choose 2 to defend you, the others will try to kill you

I heard this hypothetical scenario on Dan LeBatard at lunch today and thought it was fascinating. Dan posed this hypothetical to Ron Magill of the Miami Zoo.

1 hunter with shotgun and unlimited ammo
3 brown bears
4 lions
5 gorillas
7 cape buffalo
10 crocodiles
15 wolves
50 hawks
10,000 rats

Choose any two of the above to defend you. The rest are coming to kill you.

There was no discussion of whether the hunter had to reload or if this is a magic gun that generates its own ammo.

Magill picked the hunter (duh) and the 15 wolves (a bit more surprisingly). The hunter does seem an obvious choice to most quickly dispatch the large animals. I’m not sure wolves would be my second pick. I’m thinking 10k rats might be able to overwhelm by sheer volume, although 50 hawks do pose a problem to them.
Anyway, what’s your pick?

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook the other day. I agree that the hunter is mandatory, but not for offensive reasons. The hunter is the only aggressor (sans very smart gorillas with a cache of projectiles) who would be able to pick you off at a distance. So if the hunter’s not on your side, not only are you fighting or running from the other animals coming for you, but you’ve also got to be able to duck whatever the hunter is firing at you. Not a reasonable option.

Beyond the hunter, I would probably take the rats. The other enemies amount to fewer than 100, which means more than 100 rats to each enemy (not even accounting for the ones your hunter is taking out). Aggressive, vicious, swarming rats. Yes, please.

It is inevitable that friendly fire from the hunter will kill some number of my rats. C’est la guerre.

Not beyond 40 yards or so, depending on the type of ammo he’s loading. His shotgun is suboptimal for the large animals involved. A rifle would be a better choice overall, I think.

I picked the hawks and the rats, on the assumption that my defenders would be at least slightly coordinated and that none of my aggressors (including the hunter) would start in a position to kill me before my defenders could react.

My choices were based specifically on the basis of which attackers couldn’t possibly be stopped by any of the other potential defenders.

Only the hawks can fly, and only the hunter can reliably kill the hawks. And with 50 hawks vs. 1 hunter the hawks could take out the hunter quite effectively, and then proceed to take me out regardless of any other defense.

And nothing - *nothing *- could stop 10,000 rats. Nothing (other than the hawks) would survive.

Shotguns will fire a wide variety of different shot loads and slug loads. It hasn’t been specified what type the hunter has or if he has just one type. 12 gauge slug loads are capable of bringing down all the large animals listed, though they may not be ideal for the cape buffalo and the brown bears. Take a look at some of the hunting ammo made by this company. If the hunter has access to rounds like their Black Magic Magunum (yes, it is a ridiculous name) then even the bears, lions, and buffalo are in some much deeper doodoo.

But Asimovian’s point still stands. The shotgun isn’t going to completely stop any of the big animals, but it will mess me up within 20 yards. Yes, a rifle would be nicer, but that’s not a choice.

For my other help, I guess I’d go with the bears. One swipe by a bear will knock most of the other animals out of the fight. The number advantage of wolves would be eliminated pretty quickly.

That said, I think I’m screwed no matter which two I pick. If all the other animals are intent on killing me, they’re going to win.

I wonder how many rats it would take to mortally wound a gorilla? Or how many hawks to take down an adult male (me)? I feel like I could survive the hawk onslaught, assuming I am allowed to engage in combat and I’m not tied up in a chair or something.

I also agree that the hunter’s ability to be deadly at range makes them a little bit out of place in this list; if they can get within X feet of you, you’re dead. Of course, if that lion is 40ft away maybe I’m equally screwed, so that might not be as big of a deal as it seems at first glance.

Another thing I’m curious about in pondering this question is what’s the initial positioning? I’m going to assume we’re opposite each other on a field; maybe football-sized?

I’d go with the wolves too. Reasoning:

[li]Other than the rats and hawks, if any one of the other attacking animals reach me, I’m dead.[/li][li]So, quantity is important. As much as the power of some of the other animals are impressive, some number of the 15 wolves are going to reach me through any of the others’ defense.[/li][li]I’m not really sure how to deal with the rats or hawks effectively en masse, though I imagine the hunter could help with them to some degree (though if the rats were smart enough to take them out first, I’d be screwed).[/li][li]Regardless, 15 wolves are the only option for holding off any of the other packs of animals.[/li]All that said, if the attacking groups are all coming for me at the same time and/or working together, the whole thing is a lose/lose situation.

It seems to me that most people are too preoccupied with killing to win this fight; you need only disable or distract. It’s hawks and rats for me:

A blind hunter can’t shoot, and he can’t take down circling hawks fast enough to protect his eyes. - 1 hunter with shotgun and unlimited ammo

50 rats biting at their ankles will keep the bears too busy to look my way. - 3 brown bears

See above - 4 lions

Gorillas are more easily distracted than defeated,and the rats will keep them very busy - 5 gorillas

I don’t know much about buffalo, but they are vegetarians, so unlikely to hunt me down by scent. And they have no defense against a hawk attack from above. A blind Cape buffalo will still be dangerous tromping around, but he won’t be aiming for me. - 7 cape buffalo

The crocs will be the hardest to deter, but a blind crocodile is easier to defend against than a swarm of rats or a squadron of hawks. - 10 crocodiles

The wolves will take out a lot of my rats, and can avoid the hawks or bring down any who come too close. But they’ll gorge on the rats and then go to sleep, eating no more than ten each, I would think. - 15 wolves

Once the hunter is blinded and the rats are consuming him, can I steal his gun to finish off the bears, crocodiles and buffalo?

An adult male gorilla weighs around 350lbs. A rats weighs around 8oz. So 10000 rats would weigh around 5000lbs - two and a half tons.

I think the rats can take him.

Gotta go with the numbers. 10,000 rats to attack from the ground up, 50 hawks to claw their faces off from above.

Definitely the hunter and the rats. People who are poo-pooing the shotgun don’t know much about specialty ammo. There are rounds that turn your shotgun into a flamethrower, for instance. Put a decent length barrel on it for distance work and we’re ready to rock.

What are the starting distances involved? If all the animals start within 100 yards you’re fucked no matter what you choose. From one direction, or 360 degree attack?

I’d pick the lions and the bears, because I’m fucking dead anyway so I might as well cuddle with the cuddliest animals before I have to die.

I want the two on my side that I can’t defend against: The hunter and the rats. Yeah, a bunch of hawks might be able to take out the hunter, but probably not before he was able to get a few shots off at me. And any of the other combatants could take out many rats, and might eventually get all ten thousand, but ten thousand is a lot, and would take much longer than it would for them to cover everything.

A couple of other advantages to the hunter, by the way: First, if he dies in battle, well, I’m a human too, and I can take up his magic shotgun and continue fighting. Second, well, he’s also a human, which means that he isn’t just restricted to the shotgun, and can use his big brain to take advantage of whatever else is in the environment.

For the record, the Miami Zoo guy on the radio admitted that you’re probably dead no matter what you choose. The starting distance is a big factor, and was unfortunately not provided. I’d assume at least 100 yards.

Another point in the hunter’s favor is that he doesn’t necessarily need to drop every animal he shoots in it’s tracks. Most animals aren’t real keen on fighting to the death, even the most fabled predators. Even if we are magically waving that away so that all the attacking animals will do so with no regard for their own survival, it still matters. A hawk that is blinded or has a wing wounded is a lot less of threatfor example. As far as the blinding goes, I guess that is true of all the animals. Broken shoulders, sucking chest wounds, parts of the face and skull shot away…these will all reduce the combat effectiveness of the attacking animal quite dramatically. If the attacking animals aren’t going to behave according to their usual habits, then the hunter doesn’t have to either. He need not be concerned with quick, clean kills and all the other aspects of hunting that come under “sportsmanship.” He has unlimited ammo and can concentrate on putting holes in as many animals as possible as quickly as possible. Whether any of his hits are sportsmanlike doesn’t matter. An animal squealing and flailing in agony because it’s hips are shattered is out of the fray and that is all that counts.

I’m curious about the one person who chose cape buffalo. Was that a novelty pick or do you think they can actual do significant damage?

My questions:
-How intelligent is everyone?
-How suicidal are the attackers/defenders, and will the attackers focus all their energy on me, or will they fight the defenders?
-What’s the terrain?
-What’s the starting distance?
-Am I surrounded?

I’m gonna make some assumptions:

  1. Attackers are as intelligent as normal; defenders are under my basic command.
  2. Everyone is suicidal and will fight to the death. Attackers will fight the defenders if it seems the best bet of getting through to me, but otherwise won’t worry about defenders.
  3. The terrain is mixed: there’s some swamp, some forest, some fields, some rocky terrain. No human dwellings, because even a small hut will dramatically change the equation.
  4. Starting distance is one mile, with animal attackers rushing at me and the hunter stalking in.
  5. Not surrounded; the attacks come from a single direction.

Given this scenario, I’m gonna choose the rats and hunter. I’ll high-tail it to the forest and make myself a super-quick shelter of leafy branches, to try to minimize the hawk attack. Put a few dozen rats stationed on the branches to try to fend off the hawks; all the others stationed in trees and on the ground about 50’ away from me.

The hunter and I will try to stay under the cover of the branches while picking off the enemies. The rats will swarm.

I might survive a good two minutes with this strategy.

Cape buffalo are some of the most dangerous animals in Africa.

EDIT: That was in response to TroutMan.