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Why the Adorable Hippo Is In Fact One of the Most Dangerous Animals on Earth

angry hippo
Image via Depositphotos

In my opinion the hippo is one of the most adorable animals – but looks can be deceiving! While it’s true that they are indeed adorable, it is also true that they’re one of the most dangerous animals: here’s 20 reasons why.

1. Deceptive Speedsters

Hippo
Despite possessing formidable dentition, the hippopotamus relies solely on vegetation for sustenance. Image Hbieser via Pixabay

Contrary to what their chunky bodies make us believe, hippos can run at speeds of up to 19 mph on land. This surprising burst of speed makes them extremely dangerous, especially if they feel threatened or provoked.

2. Territorial Titans

Hippos
Hippos in a lake. Image by Art Tower via Pixabay

Hippos are highly territorial animals, particularly in water. They dominate sizable portions of rivers and lakes and will aggressively charge at anything they perceive as an intrusion.

3. Massive Mammals

hippopotamus
Hippo and its young. Image by Christels via Pixabay

Adult hippos typically weigh between 2,800 and 3,300 pounds. Their sheer size and weight alone make them formidable opponents and a threat to any intruder, whether human or animal.

4. Impressive Bite Force

hippo
Image by evaschlomberg from Pixabay

With a bite force of about 1,800 pounds per square inch, hippos have one of the strongest bites in the animal kingdom. This powerful jaw is capable of crushing bone and slicing through thick materials (which is even more impressive when we consider the fact that they’re actually vegetarians.)

5. Unpredictable Behavior

hippo
Image by Christo Ras from Pixabay

Hippos are unpredictable and can be extremely aggressive without apparent provocation. This unpredictable nature contributes to their danger, particularly to unsuspecting onlookers.

6. Nighttime Nomads

With an average daily consumption of 88 pounds of vegetation, hippos maintain a relatively sedentary lifestyle, conserving energy between feeding bouts.

Image via Depositphotos

Hippos travel extensively at night to graze, covering distances of up to 5 miles from their aquatic homes. Encounters during these nocturnal wanderings can be perilous due to their aggressive nature.

7. River Masters

Baby Hippo Meets A Hippo for the First Time.
Image via Depositphotos

In water, hippos move with surprising grace and speed, capable of reaching speeds of up to 5 mph. Their aquatic agility allows them to defend their territory more aggressively.

8. Stealthy Submergers

Hippo
Image via Pexels

Hippos can hold their breath underwater for up to five minutes, often walking or resting on the riverbed. This ability allows them to surprise intruders by suddenly emerging from the water.

9. Powerful Protectors

hippo
Mother hippo and her calf in water. Image by Gonzalo Gonzales via Unsplash

Female hippos are particularly protective of their young and will aggressively defend them from any perceived threats, making them dangerous to both animals and humans during encounters.

10. Dominant Males

Hippo
Hippo peeping above water. Image by Designerpoint via Pixabay

Male hippos maintain strict control over a group of females and are fierce fighters when it comes to defending their harem from rival males, often resulting in violent clashes.

11. Social Swimmers

Baby Hippo Meets A Hippo for the First Time.
Image via Depositphotos

While hippos live in pods and appear social, the dynamics within these groups are complex and can lead to aggressive interactions that pose risks to anything in their vicinity.

12. Rampant Wanderers

Hippopotamus
Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) with a Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), Chobe National Park, Botswana. Image via Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74486424

During the wet season, when rivers overflow, hippos tend to wander far from their regular habitats. During this time, they often come into closer contact with humans leading to dangerous encounters.

13. Deadly Encounters

hippo
Hippo baring their teeth as they devour some grass. Image by 16692474 via Pixabay

Hippos are responsible for an estimated 500 human deaths each year in Africa. This high fatality rate makes them one of the deadliest large animals on the continent, underscoring the lethal risk they pose to communities living near their habitats.

14. Infectious Defenders

Hippopotamus
Black hippopotamus. Image via Unsplash

Hippos mark their territory by spinning their tails while defecating to spread their feces over a large area. This behavior can spread pathogens that may be harmful to humans and other animals.

15. Seasonal Aggressors

Escobar's Hippos On the Move
Image via Pexels

Their aggression increases during the dry season when water levels drop and resources become scarcer, leading to more frequent and violent encounters with both animals and humans.

16. Charge without Warning

Hippo
Image by Jeffrey Eisen via Unsplash

A hippo may charge without any warning, especially if it feels cornered or surprised. These charges are swift and can be deadly due to the hippo’s size and speed.

17. Culinary Competitors

hippo one of the most dangerous animals
Image via Pixabay

Hippos often raid crops, leading to conflicts with farmers. These encounters can become violent, as hippos will not hesitate to charge if they feel threatened while feeding.

18. Aquatic Ambushers

hippo one of the most dangerous animals
Image via Pixabay

In the water, hippos are known to capsize small boats and canoes without provocation, posing significant risks to fishermen and tourists alike.

19. Resilient Survivors

hippo one of the most dangerous animals
Image via Pixabay

Their tough skin and robust immune systems make hippos resilient to injuries, allowing them to survive encounters that would debilitate other animals, thus continuing their aggressive behaviors.

20. Mighty Mudders

hippo one of the most dangerous animals
Image via Pixabay

Hippos spend much of their day submerged in water or mud to cool off, which can make them unpredictable when they emerge, often leading to sudden confrontations with nearby threats.

Why Hippos Are One of the Most Dangerous Animals: Conclusion

hippo one of the most dangerous animals
Image via Pixabay

We can’t help but find hippos absolutely and utterly adorable with their chunky bodies, big eyes, and iconic ears. However, their cuteness should be admired at a safe distance as in reality they are in fact one of the most dangerous animals on the savannah, and perhaps also the planet.

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