Have you ever seen those wildlife documentaries that show clashes between hippos and crocodiles? It’s a clash of the titans, but what is the truth, and can crocs and hippos get along, do they fear each other, will they bite? Here’s how it works…
Do hippos and crocodiles get along? Hippos and crocodiles don’t get along as such because they don’t need to. They aren’t friends and will try to avoid each other. They can co-exist peacefully as crocodiles know to keep off hippos’ boundaries.
However, as you’ll soon read, crocodiles do fear hippos, despite hippos being omnivorous. For this reason, they’ve learned to accommodate one another without creating unnecessary conflict.
Keep reading to discover more about this awkward yet effective co-existence.
If you watch documentaries on hippos and crocodiles, you’d wonder how these aggressive animals live with each other within the same habitat.
Can hippos and crocodiles be friends? No, not really, but purely because they have a mutual respect.
Put it this way: crocodiles are blood-thirsty killers. You’d expect any animal to cross the crocodile’s path at its own risk. But hippos can do this comfortably knowing that the crocodile is unlikely to attack and bite a hippo with those amazing teeth.
Do crocodiles fear hippos?
Hippos, on the other hand, are amongst the deadliest animals to walk on earth. They can be violent ﹘ it’s their nature. I doubt if there’s any animal that doesn’t fear the hippo.
As such, crocodiles do fear hippos. They won’t like how large a hippo is and the strength it has. As a result, a crocodile won’t get along with a hippo and will give it space.
So, crocs and hippos do get along then?
No, not strictly. It’s just that they have learned to live peacefully with each other. I say peaceful, because rarely will you see or hear of a crocodile attacking a hippo or vice versa. Unless in rare circumstances, as I’ll talk about shortly.
Many times, you’ll see hippos and crocodiles chilling by the riverbanks as they sunbathe and catch some air. Each minding its own business unbothered by the other’s presence, as you can see in this video.
Crocs and hippos will never be friends
I like to think of crocodiles and hippos as not-so-close college roommates. You know those roommates that aren’t really friends because they have nothing in common? Roommates that don’t talk much but aren’t mad at one another?
Now that’s how hippos and crocodiles relate.
They aren’t the “ride or die” type of friends. But what makes them co-exist harmoniously is the fact there’s respect. Well, it’s the crocodiles that mostly have to respect the hippos’ boundaries, not the other way round.
You see, crocodiles know very well that “bigger is boss.” You’ve seen how gigantic hippos are. Adult hippos weigh over 7,000 pounds. If strength and power were an animal, it would be the hippo.
Crocodiles know that if they dare show off their predatory skills by attempting to attack an adult hippo, they’ll end up dead in minutes.
Crocodiles have no say Crocodiles are carnivores, and so hippo meat would make the most delicious meal. But attacking a group of hippos is like signing their own death warrant. That’s why crocodiles will carry on their business as if the hippos aren’t around, as you can see in this video.
Hippos feed on grass. Meaning crocodile meat isn’t their thing. Hippos can’t prey on crocodiles, but crocodiles do prey on hippos. The irony is that the predators (crocodiles) fear their prey (hippos) more.
Why is this so?
Why do hippos bite crocodiles then?
Crocodiles know how dangerous hippos are. Whilst a hippo will not eat a croc, any wrong move and a hippo will crush a crocodile into pieces. If a hippo can snap a wooden canoe into two with its bone-crushing jaws, then crushing a crocodile to death is nothing hard.
Let’s not forget how wide their mouths are. Hippos can open their mouths nearly four to five feet wide. Crocodiles can’t match up to this.
In fact, a crocodile’s body can fit in a hippo’s mouth. Now you understand why crocodiles would rather take a step back than have a nasty confrontation with a group of hippos.
Hippos will bite crocodiles when threatened
Hippos are extremely territorial. They’ll respond violently to crocodiles that try to sneak up on them. Of course, hippos will win hands down. It makes sense why crocodiles don’t bother hippos when near each other.
The relationship between hippos and crocodiles is one based on fear and respect. Just think about it.
It’s more of a “stay out of my lane, and we’ll have no problems” kind of relationship. Crocodiles fear what hippos are capable of. This fear cultivates respect as crocodiles know who’ll always be in charge ﹘﹘ hippos. When crocodiles show respect, then hippos see no point attacking.
Crocodiles are well aware that a hippo’s wrath is like no other.
With tusk-like canine teeth reaching up to 20 inches, hippos only need to make a loud yawn while shaking their head to terrify crocodiles.
The reality is, it’s hippos that kill crocodiles when provoked. But a crocodile won’t attack and kill an adult hippo, even when it’s the hippo that’s invaded the crocodile’s space.
Hippos get away with many things, including pissing off crocodiles and not getting attacked.
Watch here as this hippo walks towards a group of crocodiles and rubs its mouth on one of them. You can tell how annoyed the crocodile is. But it remains calm because when it comes to hippos, crocodiles have no say.
Crocodiles have no choice but to tolerate hippos’ bossy behaviors. Imagine demeaning a beast as deadly as a full-grown crocodile! Says a lot about how tough hippos are.
You might think that crocodiles have it easy with baby hippos. No, they don’t.
The easiest way to anger an adult hippo is getting anywhere close to its baby. Crocodiles see how protective adult hippos are of their babies. No matter how hungry a crocodile is, it will quickly brush off the idea of taking down a baby hippo.
Why? The consequences are fatal.
See how confident this young hippo is licking a crocodile’s tail as other crocs watch. Baby hippos don’t fear messing with crocodiles because they know who’s watching their back ﹘ their no-nonsense parents.
The only time crocodiles get to overpower a baby hippo is when the baby is alone.
Alone? How? You may ask.
Here’s the thing. Adult hippos disagree. It’s common for hippos to engage in violent clashes, forgetting to keep an eye on their young ones. Crocodiles that spot baby hippos with the parents nowhere in sight will grab the opportunity and attack the baby.
During these fights, adult hippos can also injure each other to death. I bet crocodiles watching from afar love it with these fights happen. I mean, depending on which adult hippo ends up dead, it’s the crocodiles’ only chance to feast on the carcass.
The answer is rarely.
It’s rare to see hippos and crocodiles fighting. These two deadly animals have a peaceful relationship because crocodiles try not to provoke hippos.
A fight will only erupt if crocodiles try to attack hippos. But this hardly happens because crocodiles fear hippos.
Do alligators and crocodiles get along with each other?
Alligator and crocodiles try not to cross paths with each other or infringe. Because of that there’s no real issue of them having to get along with each other.
Hippos and crocs don’t get along per se.
They’ve learned not to get in the way of one another. Between the two, hippos are the most powerful. More like the hippos call the shots, and crocodiles have no choice but to keep their distance when around hippos.
The answer is no. By nature, hippos are grass-eating animals. They don’t eat meat, which means they can’t eat crocodiles. They’ll only attack and crash a crocodile to death when angered.
Hippos do react aggressively when provoked.
They don’t like it when crocodiles try to get too close to them. Hippos love protecting their space. They’d feel threatened when crocodiles attempt to invade their territory.
In such cases, a hippo can bite a crocodile (or do worse like snap the crocodile into two) to send a message across. Biting is a hippo’s way of reminding crocodiles who’s in charge.
Yes, extremely. Crocodiles know how dangerous and unforgiving hippos are. No matter how fierce crocodiles are, they can’t dare attack hippos.
Hopefully that’s given you some insight into how hippos and crocodiles can live with one another despite both being aggressive. So, whilst they don’t get along like friends would, they have evolved to respect each other enough to inhabit the same areas… most of the time!
You might also like…
- The scary truth about crocs jumping into boats
- Why crocodiles aren’t ocean-dwellers
- The truth about crocodiles and alligators mating
Image in header of a friendly group of hippos and a crocodile via https://pixabay.com/photos/hippo-crocodile-safari-nature-4027010/