an image of what this would look like, I suggest viewing the movie “World War Z,” a mediocre movie that does display the fluid dynamics of large populations. Additionally, in “Inside Out” the dream boyfriends demonstrate this concept as well.

So when you hear all the Pokémon vs one billion lions, it is not a situation of multiple battles of one lion vs one Pokémon, it is an utter wave of destruction of epic proportions vs all of the Pokémon. Realistically it is safe to assume a majority of the Pokémon would be wiped out in the first few seconds of the lions striking.

Pikachu? That little yellow rat is going to take out one, maybe two lions. 1/1,000,000,000 rounds to 0. Therefore, Pikachu dies and nothing matters.

For the other small percentage of Pokémon, let us say 10% so less than 100, they can maybe survive against the lions, at least initially, but they cannot put a dent into this mass. The problems I’ve been provided are 1) flying types, 2) ghost types, and 3) those that are simply really strong.

Flying types are a simple one. They need to land and/or get close to attack the lions, at which point the wave of lions will pile upon each other to reach them. Easy, done. The Lion Ladder will prevail.

Ghost types are a little tricky, and I can understand if not everyone follows me here. Presuming we live in a wacky enough world that Pokémon exist, I think it would be believable that ghosts exist. Therefore, if a lion dies, it becomes a ghost lion and ghost types are weak to ghost types, therefore the lions prevail.

Finally, those that really strong (like Machamp, who can lift a mountain). Strength is really not a valuable asset in this fight, as being able to lift a lot or punch hard doesn’t help against a fluid-like mass. A mountain is solid, a billion lions is an ocean. Even speed doesn’t help, as Machamp, punching faster than you could imagine, can’t punch the ocean away.

Overall, I believe the lion’s victory is clear. More importantly, I found this extraordinarily fun. For the past few months, I’ve been debating with friends and pondering comical theories of how lions would win here and Pokémon would win there. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who would win, it’s a  thought experiment that is a great way of having fun whilst simultaneously practicing reason and logic. I encourage you to jump into your own inane debates online or in person, have fun with it.