Hippos are often called “river horses” by ancient Greeks, who knew their lumbering and toothed cousins well. Despite their aggressive nature, they only eat plants, mainly eating approximately 80 pounds of grass each day. They’re threatened by habitat loss and poaching as they’re targeted for meat and ivory canine teeth. The largest concentration in Africa is found in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley.
The mighty hippo can weigh up to four tons, grow up to 14 feet long and have a lifespan of 40-70 years. They eat plants such as 80 pounds of grass per day and spend 16 hours each day boating in rivers and lakes in sub-Saharan Africa, with only their eyes and nostrils bobbing above the surface. This meat-eating mammal is one of the most aggressive animals out there, even snapping a canoe in half!
Young Hippo Tries to Play With Crocodile
At the bottom of a murky river, a young hippo calf follows a croc, poking and nosing at it while the reluctant reptile tries to ignore it. The young horse brings the game up onto land and continues to nudge and chase, but despite its best effort the crocodile will not have any of that. As soon as other elephants show up, however, he gives up on trying to play with the calf when they take after him.
An unexpected pairing took place in the murky water. In it, a 100-pound hippo calf and a 10-foot crocodile pair up against each other on land. However, the young river horse doesn’t take too kindly to the odd pairing, viciously punching and chasing it down repeatedly until the croc retreats with its one-sided game up onto land. Fortunately, this unusual yet temporary relationship eventually ends when an elephant herd arrives and chases off the hippo.
This Hippo Isn’t Bothered by a Lion Attack
Lions are usually better at hunting other animals than hippos, but they may still go after hippos when nature’s tanks cross its path. This video of a lion attacking a river horse shows a desperate attempt to take down the waddling prey. The lion releases the hippo and lets another member of the pride take a stab at it, but the chase goes on.
Eventually, two more of the big cats get involved and eventually make their escape as well, with the river horse seeming unfazed by their attempts to get close enough to reach out and grab it. When faced with danger, hippos can run at speeds comparable to humans for short distances–the hippo in the video escaped.
Hippos are large and dangerous animals, so it’s always wise to keep your distance. But sometimes that’s not enough and you need to determine whether the animal is going for a kill or is just acting in self-defense. In this video, a lion latches onto a hippo’s rump in an effort to take the river horse down. Luckily for the hippo, it turns out the big cats aren’t really the predators they pretend to be. This video illustrates how dangerous these herbivores can be when they decide to show off their speed—can you say “needing more prey?”
Watch What Happens When a Lion Startles a Hippo
African lions need to be careful in their environment, as they are nearing some of the most aggressive animals on the planet. A lion in this video is approached by a resting hippo and walks up to it, likely trying to check it out. The animal wakes up and then the two battle each other. The lion makes one last attempt at escaping the clash and is unfortunately knocked over, bleeding from its mouth before quickly dying.
When lions encounter other big, aggressive animals, they’re at risk. But luckily some of the precautious big cats like those in this clip are able to escape.