Watch Indomitable Hippos Take Revenge on This Crocodile

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Written by Sharon Parry

Published: April 10, 2024

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Crocodiles with hippos on a bank of the Mara River, Kenya.
© OlgaPetrusha/

The amazing Krugar National Park in South Africa is full of impressive carnivores with phenomenal hunting skills. Across the two million hectares, epic battles between animals take place daily – but some are more unusual than others. You may assume that hippos are peaceful, lumbering animals who chill all day in sticky mud baths. Think again! Hippos are highly territorial and often aggressive animals who are happy to take on the most dangerous predators – including crocodiles! Take a look at the extraordinary clip above to see a group of hippos attack a crocodile – and win!

Hippos Attack Crocodile

When we join the action there is already a chaotic situation in this watering hole. A group of at least 50 hippos are gathered together in the muddy water. They all have the same aim – to drive a crocodile out of their patch of the river. The beleaguered reptile has no escape route because it is completely surrounded.

The hippos take it in turn to bite the croc – sometimes several of them bite it at the same time. At one point, the crocodile gets lifted out of the water and is passed across the top of the hippos like a crowd-surfing rock star!

Having disappeared beneath the muddy water several times, the croc manages to swim to safety. It will probably never venture into this particular patch of water ever again.

Why Do Hippos Attack Crocodiles?

Hippo Attack

Hippos have been known to charge after humans!

©Martin Mecnarowski/

According to the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Library, hippos are gregarious animals who form temporary alliances with each other. A group of hippos is called a herd which can contain up to 50 individuals.

Males in particular are highly territorial about their patch of water. They are not so bothered about parcels of land. Hippos and Nile crocodiles occupy the same type of habitats and it is inevitable that they will meet each other. During these encounters, it is almost always the hippos that are dominant.

Hippos are herbivores so they do not attack crocodiles to eat them or because they are competing for prey. Instead, it is a form of defense. Mature Nile crocodiles have been known to take hippo calves. As you can see in the above footage, groups of females in a herd will join together to drive a croc away. There are instances where a crocodile has been killed by an angry herd of hippos so this croc got away lightly!

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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