Do Hippos Eat Fish | Animalia Facts

Hippos do not eat fish. They are primarily herbivores. Their diet comprises grasses, tiny plants, vegetables, fruits, etc. Though there are a few cases where hippos eat meats, this happens when food is scarce or they are stressed for some reason.

Do Hippos Eat Fish

Hippos’ Food

Most people think hippos live on meats or big fishes for their huge and terrific looks and aggressive behavior. But hippopotamus’s diet mainly consists of grasses. Their favorite food is short grass, and they eat grasses on the pastures near the water bed.

Hippos eat green grasses with small shoots, reeds, tiny plants that they can tear up and swallow without much effort. They do not eat coarse grass that has strong roots.

Besides grass, hippopotamuses rarely eat aquatic plants though those are more accessible. Hippos also eat fruits when available. Since they eat only during the night, you cannot precisely know what they eat.

In captivity, the hippos eat straw, Bermuda hay, alfalfa, lettuce, other vegetables, etc. Sometimes they are also given aquatic plant supplements, herbivore pellets, watermelon, pumpkin, etc.

When Do Hippos Eat Fishes Or Meats?

Hippos are primarily herbivorous, but that does not mean that they will never eat meats or fish.
From some close surveillance, it is proved that these river horses are not essentially pure vegetarian all the time.

If there is a scarcity of grass, fruits, or plants, hippos can eat meat, insects, or even fish. It rarely happens, especially during droughts.

Although hippopotami have often attacked and killed zebras, impalas, and even other hippos and eat their carcasses, this is considered abnormal behavior or nutritional stress.

Can Hippos Be Called Omnivores?

Sometimes hippos can attack crocodiles. Sometimes they also attack people. The hippopotamus is one of the most aggressive animals on this planet. Every year they kill at least 500 people in Africa. But hippos are not omnivorous.

Hippos are giant than most other predatory animals and can eat fish or meat. They do not live on fish or meats because their digestive system is different from the carnivorous or omnivorous animals.

Adaptations also determine an animal’s diet besides its digestive system and teeth type. Possibly that is why hippos do not eat fish or meats though they are capable of doing so.


Although Hippos spend their entire day in the water, they do not interest fish or aquatic plants. The African folktale gives a satisfying answer that hippos do not eat fish because God did not allow them to do so. However, if hippos ate fish, they would have ended up all the fish of lakes and rivers by now!

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"Team Animal Facts" is an expert group of wildlife enthusiasts who are impassioned for mysteries of animal life and dedicated to exploring them.

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