Watch a Humongous Hippo Show Its True Size and Humiliate 3 Adult Lions

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Written by Kirstin Harrington

Updated: December 30, 2023

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Deadliest Animal in the World: Hippopotamuses
© PhotocechCZ/

Lions are one of the largest cats in the wild and are often thought to be the kings and queens of the jungle. They live in the savannahs and grasslands of Sub-Saharan Africa, and a small area of India is home to a population that is at grave risk of extinction. 

Lion Characteristics

male lion

A large male lion can weigh up to 550 pounds!


The lion stands out from the majority of cats because it has a short, rounded head and a powerful, deep chest. They have short necks, rounded ears, and a hairy tuft on the tip of their tails. Due to their noticeable mane, the male can be easily distinguished from the female. 

Apart from humans, lions have very few predators to avoid. Hyenas could feast on a young or wounded lion. Adult male lions have been known to hunt and devour cubs. Humans pose the greatest threat to lions because they hunt them and intrude on their territory.

How Large Do Hippos Get?

Aggressive hippo male attacking the car. Huge hippo male intimidating the opponent. Wild animal in the nature habitat. African wildlife. This is Africa. Hippopotamus amphibius.

The hippo is the third-largest land mammal in the world.


A video from Latest Sightings shows us a unique look at another predator: the hippopotamus. The hippo is notable for being the third-largest land mammal. It can grow to a maximum weight of 2866 to 3307 pounds, with some individuals exceeding 7,000 pounds! 

These massive beasts are roughly 8 to 10 times larger than a lion. Hippos can travel at a top speed of 30 miles per hour on land and five miles per hour in the water, defying their portly and hefty look. They can therefore protect themselves quite successfully and have a great degree of agility.

An Unwelcomed Visitor

The video we’re covering today starts with three lions swimming in what appears to be a large marsh or pond. Although lions can swim, they nonetheless avoid the water because they do not fare as well in the water as other members of the large cat family. 

Lioness walking into water

Lions will enter the water to capture prey


Lions typically enter the water to cool down or to go to the opposite side of the land. These large cats prefer the ground to the water since they are mainly terrestrial creatures. The three large cats quickly disperse and a raging hippo speedily swims toward them. 

Something interesting to note is that hippos are herbivores. They don’t kill lions for food. They will, however, attack a lion if they are defending themselves or if a lion is in their territory. It’s safe to assume in this situation, the hippo wanted these cats to scram! 

Hippos are fiercely protective of their aquatic territory and can turn vicious if other animals intrude. Hippos in male form keep a small area of water as their territory. Moreover, they must defend up to a dozen females and their calves.

The lions go their separate ways and once they reach land, the hippo calls it a day. As the massive animal heads back into the water, we see another hippo in the distance. Perhaps this is his mate and he thought the big cats were getting a bit too close! 

Is It Normal for Lions to Fight Hippos?

World's Scariest Animal: Hippopotamuses

Lions do not consider hippos as prey because of their large size.

©Gaston Piccinetti/

Instances of conflict between hippos and lions are infrequent. The reason behind this rarity is that hippos possess enough strength to fatally injure a lion with a single bite, and lions are aware of this fact, exercising caution accordingly.

While hippos are typically protected from nocturnal predators due to their large size and formidable teeth, there are instances where they can still become targets of lions.

Lions generally do not consider hippos as prey due to their immense size. Hippos are known to be formidable creatures that are rarely challenged. Despite their seemingly amusing appearance, they possess the potential to be highly dangerous.

Interestingly, it has been reported that hippos are responsible for more human fatalities in Africa than any other terrestrial animal.

Hippo vs. Lion: Who Would Win?

Hippo vs lion

In a match-up between a hippo and a lion, which animal would win? While we reckon you can already guess, let’s take a closer comparison anyway.

While lions are among the largest cats on Earth, weighing over 500 lbs, standing around 4 ft tall, and measuring 8 ft long, hippos are massively larger. They weigh up to 4,000 lbs, stand 5 ft tall, and measure 16 ft long.

Hippos do not have a speed advantage on land. They can run from 20-30 mph, while lions reach speeds of 35-50 mph. However, a hippo in the water dominates, swimming up to 8 mph. While lions can swim, they are at a disadvantage to the semi-aquatic hippo.

Lions have a bite force between 650PSI and 1,000PSI, which is formidable, but not great compared to the hippo. The latter animal wins with an average bite force of 1,800PSI. While lions have 4-inch fangs, hippos have 36 sharp and powerful teeth.

Lions are agile and have power in numbers, capable of taking down a young hippo or one that is weak or elderly. But a hippo’s best defense is its massive size and very tough skin. The hippo can also exhibit intimidating behavior when it wants to.

All-in-all, a hippo would win a fight against a lone lion, and could even stand its ground against several lions. The hippo also has a huge advantage, being at home in the water where it can hide safely from lions.

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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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