Aggressive Hippo with mouth open running towards camera

Are Hippos Dangerous?

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  • Post category:Hippos
  • Post last modified:17 September 2021
  • Reading time:5 mins read

Hippos are certainly dangerous animals. They have a natural aggressive character. Hippos will attack if they think someone is a threat, even if there’s no reason to. Males have the most violent nature, while females are not as bad unless they have young children to protect nearby. Hippos do not trust anyone, and they let no one stand in their way.

  • Bite force: a whopping 12 600 kPa
  • Size: between 10.8 – 16.5 feet
  • Power: extreme
  • Weight: between 5000 – 8000 pounds

The hippopotamus, or hippo for short, are large, semi-aquatic mammals native to sub-Saharan Africa. They spend most of their time in rivers and lakes where they eat grasses and other plants. They also like to cool off by taking mud baths! There are two species of hippo – the common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) and pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis). Both can grow up to 4m long and weigh up to 8000 pounds!

The common hippo has an enormous mouth that can open 180 degrees wide – big enough for a small child or adult human to fit inside! And it’s not just their size that makes them unique; these animals have some pretty impressive features too. Their skin secretes red blood cells, which helps protect them from sunburn when they bask on the surface of the water at midday. 

Both male and female adult common hippos have canine teeth as long as 30cm! These tusks are used for fighting and help with feeding because they act like shovels moving dirt away so the animal can get tasty foods underneath. 

How fast can hippos run?

Hippos aren’t as slow as you think, and they can run quite fast, considering their bodies look almost chubby with tiny legs. When on land running, a hippo can reach speeds of up to 48 km/h (29.8 mph)

Do hippos attack people?

Yes, hippos attack people if they feel threatened in any way, shape or form. A hippo will not hold back and could quite easily bite a human in half with its tremendous bite force.

Do hippos eat people?

Hippos are dangerous mammals and are known to kill people. They are also known to eat meat and vegetation. But most of the time, hippos prefer to eat vegetation such as grass, leaves and fruit, much more than meat.

With no known stories/news on any hippos eating humans, It’s hard to imagine that they would. However, no doubt there is a strong possibility a hungry hippo will eat a human if no other food is around.

Why are hippos so dangerous?

Hippos are dangerous due to their size, their natural threat perception and territorial instincts. The damage they can inflict on other animals and humans make them one of the most dangerous mammals on the planet. 

What is more dangerous, a hippo or a rhino?

Hippos are more dangerous than rhinos. This is since they are more territorial and suspicious than rhinos. Rhinos prefer a quiet life, making them slightly less aggressive. 

Who will win in a fight between a hippo and a rhino?

If a rhino and a hippo came face to face in combat, a hippo would win hands down due to their powerful bite. Even though a rhino has an explosive charge with a deadly horn for protection, a hippo will still win in close contact combat.

What to do if you see a hippo?

If you see a hippo from a distance, do not head in the same direction. 

If you are close to a hippo on land, you need to run. Running in a zig-zag may help. But your best bet is to run as fast as you can and take cover somewhere. 

If in water, swim your fastest and get out and still carry on running when on land. Because you need to remember hippos are both water and land mammals. 

If you’re on a boat, then banging on the side of the boat may come in handy, especially if the hippo has already decided you’re a threat. 

If they haven’t suspected you as a threat, keep the boat moving and quietly continue on your path. 

However, let’s hope you are never come face to face with a hippo!

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Teresa Milne

Teresa is learning zoology and loves to share her knowledge through her articles. She has some pets that she adores two dogs, two cats, and one hamster. Teresa has also studied canine behaviour and canine nutrition.