Hippo vs Crocodile | Who Would Win in a Fight?

Instinctively, a crocodile fears a hippopotamus and Hippo will win if there is a fight between a crocodile and a hippopotamus. However, people have been debating for years about the fight. Though Hippo wins most of the time, the scenario can be the opposite depending on the circumstances as crocodiles are also ferocious predators.

Hippo vs crocodile

Hippopotamus vs Crocodile – Comparison

At a glance comparison between Hippo and the crocodile:

Infographic: Difference between hippo and crocodile

Comparison Chart in detail:

Comparison withHippopotamusCrocodile
Scientific nameHippopotamus amphibiusCrocodylinae
SpeciesThe family of Hippopotamidae has two extant species. The First one is the Nile hippopotamus. The other one is the pygmy Hippo which belongs to the Choeropsis or Hexaprotodon genus in the family Hippopotamidae.The extant crocodilians have 24 species. All these species are divided into three families-Alligatoridae, Crocodylidae, Gavialidae.
SkinHippopotamuses are somewhat different from any other semi-aquatic animals. Hippos have little hair. A hippopotamus has a skin of 6 cm thick, and this thick skin protects other predators. The skin is almost bulletproof. Hippos leather is very rare.Crocodiles have bony skin on their back and comparatively soft skin in the lower part of the body. The bony skin is bulletproof. Its skin has different applications in the leather industry. For example- it is used to make bags, shoes, and other leather products. That is why its skin is a valuable one.
MouthA Hippopotamus has a large mouth, and it can open its mouth at almost 180 degrees. An adult Hippopotami will have 36 teeth, and its mouth is roomy enough to hold those teeth.A crocodile mouth has a v-shaped jaw. It moves its upper jaw only while biting. However, it cannot open its mouth as wide as the hippopotami can.
Bite ForceThe bite force of a mature hippo is 1800 pounds per square inch.The bite force of a mature crocodile is 3700 pounds per square inch.
BehaviorHippos are considered one of the most aggressive animals in the world. They use their large teeth to face different threats. Hippos stay in groups, and usually, one male Hippopotamus leads the group. Habitually, 10 to 30 hippos form such a group.Nile crocodiles are the most aggressive ones among all other crocodiles. Male crocodiles are aggressive during mating season. Crocodiles spend most of their time in the water, and also they can move several miles overland.
HabitatHippopotamuses are found in sub-Saharan Africa. As hippopotamuses like to spend most of their time in the water, they usually live near the water sources.Crocodiles live in the tropical habitats of Africa, Australia, and Asia. They usually live near water lands, lakes, rivers. The Saltwater region is also a favorite place for them.
ReproductionThe hippopotami are polygamous, and a female one is capable of giving birth to one calf each year under good conditions. The male one forces the female one during mating, and the female one remains submerged in the water.Sexually, the nature of crocodiles is dimorphic. They lay eggs, and also females and males mate to reproduce. The number of eggs that crocodiles lay at a time may vary in number for different types of crocodiles.
LifespanHippopotamus’s average lifespan is 40 to 50 years.
In captivity, hippos live longer. The average lifespan counted in captivity is 50 years. ‘Donna’ is the name of a female hippo that lived for 61 years at the Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville, Indiana, in the US.
Crocodiles of all species will have an average lifespan of at least 30 to 40 years. Saltwater crocodiles can live up to 70 years.
Generally, crocodiles have a longer lifespan in captivity. It can last more than 70 years.

Common hippo vs pygmy hippo
Nile and saltwater crocodile

Hippo vs Crocodile Fight

If there is a fight between an average-sized Hippo and an average-sized crocodile, obviously, the Hippo will win. The size of a mature Hippopotami will be two or three times more than that of a mature croc. As a result, the croc will not be able to have a proper grip on any of the Hippo’s body parts.

Hippopotamuses are more dangerous than crocodiles. However, they are not invincible. There are circumstances where crocodiles can defeat them. A group of crocodiles can easily defeat a hippopotamus, although the scenario is very rare as hippopotamuses like to stay in a group.

In Burundi, there is a crocodile in the Ruzizi river and Tanganyika lake named ‘Gustave.’ Gustave is 18 feet long and weighs more than 2000 lbs. Hippos of this region fear Gustave, and people observe the scenario in which Gustav killed hippos.

Other than the exceptional scenarios, there are reasons why a hippo defeats a crocodile. Below reasons are the most crucial ones-

  • Size is an important fact. A Croc is smaller in size than a hippopotamus.
  • A Croc can weigh up to 1300 lbs whereas a hippo can weigh up to 4000 lbs. That way, naturally a hippopotami is stronger than a Croc.
  • Crocodiles are not as intelligent as hippopotamuses. Although crocodiles are good swimmers, they cannot outsmart the hippopotamuses.
  • Hippos usually stay in groups. And crocodiles are solitary animals, which is why it is rare to see a group of crocodiles challenging Hippo alone. That means hippopotamus always has its backup if it is attacked by some other animal.
  • Very few animals have wider mouths as the hippopotamuses have. Although the biting force of a crocodile is more than that of a hippopotamus, the capacity of opening a wider mouth is a great advantage for a hippopotamus to challenge any threat.
  • It is seen that the more aggressive the animal is, the more ability it will have to dominate over other animals. When there is a fight between Hippo vs crocodile, Hippo will show more aggressiveness naturally and crocodiles are no match to hippopotamuses.
Hippopotamus and crocodile in water

How Hippo and Crocodile Live In the Water Together

Hippo and crocodile resting together

One of the reasons why the Hippo and crocodile live in the water together is that the crocodile knows that usually, Hippo does not eat meat. Additionally, a crocodile will not attack a Hippo staying in a group.

Hippopotamus usually plays within its species, although pairing between a hippopotamus and a crocodile rarely occurs. Hippos are bigger and more dangerous than crocodiles. This is why a crocodile will not attack a Hippo even if the crocodile doesn’t attack a young hippo because the other adult ones protect the young Hippo.

Relation between crocodile and hippopotamus

The Relationship between Hippo and crocodiles is playful, and peaceably they stay together. Both of the species know well what the other one can do, which may be a big reason for their calmly staying together.

Behavior between crocodile and Hippo

Crocodiles and hippos show some interesting behaviors while staying together. A crocodile usually has a hard spiny tail, and it is observed that sometimes, a baby Hippopotamus chews the crocodile’s hardtail, but the crocodile is not caring for it.

When both species stay together in the water, a baby crocodile sometimes gets on the back of a hippopotamus, and it seems that the baby croc is playing while staying on the back. Still, the Hippopotamus is not bothered at all.

Do crocodiles eat Hippos

The crocodile is a carnivorous animal, and it eats the baby hippopotamus. But it is a difficult task for a crocodile to catch a baby Hippopotami because an adult one always backs a baby hippopotamus.

When a baby Hippopotami is away from its group or if there is no adult one staying near that baby Hippo, which is the perfect time for a Croc to attack.

Do hippos eat crocodiles

Hippopotamuses are herbivorous animals, and meat is not their food. The straight answer to the question do hippos eat crocodiles is a big-No.

But they attack crocodiles whenever they are disturbed. Hippos usually eat grass, and when these two species stay together, hippos do not pay any attention to the crocodiles other than eating grasses. But Hippopotamus is easily capable of killing a croc.

However, Scientists have found some strange reports that hippos show unusual behavior sometimes. It also eats other big animals. There are cases that this big giant eats meat when food is scarce.

Hippo vs Crocodiles- Which Is More Dangerous

If you enlist the names of the most dangerous animals, hippopotami will be at the top position on your list. It is a very dangerous and harmful animal. There are examples of people in Africa being killed by hippopotami.

Crocodiles are cold-blooded animals. They need more sunlight to gain energy. And they usually attack more when it is warmer. Study shows that Nile crocodiles attack 275 to 245 times per year, and among all these attacks, 63 percent of attacks are fatal.

Crocodile attack

Why Crocodile attacks humans

Crocodiles attack humans when they are disturbed. Each year about 1000 humans are killed by crocodile attacks worldwide. Crocodile attacks are more where more crocodilians are native, and the human population is also more.

Nile crocodile and saltwater crocodile are the two species that attack humans the most. Twenty-five percent of attacks by saltwater crocodiles are fatal. The saltwater crocodile attacks are seen in Australia, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. Mugger Crocodile attacks are observed in India. There is a rumor that the famous crocodile named ‘Gustave‘ in Burundi killed almost 300 people.

Why do hippos attack humans

It is estimated that hippopotamuses kill about 500 people living in Africa. This deadliest mammal is considered twice as dangerous as a lion and an extremely territorial being.

Generally, hippos do not attack other animals until it is bothered. The male Hippo is more aggressive and attacks humans when it is disturbed.

The male one is more aggressive than the female one. Usually, the female one becomes threatening to protect the young one. Usually, this dangerous mammal does not bother other animals.

However, if you are curious to know Hippo vs crocodiles- which is more dangerous, the straight answer is that the crocodile is no match to hippos.

Beware of hippo and crocodile sign


Crocodiles do not attack a matured hippopotamus. It only attacks the young one. And the hippopotamuses do not care until crocodiles disturb them. However, a hippopotamus will dominate over a crocodile in a hippo vs crocodile fight.

You might also be interested in:

Rhino vs Hippo | Who Would Win in a Fight?
Elephant vs Hippo | Who Would Win in a Fight?

Sharing is caring!

Photo of author

Team Animalia Facts

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

1 thought on “Hippo vs Crocodile | Who Would Win in a Fight?”

Leave a Comment