The nile crocodile and hippopotamus are two of the most aggressive animals in Africa. The nile crocodile will consider any animal its prey if they wander too close to the water’s edge. The hippo does not play well with others and will not tolerate any animal trying to share its water.
Both animals have short tempers, so when Africa is in drought and water is scarce, these two dangerous animals must fight over the last remaining water sources. So in a hippo vs crocodile fight, who would win? Read on as we compare the two animals.
Hippo vs Crocodile Animal Fact Sheet
|Size||weight 1500 – 4082 kg|
length 3 – 5 m
height 1.3 – 1.7 m
|weight 225 – 450 kg|
length 3 – 5 m
|Speed||19 mph on land|
5 mph in the water
|20 mph on land|
18 – 22 mph in the water
|Attack||bite force 1800 psi|
|bite force 3000 psi|
40 – 50 cm long teeth
|good hearing |
& sense of smell
smell and hearing,
sensitive skin that
can pick up vibrations
in the water
|Habitat||South Africa & Madagascar|
rivers, swamps & lakes
rivers, swamps & lakes
|Lifespan||40 – 50 years||40 – 80 years|
Hippo vs Crocodile Size
The nile crocodile can weigh 225 – 450 kg (500 – 1,000 lb) and be 3 – 5 m (10 – 16.5 ft) long. The biggest nile crocodile ever recorded was in Tanzania in 1905, and it was 6.4 m (21 ft) long and weighed 1,066 kg (2350 lb).
Hippos weigh between 1500 – 4082 kg (3300 – 9000 lb) and have a body length of 3 – 5 m (10 – 16.5 ft). At the shoulder, they can measure 1.3 – 1.7 m (4 – 5.5 ft). The largest hippo ever recorded lived in a zoo in Germany and weighed 4490 kg (9,900 lb) and was 4.9 m (16 ft) long.
The crocodile and hippo have similar lengths, but the hippo easily beats the crocodile in weight and height.
The hippo has the size advantage.
Hippo vs Crocodile Speed and Agility
On land, the hippo can run at 19 mph (30 kph) while the crocodile can reach 20 mph (32 kph). Both animals have little stamina, so they can only keep this speed up for roughly 30 seconds.
In the water, the crocodile has the advantage in speed as they are strong swimmers capable of reaching 18 – 22 mph (29 – 35 kph). The hippo can only muster a paltry 5 mph (8 kph) in the water.
The hippo can’t swim or float naturally. Hippos float and sink by controlling their breathing and moving around by walking on the surface or kicking their feet off the floor to propel themselves. Both animals are more agile in the water than on land.
The crocodile has the speed and agility advantage.
Hippo vs Crocodile Attack Power
The nile crocodile has a bite force of 3000 psi, but despite this, the crocodile’s mouth can be secured shut using duck tape. Their jaw muscles for clamping their mouth shut are extremely strong, but muscles for opening their mouth are weak.
The nile crocodile has an average of 65 teeth, with the longest being 10 cm (4 in). They can grow back lost and damaged teeth, able to grow over 4000 teeth over a lifetime.
Crocodiles hunt by patiently waiting by the water’s edge for an unsuspecting animal to come down for a drink. The crocodile then launches itself out of the water to bite a hold of its prey. Then drags the animal into the water to drown them before performing a death roll to rip chunks off the carcass to eat.
The hippo has a bite force of 1800 psi, less than the crocodile, but a hippo has way bigger teeth. Their incisors are 40 cm (15.5 in), and their canines are 50 cm (19.5) long.
Hippos are the only animal capable of opening their mouth to nearly 180 degrees. They do this to display their power to other animals. A mouth that big with those vast teeth must be a terrifying sight for any animal.
It’s a draw on attack power, as both animals are formidable opponents in battle.
Hippo vs Crocodile Defence
A hippo’s primary defences are its size, teeth and thick skin. When male hippos reach a significant enough size, they are immune to predators like lions and hyenas.
Their skin is 6 cm (2 in) thick, which protects them against other hippos and predators. They can also charge head-on with their mouths open, displaying their massive teeth to frighten off rival hippos and other animals.
The nile crocodile’s defences are its thick skin and teeth crocodile’s skin is made up of thick armour-like scales to protect them from other crocodiles and predators. They can use their teeth to bite or intimidate other crocodiles or predators.
Hippos have the defence advantage.
Hippo vs Crocodile Animal Senses
Crocodiles have a strong sense of smell and can even tell what direction the odour is coming from. They can smell an animal’s carcass from four miles away.
Crocodiles have good eyesight with even greater night vision. They use this as an advantage to hunt prey at night as most of their prey have a poor nocturnal vision. All crocodilians can see in colour.
A crocodile’s scaly skin may look hard, but it is very sensitive, with the skin on the snout more sensitive than human fingertips. This helps them pick up on vibrations in the water.
The crocodile’s hearing is better than a human’s being able to pick up sounds that are inaudible to us. The senses of the nile crocodile make it one deadly predator.
The hippo’s senses are nowhere near as powerful as the crocodiles. Their eyesight is poor and relies on their excellent sense of smell and hearing. Their poor vision makes them unpredictable and dangerous.
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Hippo vs Crocodile What Are The Differences?
The difference between the two animals can mean winning or losing the fight. The hippo’s weight is the most significant difference between the hippo and the crocodile. Even an average adult male hippo could weigh at least three times as much as the crocodile.
The crocodile has more teeth than the hippo, but the hippo’s teeth are five times as long. The crocodile is a reptile that lays eggs, while the hippo is a mammal that gives birth to live young. Crocodiles are carnivorous the hippo is a herbivore.
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Hippo vs Crocodile Who Would Win In A Fight?
The hippo would win in a crocodile vs hippo fight. It does not make a difference if the battle happens on land or in the water. The hippo has the advantage of size and having huge teeth compared to the nile crocodile.
The hippo would only need one or two well-placed bites to kill the crocodile. The hippo’s long teeth would easily puncture the crocodile’s scaly skin and vital organs.
The crocodile may have the stronger bite force but lacks the weight and strength to take down an adult male hippo. A bull hippo can weigh nine times as heavy as the crocodile and, on land, could stomp on the crocodile to kill it.
The only way for the crocodile to win would be for the fight to take place in water. The crocodile would need to ambush the hippo and launch its attack by biting hold of its neck and quickly dragging it under to drown. The crocodile would need to be extremely large to succeed, even if it was an average size bull hippo.
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