Indifferent Elephant Parts a Sea of Hippos Like He’s Moses

Written by Maxwell Martinson
Updated: November 11, 2022
© Pooja Prasanth/Shutterstock.com
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Key Points

  • Hippos and elephants get along in the wild.
  • Hippos know that elephants are too strong to take down.
  • This article covers a video where hippos part in a river to make room for a elephant to cross.

If you could pick your battles with wild animals, you’d avoid elephants and hippos like the plague. Alongside lions, mosquitos, and scorpions, hippos and elephants are among the species most deadly to humans.

Even tactical predators like lions and hyenas have an exceedingly difficult time hunting down these two species of lumbering ungulates.

We wouldn’t mess with these animals in a million years, but what happens when an elephant puts itself in front of dozens of hippos?

Do the animals face off or do they interact harmoniously?

hippo charging towards camera with mouth open
A hippos jaw has a 1800 PSI bite force.

©PhotocechCZ/Shutterstock.com

Who’s Stronger? Elephant vs Hippo

We’ve got an in-depth analysis of whether an elephant or a hippo would win in a fight, although the word ‘fight’ suggests they’d square up with boxing gloves. It might be more of a brawl or a tussle than a fight, but that’s beside the point.

The elephant is monstrous, ranking as the largest land mammal in the world. Hippos, on the other hand, are notoriously ornery and come equipped with massive teeth longer and more forceful than those of a saber-toothed tiger.

In most cases, the elephant would stomp away victoriously because of its agility and size advantage. Many hippos could put up a good fight, however. In the video below, there are dozens of hippos taking mud baths in their natural environment.

If all of them were to join forces, it would be difficult for the elephant to cross. This elephant was determined to get to the other side, though. He stands tall, makes himself known with a puff or two of water, presents his majestic ears like the wings of a massive butterfly, and steps forward.

After a moment, the hippos take notice. They move out of the way out of some kind of respect for the elephant. The energy used to get out of the way is less of an inconvenience than the rage of a frustrated elephant, apparently.

elephant
Elephant in the Wild

©JohnEGoodwin/Shutterstock.com

In any case, it’s a beautiful thing to see this elephant strut his way through the path of hippos who wisely deferred to him.

Do Elephants & Hippos Compete?

The fact that these hippos parted like the Red Sea may or may not be surprising to you. The elephant is a herbivore, and hippos are omnivorous creatures that prefer plants to meat.

One is not likely to try and eat the other! That said, two herbivorous land mammals have the potential to compete for food, and that’s enough to spark dangerous encounters. Land and food sources are sometimes hard to come by, so one of these animals might challenge the other if they’re encroaching on territory.

Hippos and elephants are known to spat occasionally, although it’s not extremely common for them to outright attack one another. At the end of the day, it’s not worth the risk in most cases.

So, they defer to each other in a lot of instances and produce the amazing harmony we see in the video below.

Is it Normal for Elephants to Socialize with Hippos?

Yes, these two creatures tend to live near one another in relative peace in the real world. Hippos will make room for elephants to avoid conflict because hippos sense that elephants are simply too strong and massive to fight or take down.

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elephant
© Pooja Prasanth/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Hi! I'm Max and I'm a writer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I've been freelancing for more than five years and love the freedom and variety that this profession offers. Animals are also a big part of my life, and a lot of my time is dedicated to playing with my cat, Herbie.

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