Grizzly Bear vs. Hippo: Which Powerful Beast Wins in a Fight?

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Written by Crystal

Published: March 21, 2023

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It’s time for another animal battle. One of America’s most iconic beasts, the grizzly bear, fights a heavyweight hippo. Both of our competitors are large, fierce, and designed to kill. But only one can come out on top. Which incredible predator would win a grizzly bear vs. hippo battle? Follow along to find out!

Comparing a Grizzly Bear vs. Hippo

Pick your team now. Will the grizzly be the ultimate champion, or will the hippo walk away victorious? They say that the only thing that scares a grizzly is another grizzly. That might be true on land. But the hippo will have an immediate advantage if this fight goes into the water.

Battle FactorsGrizzly BearHippo
Size3.5 feet tall on all fours
9 feet tall, standing
400 to 600 pounds
16 feet long
5 feet tall at shoulders
3,000 pounds
Speed35 mph19 mph
CharacteristicsApex predator
Bites prey on neck
Bluff charges
Bite 2X stronger than lion’s
Top AdvantagesPowerful paws
Size and strength
Willingness to stand and fight
Massive teeth
Size and strength
Willingness to stand and fight

Grizzly Bear: Fighting Advantages

grizzly bear feeding on an elk along the Lamar River, Yellowstone

A grizzly bear can eat over 100,000 calories a day.

©Bobs Creek Photography/Shutterstock.com

The grizzly bear is the ultimate predator. They’re one of the biggest, strongest creatures on Earth. Standing 8 feet tall on its hind legs, the large brown bear weighs almost 1,000 pounds. Females usually weigh less, coming in at around 800 pounds. However, females are known for being fiercer than males when protecting their cubs. Whether the hippos fighting a female or male grizzly, one thing’s certain, it’ll be an intense show-down.

Full of Fish Fuel

Before this animal battle, you can bet that the grizzly bear has fueled up on as many fish as possible. A grizzly bear can eat over 100,000 calories a day. Salmon is one of their favorite sources of strength. Male grizzlies require more calories because they’re twice the size of females. But female grizzlies usually catch more fish to feed their young.

Charges Fast

Despite their large size, grizzly bears can move incredibly fast. Using an ambush hunting technique, they’ll wait for their prey to be close before chasing after them.

When this animal battle begins, the grizzly bear waits in the brush until the hippo walks into view. Then the brown bear runs toward the hippo. At top speed, the grizzly moves at just over 30 mph.

Muscular Hump

What makes grizzly bears so strong and fast? These brown bears have one of the best muscular structures to support strength, stamina, and speed. They have a large muscle group on their hump and buttocks, providing strength and speed. The hump also helps power the grizzlies arms when they need to dig for food or lift heavy rocks.

Thick Neck Skin

Another advantage the grizzly bear has against the hippo is the thick skin around its neck. Their neck skin is 20 times thicker than human skin. They also have two insulating layers of fur that can help absorb the hippo’s bite.

Best Nose in Nature

Grizzlies have one of the best noses in nature. An adult grizzly can smell seven times better than a bloodhound. They can even smell animals underwater, so the hippo wouldn’t have any chance of ambushing this brown bear.

Can Bite Through a Bowling Ball

The grizzly bear has powerful jaws and strong muscles and can bite through bones. A grizzly bear can crush a bowling ball with a single bite! They can also obliterate a human skull and tear apart cast iron.

If the grizzly were fighting a wildebeest or moose, it’d only need to land one big bite. But this is a grizzly bear vs. hippo battle, and hippos have thick hides. The grizzly bear must go all out with multiple bites and claw slashes to overpower the thick-skinned hippo.

Large Paws and Sharp Long Claws

Grizzly bears have large paws that help them hunt and scavenge for food. Their long claws are less curved than the black bears’ claws, making it easier to dig up plants and find rodents. Their claws are about as long as a human finger.

The grizzly bear is an impressive killing machine with a fierce reputation. The moment the hippo arrives on the scene and threatens the bear’s authority, it’ll be a deadly battle. But our aquatic competitor isn’t going to go down with a fight. Let’s look at the hippo’s top fighting advantages.

Hippopatumus: Fighting Advantages

Strongest animal bite – hippopotamus Africa, Aggression, Animal, Animal Body Part, Animal Head

Male hippos fight with each other for river space. These fierce creatures have huge canine teeth that continue growing throughout their lives.

©iStock.com/mesut zengin

Hippos are one of the most dangerous animals in the world. They kill around 500 people every year in Africa. These fierce creatures have huge canine teeth that continue growing throughout their lives. Sometimes their teeth grow to be over a foot long.

To avoid growing too long, their teeth are self-sharpening. A hippopotamus’s bottom teeth constantly grind against the short upper canines. The hippo in this battle is prepared to drive its sharpened teeth deep into the grizzly’s skull.

Insanely Powerful Biteforce

Hippos have a bite force of 1827 PSI. Since they exert that bite force across a large surface area, it gives them even more power. In relative terms, a hippo’s bite force is a hundred times stronger than a human’s bite force.

Mouth Opens 4 Feet Tall

The hippo won’t have any trouble biting into the enormous grizzly bear. Their mouths are gigantic! A hippopotamus’s mouth can open 150 degrees. Let’s put that in perspective. Closed, the hippo’s mouth measures 2 feet wide from left to right. Once they open it, the mouth can measure up to 4 feet tall! That’s tall enough for a small child to stand up in!

Especially Aggressive During Dry Season

Watch out! This grizzly bear vs. hippo battle happens during a deadly time of year, the dry season. The hippo is the fiercest during the dry season since food supplies and water levels are limited. In a rush to survive, male hippos fight with each other for river space. Often the losers are kicked out of the river with life-threatening injuries.

Holds Breath 30 Minutes

Once in the water, the hippo will have the best advantage. An adult hippo can hold its breath underwater for up to 30 minutes. That’s plenty of time to drown its brown bear competitor.

Most Territorial in the Water

If the grizzly bear threatens the hippo on land, the hippo will run for cover in the nearest waterway. Hippos are the most comfortable and territorial in the water. They spend a lot of time here, and the water’s where they were born and eventually mate.

Walks Along Bottom of Rivers

Once in the water, the hippo will turn to face the grizzly as it gently stands on the surface below. Since hippos can’t swim or float, they use sandbanks to walk or stand. In the water, our hippo competitor will be comfortably positioned and ready to attack with the best advantage. If the grizzly is foolish enough to get into the water, it will end poorly for the bear.

Which Powerful Beast Is the Winner?

The hippo wins! This grizzly bear bit off more than she could chew. As the battle starts, the brown bear lands a bite. But the hippo’s thick hide provides the perfect amount of protection. Then the hippo dashes into the nearby waterway, and the grizzly follows.

Once in the water, the hippo opens its gaping mouth and bites the grizzly with over 1,000 PSI. Chomp! Dragging the grizzly underwater, the hippo waits patiently. Since adult hippos can hold their breath for 30 minutes, the brown bear won’t be able to survive.

Grizzly bears are capable of being fierce killing machines. But they’re only the ultimate predator when they’re on land. The grizzly bear didn’t stand a chance when this animal battle entered the water.

Congratulations to team hippo. Swishing its tail back and forth, the hippo happily grunts down the stream, declaring its victory.


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About the Author

Crystal is a dedicated writer at A-Z Animals, focusing on topics related to mammals, insects, and travel. With over a decade of experience in the world of research and writing, she also fulfills the role of a skilled video and audio engineer. Residing in sunny Florida, alligators are Crystal's favorite animal.

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