Hippos, also known as hippos, are fearsome mammals that live in Africa, living part-time on land and spending a lot of time in the water. They share their range with many other animals, including lions who often use the same water sources as them. What happens when the king of the jungle meets an animal ferocious enough to bite through a ship? We know which animal wins the hippo vs lion battle, and we’ll break it down for you bit by bit.
By using the information available, we can show you which creature has the most advantage and is most likely to come out on top!
Comparing Hippos and Lions
|size||Weight: 3,000 lbs – 4,000 lbs|
Length: 10.5ft 16.5ft
Height: 4ft – 5.5ft at the withers
|Weight: 264 lbs – 550 lbs|
Length: 4.7ft – 8.2ft
|speed and movement type||– Top speed 20 mph- 30 mph|
– 5 mph in water
|-35 mph (50mph off for very short bursts)|
– Dash towards enemies with a galloping gait.
|Bite Force and Teeth||1,800 PSI Bite Force|
-36 sharp teeth
– Incisors up to 1.2 feet and canines up to 1.5 feet.
|– 650-1000 PSI bite force|
-30 teeth, including up to four
– 4 inch canines
|the senses||– great sense of smell|
– Good vision, especially underwater due to the transparency of the membrane – Good hearing on land and in water
|– Amazing déjà vu, especially night vision|
– Good sense of smell to be able to smell the markings of other lions
– Good hearing allows them to hear prey from miles away.
– violent behavior
– Dimensions and weight
|– Take pride in digital security|
– large size
– Can run away from enemies quickly
|offensive ability||– Incredible bite force|
– Load charging
|– Sharp claws can tear enemies apart|
– Claw strikes deliver powerful and surprising blows
– A powerful bite can tear bones and tear open prey.
|predatory behavior||– Ambush hunters only leave the water and attack||– Mainly stalking and jumping on opponents|
– Can act as a stamina predator
– Use groups to take down prey
The key factor in the fight between the hippopotamus and the lion
Deciding whether a hippo or a lion wins a fight with the other requires more than just glancing at the creatures. We found seven valuable data points that represent key factors that can give these creatures an edge in combat.
Consider the physical characteristics and predation tendencies of the two animals to see how the advantages they gain might affect a hypothetical fight.
Physical Characteristics of Hippos and Lions
The law of the field is very clear, larger, stronger creatures are most likely to win in battle against smaller, weaker creatures. That’s not the only physical trait that matters in combat, though. Take a look at the five traits that pit these creatures against each other in the heat of battle.
Hippo vs Lion: Dimensions
Lions are very large apex predators with few natural predators within their range. They can weigh over 500 lbs and stand 4 feet tall and 8 feet long! However, they are small compared to hippos. Hippos can weigh up to 4,000 pounds, reach 16 feet in length, and stand 5 feet or more tall at the shoulder!
The largest hippopotamus ever recorded weighed 9,900 pounds and lived in a zoo in Germany, while the largest lion ever recorded was also held in captivity at 827 pounds. Bottom line? A hippopotamus weighs about 10 times that of an adult male lion.
Hippos have the size advantage in this battle!
Hippo vs Lion: Speed and Movement
If lions want to eat dinner, they have to be fast. Their run speed typically reaches 35 mph, but they can turn on the afterburner and hit 50 mph before attacking. Although hippos are very large animals, they have a unique trotting style that allows them to run at speeds of 20 mph to 30 mph. A lion can certainly catch a hippo, but it probably doesn’t want to.
Lions have the speed advantage.
Hippos vs Lions: Bite Force and Teeth
Lions don’t have the strongest bite on the savannah, but they can bite between 650PSI and 1,000PSI. They have 4 inch long fangs that can be a formidable threat to almost any creature caught in their claws.
When it comes to bite strength and teeth, hippos are nothing short of indomitable. They have a bite force of 1,800PSI and teeth that are over a foot long. Hippos have 36 teeth and they are all sharp and powerful.
Hippos have an advantage in bite strength and teeth.
Hippo vs Lion: Senses
Lions have an amazing sense of hearing that they use to locate prey from miles away. Their night vision is excellent for hunting, and their sense of smell is good enough to identify specific animals.
Hippos have excellent vision and can stand upright in murky water. They also have a good sense of smell, but not as good as lions. They have good hearing both on land and in water, but not better than other predators.
Lions have the upper hand when it comes to the senses.
Hippo vs Lion: Physical Defense
Lions can use their speed, size, and pride in their fellow members to fend off harm from others. However, in a one-on-one fight, their speed and size are more important factors.
Hippos are similar to lions in that their large size can fend off multiple predators at once! Their skin is thick and difficult to penetrate, and they have a good threatening display to scare away predators.
Hippos have an advantage in physical defense.
Fighting skills of hippopotamus and lion
Both hippos and lions are capable predators. We’ll compare their fighting skills to see which of these animals has the upper hand when it comes to aggressive and predatory behavior. We can use this information in conjunction with their physical characteristics to definitively demonstrate which animal wins a fight with another.
Hippo vs Lion: Offensive Power
Lions are powerful offensive forces, using their weight and strength against another creature. They have strong legs with sharp claws to dig deep into their enemies. They also have a strong bite, with mouths that open wide enough to go around the throat of almost any animal.
Hippos have fewer means of attack. They use their body weight to trample others underfoot, or they kill their enemies with their massive bite.
We call this a draw; the hippo has strength, but the lion has skill.
Hippos vs Lions: Predatory Behavior
Lions are predators and will use ambush tactics to startle and overwhelm their enemies. They also simply chase enemies and attack them, usually in groups. Hippos will often ambush creatures from the water, hiding most of their bodies underwater, before attacking in sudden bursts of speed.
The predation behavior of these creatures is equal.
What is the main difference between a hippopotamus and a lion?
Hippos are longer, taller and heavier than lions, and hippos spend part of their time in the water, while lions are entirely terrestrial animals. Lions prefer to hunt their prey at dusk or at night because their senses are at an advantage. Hippos are almost pure herbivores, while lions are carnivores.
Hippos have a much stronger bite than lions, although both creatures use their bite to kill other animals. These are the most notable differences between hippopotamus and lion.
Who would win a fight between a hippopotamus and a lion?
A hippopotamus will win a fight with a lone lion, and it will even draw with several lions. The sheer power of the hippo and the ability to hide where the lion has to go, the water, will give them the upper hand in a fight.
Even if a lion beats a hippo, it’s not equipped to kill such a large animal without serious help. Lions can’t kill adult hippos in one fell swoop; they have to kill them with dozens of grievous wounds. No hippo would have allowed a lion to live long enough to inflict this kind of damage on them.
If a lion and hippo see each other coming, the fight will be all about physical strength. A hippopotamus can crush a limb or impale a lion’s vitals with just one good bite. Their teeth are so large that they can break a lion’s bones and pierce its guts with a single bite. This ignores simple weight differences that can easily crush a lion.
Lions have the advantage of speed, and they can catch hippos in the wild, but they probably don’t want to. The better and safer option is to simply evacuate the area, or bring enough pride to win. All in all, the hippo has enough advantages in the fight against the lion.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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