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The Most Dangerous Animal is…The Hippo?

What do you think is the most dangerous animal in the world?

Sharks? Alligators? Bears?

You might be surprised to learn that one of the most dangerous animals in the animal kingdom is actually the hippopotamus!


That’s right, hippos are one of the most dangerous animals in the world and are the most dangerous animal on the African continent. Keep reading to find out why.

Hippos Are Huge

A hippo can weigh as much as 8,000 pounds! That’s approximately the same as 2 regular-sized cars!


Not all hippos reach 8,000 pounds, but even an average one weighs about 3,500 pounds. With that much weight, just their size alone makes hippos much more dangerous compared to other, smaller animals.

Hippos Have Sharp Teeth and Strong Jaws

Hippos have very sharp, large teeth — some can reach up to 3 feet in length!

In addition to sharp teeth, a hippo also has a large mouth (up to 4 feet across) with a strong jaw that can be used like a sledgehammer for crushing.


Hippos are Fast

Most people know that hippos are big and have sharp teeth. However, not everyone realizes how fast hippos can be.

Hippos can run between 20 and 30 miles per hour. They can’t run this fast for very long, but they still have an advantage over hunters and other predators.

Hippos can Move in Water, too

Don’t try swimming away from a hippo!

In addition to being fast runners, hippos are also agile in the water.

Hippos can move quickly through the water — sometimes up to 15 miles per hour. They don’t technically swim, though. Instead, hippos walk or run underwater.

How does a 3,500-pound animal not sink? It all has to do with the amount of fat they have. Since hippos have so much body fat, they can easily stay afloat in the water.

Hippos control their breath and body position to help them float or sink. When they sink to the bottom of the water, they walk or run underneath until they reach the shallow end again.

Hippos also can hold their breath for several minutes at a time, making it easier for them to move through the water without coming up for air very often.

Hippos Attack for Different Reasons

Hippos are responsible for more human deaths on the African continent than any other large animal — over 500 per year. So what provokes them?

African Civilizations Map Pre Colonia

One of the reasons hippos are so dangerous is the fact that they are unpredictable. It’s not always clear why hippos attack, but it often has to do with whether they are male or female.

Male hippos attack when they want to defend their territory, while female hippos will attack when they think their babies are in danger.

What Do You Think of Africa’s Most Dangerous Animal?

Were you surprised to learn all these interesting facts about hippos? Did you already know that the hippo is a dangerous animal?

Comment and let us know what you think!

You can also learn even more about hippos by visiting our hippopotamus facts page. Check out our large Animals section too!

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