Late Night Standoff Between Hippo and Rhino Shows Who Is Really Boss

Rhino and hippo grazing next to each other
© Andrea Izzotti/

Written by Angie Menjivar

Updated: October 18, 2023

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Hippos can be bullies and in this short clip, a team of rhinos teaches this instigator hippo a lesson.

The video opens with a spotlight on a hippo. Just behind it and to its left is an animal that you can’t make out from the start. As the two walk forward, they turn toward each other, and you can see that on the left is a rhino. The spotlight remains steady on the scene as the two stand next to each other seemingly calm.

See What Happens When a Hippo Encounters a Rhino

Hippo messes with the wrong rhinos!

The rhino starts to back away and turns around to make a left into the darkness behind it. The hippo, as if displeased with being left behind, goes after the rhino. It doesn’t do it in an aggressive manner, rather like a little brother going after a big brother after the big brother has decided he’s done playing.

The scene cuts to a different angle where you can see the hippo coming in from the left approaching the rhino on the right. The hippo approaches slowly from behind and begins to sniff the rhino’s hind legs. At one point, the hippo takes a little nibble of the rhino’s behind.

And here is where the trouble starts.

The rhino decides it’s had enough and turns to face the hippo. Now, the hippo, after provoking the rhino, is ready for what’s next. It displays the flexibility of his jaws and opens wide to show its menacing teeth. It takes a few steps backward as it does this.

Keeping its mouth open and widening its jaw, the hippo is face to face with the approaching rhino. The rhino flaps its ears backward and looks down with its horn pointed upward while the hippo remains open-mouthed, clinking its teeth against the rhino’s horn.

A call for battle, perhaps?

The rhino starts to back up and the hippo closes its mouth. As if disappointed it couldn’t get the fight it wanted, the hippo backs up and makes its way onto a nearby trail.

Later, the scene cuts to a moment when the rhino is off to the left and jogging away from the still-approaching hippo. The hippo has apparently decided that it wants a bit of commotion tonight. The hippo passes by two other rhinos recklessly, as it goes after the original rhino.

This hippo is determined—and perhaps to its detriment.

Next, the hippo is seen running off to the left of the screen while another rhino runs just behind it. Now the hippo is cornered. There are two rhinos behind it and one in front of it. The hippo turns to run away, and the rhino remains close behind, using its horn against the backside of the hippo.

The hippo wanted the fight and the rhino let it know it wasn’t going to be messed with.

This game of chase has taken of turn. Now it’s the hippo running away from the rhino! They appear to be on an open road and the spotlight stays on the scene as the video ends.

Perhaps a lesson for bullies—keep poking and you’ll be the one poked at!

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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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