Watch This Mama Hippo Scare Off an Attacking Leopard With Just One Look

Written by Sharon Parry
Published: February 5, 2023
© Radek Borovka/
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Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

As an adult hippo, you have very little to fear from predators. But the situation for baby hippos is more hazardous! Being a baby hippo is a risky business, unless Mama is not far away. You have to admire the daring persistence of the leopard in this clip as it follows a mother hippo and a calf in The Luangwa Valley in Zambia. However, the mission is doomed to failure right from the start.

The Hazardous Lives of Baby Hippos

Baby hippos are called calves. The mothers are pregnant for about eight months and give birth to a single calf – this usually takes place during the rainy season. A hippo’s life is very connected with the water – they often mate and give birth there. Hippos make excellent mothers and are very protective of their calves. They even let them ride on their backs.

This calf will be fully weaned at around 18 months but may stay with their mom until they are eight years old. Female calves then find a group of females to hang around with and males live a solitary life.

Hippo calves can stay with their mother until they are eight years old

©Irena Socratous/

Young hippos are in far more danger than their parents. They are a target for many predators including the leopard that we see here. At one point in the video, the leopard has managed to grasp hold of the calf’s rear limb in its mouth. The calf has no way to fight back and simply calls for its mother. All the mama hippo has to do is look at the leopard and it lets go immediately!

Other predators including crocodiles, lions and hyenas target young hippos. However, they also face danger from other hippos too.

Hippos Temperament and Predators

Hippos may look pretty laid back but they actually have a lot of attitude! Disputes arise between hippos over territory and they frequently attack other animals and humans. A combination of huge weight and sharp tusks make them a very dangerous animal.

A group could contain up to 100 animals and they do not always get on! When a disagreement arises, things can get violent and hippos can be very aggressive. A baby hippo that accidentally gets caught in between two adult hippos having a fight is very likely to get crushed. There have been occasions where mother hippos have killed their own calves in this way!

Next up:

Watch a Cocky Hyena Bite a Hippo’s Eye

Watch a Hippo Chase a Boat With Shocking Speed and Strength

Watch a Leopard Accidentally Hunt a Hippo, and Return Later for a Meal

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The Featured Image

Hippopotamus emerging from water
Hippos are highly aggressive and unpredictable, and often charge other animals or even humans.
© Radek Borovka/

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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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