This Elephant Trots Through A Sea Of Deadly Hippos And Doesn’t Care

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Written by Kirstin Harrington

Updated: November 10, 2023

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angered elephant
© Sergey Uryadnikov/Shutterstock.com

Elephants are kind animals who capture our thoughts and hearts. These are enormous sentient beings. Asian elephants can grow to a height of over 11 feet and weigh up to 12,000 pounds. African elephants can grow from 8 to 13 feet tall and weigh over 18,000 pounds.

They’re known to be gentle giants in the animal kingdom. You’d expect an animal so large to be quite ferocious, but elephants are quite kind-hearted and gentle.

This video from 2009 shows when an elephant in Tanzania braves a swamp full of hippos that the hippo is no match for the much larger animal. That being said, hippos aren’t the daintiest creatures either. 

One of the biggest mammals on Earth is the hippopotamus. Males average 3,500 to 9,920 pounds, while females weigh around 3,000 pounds. A hippo’s length ranges from 10.8 to 16.5 feet on average, and its shoulder height can reach 5.2 feet.

Where Do Elephants and Hippos Live?

Both of these herbivores are native to Africa and can be found sharing habitats in sub-Saharan Africa.

Elephants are present in 37 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and in smaller numbers in India and Sri Lanka. They generally live in grasslands and forests but can be found in other habitats such as savannas, forests, and deserts.

Hippos are mainly found in sub-Saharan Africa in countries such as Angola, Zambia, and Namibia. There are smaller populations in South Africa, Ethiopia, and Somalia. They typically live in freshwater habitats including rivers, lakes, and swamps.

Hippos are animals that love the water and inhabit rivers, lakes, and mangroves. Despite being thick, their skin is incredibly delicate and is quickly burned or dried out by the harsh African sun. In order to stay cool, and wet, and safeguard their skin, they spend the majority of their time in the water or mud.

African elephants are very large animals, growing 8 to 13 feet tall and weighing more than 18,000 pounds.

©Gary M. Stolz / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons – Original / License

How Long Do Elephants and Hippos Live?

Both animals have long lifespans that vary depending on the species and environment.

On average, an African elephant can live around 60 to 70 years in the wild, with some reaching 80 years. Asian elephants have a more reduced lifespan, typically living between 40 to 50 years in the wild.

This range is similar to the hippo, which can live up to 40-50 years in the wild, although individuals have been reported to live 55-60 years.

While animals often live longer when in captivity due to predator-free environments, it’s the opposite case for elephants and hippos. Both species’ lifespans in captivity are shorter than in the wild because of lack of space, reduced ability to exercise and poor diet.

Both elephants and hippos are considered vulnerable or endangered species due to habitat loss and hunting.

Is It Normal For Hippos to Attack Elephants?

No, it’s not. Hippos normally steer clear of elephants due to their size and willingness to fight if needed.

Male hippos are fiercely protective of their territory, while females actively defend their offspring by acting aggressively. Hippos are ferocious and regarded as very deadly animals. Their enormous teeth, bite force of 1800 PSI and tusks allow them to protect themselves from predators, including humans. Sometimes the parent hippos’ tempers take a toll on their offspring.

When land and food sources are scarce, one of these animals might challenge the other especially if they’re encroaching on territory. As in this video, we can see that some hippos will try to attack in the wild if they feel it’s necessary.

hippo charging towards camera with mouth open

Hippos are very protective of their territory and use their enormous teeth and tusks to ward off predators.

©PhotocechCZ/Shutterstock.com

A Nonchalant Getaway

The swamp in this video is full of dozens of basking hippos cooling off from the sweltering sun. You’d expect an elephant to walk around for his own safety, but this one couldn’t care less! He tromps right through the hippos as if they’re not even there. 

Several of the animals start attempting to bite the elephant and take him down. One, in particular, kept grabbing his tail. Without a concern in the world, the elephant makes it to the other side of the water and goes about his day. 

The tourists are enjoying the show! At one point, the elephant gently kicks a hippo as he lunges in for another bite. A top comment on the YouTube upload encompasses what we’re all thinking. 

It reads, Considering how territorial and aggressive hippos are and how they’re all forced to make way for the elephant, the elephant truly beats all in the jungle.” It’s true! 


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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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