Insane Video Shows Hippo Killing a Rhino in a Territorial Dispute

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: October 20, 2023
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In Africa, there are two main types of rhinos—the black rhino and the white rhino. There has been a wave of conservation efforts over the years, with the white rhino being brought back from the edge of extinction.

Watch This Unfortunate Battle Between Two African Greats

Unfortunately, poaching continues to be a problem. More often than not, poachers do not care for the life of the rhino, only the perceived value of its horn. Rhinos are frequently killed for this reason.   Conservation agencies have taken a unique approach. Coupled with anti-poaching security efforts, dehorning has become a common practice to ensure the survival of these immense animals.

Hippo vs Rhino Dispute

This video opens with a view of a large river cutting through a wildlife scene in Africa. The narrator explains that this area is home to various large animals including elephants, giraffes, rhinos, hippopotamuses, and buffalo.

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As he describes the animals, you catch a glimpse of each type. The narrator is speaking in Portuguese but there are English subtitles. He goes on to explain that these large species aren’t predators but that there are instances when they have to battle one another or each other. These encounters sometimes end up with both parties injured but, in some cases, the fights result in the death of one of the animals. It is how they assert dominance, conquer territory, and protect themselves.

The narrator then goes on to detail the encounter between a rhino and a territorial hippo. The rhino has approached a river to drink some water. The rhino has barely reached the edge of the water when the hippo approaches, making it clear that it does not want the rhino near. These two animals are similar in size, but there’s something missing from the rhino; its horn. It’s unknown whether the rhino was dehorned by poachers or through conservation efforts. The narrator guesses the former.

The hippo opens its mouth wide, threatening the rhino. The rhino, seemingly unfazed, doesn’t budge. However, another hippo approaches soon after, and the rhino is outnumbered. The rhino can be seen instinctively using its primary defense mechanism but to no avail.

The hippos corner the rhino, forcing it to walk backward into the water. One hippo bites at the rhino’s head, as it wins dominance after getting the rhino into the water. The rhino is in a losing battle at this point. The second hippo watches as the first hippo keeps the rhino in the water, its strong jaws latched onto the rhino’s body.

The narrator poses the question: if the rhino had its horn, would it have won the fight? We will never know.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © John Carnemolla/

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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