Power in Numbers: See Dozens Hippos Toss a Crocodile Like a Rag Doll

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Written by Kirstin Harrington

Updated: November 8, 2023

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A large group of hippos lie in the water.Tanzania Serengeti
© iStock.com/Miltiadis Louizidis

One of the biggest mammals on Earth is the hippopotamus. Males average 3,500 to 9,920 pounds, while females weigh 3,000 pounds. Due to their aquatic adaptations, hippos can be found in Africa’s still lakes and rivers. This makes them susceptible to much of the wildlife in the area. 

Being sociable creatures, hippopotamuses spend the majority of their existence in groups called bloats. A dominant male, many mature males, various adult females, and their young all coexist in bloats of 10 to 30 hippos. Every adult female in the herd may mate with the dominant male.

One of the main benefits of these massive animals living in bloats is the power in numbers in the wild. The fact mentioned above that hippos face the predatory animals that roam Africa can be seen in the video below.

In the footage, the hippos are enjoying a relaxing day basking in a watering hole. Shockingly, hippos can’t swim. The semiaquatic mammal propels itself through the water by using its own buoyancy and bone structure. They do spend a lot of their lives in water and can even make their bodies sink to the bottom and sleep. 

The bloat of hippos in the clip can be spotted suddenly thrashing around. If you look closely, you can spot a lone crocodile appear. The hippos aren’t playing games and know how dangerous this one creature can be to their group. They begin tossing the apex predator around like a rag doll. 

Can Crocodiles Kill Hippos?


Male hippos will sometimes fight to the death.

©Fayad Hameed/Shutterstock.com

So, if a crocodile is an apex predator, one could kill a hippo, right? Not likely. One of the main ways crocodiles kill their prey is by performing a death roll. This involves initially injuring the animal in order to drag it underwater and flip it around so many times that it becomes disoriented, making it easier for the crocodile to perform the final kill. 

Due to the incredible mass of these animals, this is impossible for a crocodile to do. That being said, these animals often try to take a hippo down by attacking their legs. They will also try to attack juvenile or newborn hippos as they are much easier to take it down.

How Do Hippos Kill Predators?

Although they may appear as if they move slowly, hippos are quite fast. They use their sheer size and incredibly long and powerful teeth to take down just about any predator. Their bite force is nearly three times stronger than a lion’s! A single hippo can kill a crocodile with just one bite.

So, what animals are predators of these creatures? Not many. Elephants, rhinoceroses, and lions pose the biggest threat. Hyenas and humans also have a history of taking down these giant beasts.

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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