Africa is home to the hippo and honey badger, to very different animals. These two animals must sometimes meet in the wild, and I have often wondered how they would interact with one another as both animals are known for not playing nice.
Hippos are highly aggressive animals, not only to other species but also to other hippos. They are more dangerous than lions. The honey badger left alone is harmless, but if you start a fight with one, you better be able to finish it. Honey badgers are fearless in battle, and giving up in a fight is not in their vocabulary. They are known for surviving standoffs with lions and hyenas.
We will pit the two animals against each other in a honey badger vs hippo. Who would win in a fight? Read on as we compare these two animals and see who would be the winner.
Honey Badger vs Hippo: Animal Fact Sheet
|Size||weight 9 – 16 kg|
length 55 – 77 cm
height 25 – 28 cm
at the shoulder
|weight 1500 – 2000 kg|
length 3 – 5 m
height 1.3 – 1.7 m
at the shoulder
bite force 1800 psi
|Defence||thick skin||thick skin|
|Lifespan||6 – 8 years||40 – 50 years|
|crocodiles, lions |
Honey Badger vs Hippo: Size
The size of an animal often plays a role in what animal will win in a fight. The male honey badger and hippo are significantly larger than the females. A male honey badger can weigh between 9 – 16 kg (20 – 35 lb) with a body length of 12 – 30 cm (4.7 – 12 in) and a shoulder height of 23 – 28 cm (9 – 11 in). A fully grown bull hippo can weigh as much as 1500 – 2000 kg (3300 – 4400 lb). And be 3 – 5 m (10 – 16 ft) long and stand with a shoulder height of 1.3 – 1.7 m (4.2 – 5.5 ft).
The hippo has the size advantage.
Honey Badger vs Hippo: Speed and Agility
The speed and agility of an animal can help it land the first blow during combat. The honey badger and hippo can reach a running speed of 19 mph (30 kph). So they are equally matched in speed, but the honey badger would have the advantage over the hippo in close quarters as they are smaller and, therefore, more agile in combat.
The honey badger wins on speed and agility.
Honey Badger vs Hippo: Attack Power
The hippo has a bite force of 1800 psi. There are no records for a bite force for the honey badger, but don’t let their small size fall you. Their bite is strong that their jaws cannot be easily dislocated in a fight.
The teeth of the hippo are huge, with canines that can be 50 cm (19.7 in) long and incisors 40 cm (15.7 in) long. The male hippos use their huge teeth to fight for the right to mate with the female hippos.
The hippo is the only animal that can open its jaws to nearly 180 degrees. Any animal that finds itself on the receiving end of a hippo’s mouth will have a bad day.
The honey badger has small but sharp teeth that grow irregularly protruding from different angles, with some teeth missing completely. When honey badgers fight, they attack an animal’s groin area. Buffalos have been found dead with wounds inflicted on the groin area. Their front paws have long claws, 3.8 cm (1.5 in) long, designed for digging but also help in battle and ripping their meal into pieces.
The hippo has the advantage of attacking power.
Honey Badger vs Hippo: Defence
The honey badger has thicker skin than most animals, 0.6 cm (0.2 in) thick. Their skin is thicker than a buffalo’s, an animal that is 50 times their size. Their skin protects them from bee stings when they raid bee nests for honey.
Their skin also has the advantage of being loose on their body, like wearing a jumper three sizes too big. Meaning they can quickly turn around and bite their attacker when pinned down.
The honey badger has a natural resistance to snake venom as a good defence that this is. This won’t help in this fight as the hippo is not poisonous. And like their cousin, the skunk, they have a gland underneath their tail they use for scent marking. When they are threatened can use the gland to release an overpowering odour to scare off attackers.
Although the honey badger has thick skin, the hippo easily beats it as its skin is 6 cm (2 in) thick. The hippo’s skin serves two purposes: to protect it from bites and cuts from rival hippos. Secondly, to protect it from the hot African sun. The skin also produces a pink liquid that acts as a sunscreen to stop it from getting sunburnt.
The hippo wins on defensive capabilities.
Honey Badger vs Hippo: Animal Senses
A honey badger’s sense of smell is strong, helping them locate food underground. While their eyesight is not excellent, their hearing is more adapted to picking up vibrations rather than long-distance sounds. A hippo also has a strong sense of smell to locate fallen fruit and alert them to predators. Their vision is poor, and their hearing is average.
Honey Badger vs Hippo What Are The Differences?
The difference between two animals can help decide what animal will win in a fight. The vast size difference between the honey badger and hippo is the most striking difference.
A hippo is more than 100 times the weight of a honey badger. A hippo’s head is nearly the same size as a honey badger. The hippo is just more prominent in every way length, height and teeth size.
The hippo is a semi-aquatic mammal living on land and in the water. They spend the hot day in the cool water and venture out to feed on grass at night. Only the honey badger has a resistance to poison that develops as it grows older.
Honey Badger vs Hippo Who Would Win In A Fight?
A hippo would win in a honey badger vs hippo fight. A honey badger may be able to hold its own against a lion but would have trouble surviving against a hippo.
The size difference between the hippo and honey badger is too big to ignore. The hippo can open its mouth so vast that it would be the same size as the honey badger. The hippo could pick the honey badger up with one bite and crush it. A honey badger’s thick skin wouldn’t be of much help in this battle. Their skin may protect against a lion’s teeth which are 10 cm long, but a hippo’s teeth are five times the size.
The hippo could just as easy flatten the honey badger under its colossal weight. For the honey badger to win, it would need to be lightning-fast and attack the hippo in the groin area without being bitten. Then survive long enough for the hippo to bleed to death.