Watch This Gigantic Elephant Wade Into Hippo-Infested Waters and Part the Sea Like Moses

Written by Sharon Parry
Updated: April 14, 2023
© Sergey Uryadnikov/
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Key Points:

  • This video covers an interesting scene where a huge elephant goes into hippo-infested waters and something really cool happens!
  • The elephant enters the water and slowly the hippos begin to move out of its way!
  • Hippos and elephants have the ability to co-exist if necessary.

Filmed at the amazing Nogorongoro crater area in Tanzania, here we see two giant species negotiate a right of way across a river. It’s fascinating to see these magnificent animals show each other mutual respect and share the stretch of water without coming to blows.

Hippos Wallowing in the Water

Throughout the entire footage, there is a large group of hippos wallowing in the muddy water. Hippos spend a lot of time doing this but why is that? It’s all down to their skin. These semi-aquatic mammals have unique skin covering their bodies. It needs to be kept wet for a lot of the time – if they stay out of the water too long they can dehydrate.

Hippos don’t have regular sweat glands. Instead, their skin secretes a substance called ‘blood sweat’. It is thick and red and gets smeared all over the skin. This creates a layer of mucous that protects the hippo from sunburn and keeps the moisture in. Experts also believe that it has some antiseptic properties as even wounded hippos rarely get skin infections.

Hippos Fighting in Water
Hippo’s skin dries out if they spend too long out of water

©jos macouzet/

The hippopotamus body has plenty of adaptions for a life of wallowing in the water. Their eyes, ears, and nostrils are on the top of their head so that they can still be aware of what is going on and, most importantly, can breathe! Their eyes have a clear membrane that protects their eyes from muddy water. Also, their nostrils can close and they can hold their breath for five minutes.

Elephant Coming Through!

If you encountered a Gomphothere, you’d likely mistake it for a giant elephant.


A fit, adult hippo has very little to fear from other animals. They are large enough and heavy enough to put most predators off. They also have long canines that they use to protect themselves. Even a lion would struggle to overcome one, especially in the water.

Despite their dumpy and seemingly harmless appearance, these guys are very grumpy and dangerous. They can and will kill a human that they perceive as a threat. Hippos can get very territorial about their stretch of water and become very aggressive when protecting their calves.

This group of hippos obviously view the elephant as too big to start a conflict with and grudgingly decide to get out of the way so that it can pass to the other side!

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The shark continues to inch closer. Before it rapidly turns away, it is only a foot or two away from the crocodile‘s lengthy tail. What caused it to end the hunt? The crocodile grabbed a rock and began to climb it. The shark was unable to follow it.

The shark leaves, possibly looking for another food source. There aren’t many fish or other aquatic animals in the oceans shown in the video, but the shark clearly knows where it can find a delicious feast.

The crocodile keeps moving around the rocks, climbing, and swimming. The crocodile is still submerged and uses the rocks to hide and be safe.

At some point, it momentarily raises its snout above the surface before swimming once more. The crocodile moves back to deeper water after making sure the shark has left the area and continues on its journey.

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The Featured Image

Group of Hippos in the water
Currently, hippos are confined mostly to protected areas, and over the past 10 years their populations have declined 7-20%
© Sergey Uryadnikov/

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About the Author

Sharon has a Ph.D. in Public Health but has spent the last decade researching and writing about all things connected with animal health and well being. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a very energetic Cocker Spaniel but in the past she has also been a Mom to Guinea Pigs and several cats!She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and reviewing products that make pet owners' lives a bit easier. When she isn't checking out new pet products she's trekking around the Welsh mountains and beaches with her dog - although she lets her husband and her three grown up daughters tag along sometimes if they are lucky!

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