Do Hippos Eat Crocodiles? (Kill or Get Along)

do hippos eat crocodiles

When we think of hippos, we think of big, soft, lazy, harmless animals that laze around in African rivers all day long. However, hippos are far from placid and are known for being highly aggressive towards both humans and other animals. 

You might wonder whether hippos and crocodiles ever clash in the wild, and even if hippos eat crocodiles. After all, they both inhabit the same environment, large bodies of water or rivers on the African savannah, and they’re both famous for their aggressive and unpredictable behavior. 

As a result, it’s not unusual to imagine a hippo chewing on a crocodile neighbor if it strayed too close to its territory. Here’s the truth of the matter about hippos and crocodiles getting along.

Do hippos eat crocodiles? No, hippos don’t eat crocodiles, nor do they eat any other species of animal found in Africa. They are purely herbivorous mammals and eat a diet consisting of various types of grasses, vegetation, and fruit.

So, there you go, although many people mistakenly believe hippos are predatory animals, they’re not carnivorous and do not attack crocodiles to eat them. 

Do hippos ever kill crocodiles
Hippos can kill crocodiles and are known to be aggressive (

However, we’re not finished yet. Below, let’s look at the reason why hippos sometimes attack crocodiles, and whether they can kill them. 

Although they primarily only eat plants – munching on about 80 pounds of grass each day – hippos are one of the most aggressive animals on Earth. They can snap a canoe in half with their powerful jaws, and they kill about 500 people in Africa each year.

National Geographic

Do hippos ever kill crocodiles?

Occasionally, hippos will kill crocodiles if they stray too close to their calves or if they feel threatened by the crocodile’s behavior. They do this by chasing the crocodile down until it is cornered or unable to escape and then use their powerful jaws to crush the crocodile’s skull or body. 

Although crocodiles are famous for their armored and plated skin, they will still struggle to protect themselves when trapped in the jaws of an angry hippo. 

Do crocodiles fear hippos?

Hippos will also attack crocodiles for seemingly no reason, and this likely comes down to their unpredictable and aggressive temperament. 

Due to this, crocodiles have developed a certain amount of fear (or wariness) around hippos and will rarely attack younger or vulnerable hippos unless they are sure there are no members of their family close by. 

In general, both hippos and crocs usually keep a close but respectable distance from each other and will avoid conflict as much as they can. 

Although hippos are strong, they can still risk picking up a serious injury if they constantly try to attack and kill crocodiles that are present in their territory. 

The bottom line is this; hippos and crocodiles do not get along, because they don’t need to.

Is a hippo stronger than a crocodile? 

On average, hippos weigh a staggering 1,500 to 1,800 kg and are roughly 2 to 3 times the size of most Saltwater Crocodiles.

Additionally, they also possess extremely hard skin that is six inches deep and 2 large tusks on both their upper and lower jaws that can disembowel most animals with ease. 

Compared to hippos, adult saltwater crocodiles weigh between 410 to 520 kg and possess the strongest bite ever recorded in the animal kingdom. Regardless, often, a hippo will usually come out on top in a fight between the two species due to its larger size, weight, and thick hide – unless it is sick or carrying a debilitating injury. 

Additionally, crocodiles kill their prey by spinning in a death roll, and this is almost impossible to perform on animals as strong and heavy as hippos. What’s more, hippos travel together in groups, and multiple adults will quickly come to the defense of a smaller juvenile if it is being attacked by a crocodile. Overall, it’s safe to say that hippos are a much stronger and deadlier species than saltwater crocs. 

Do crocodiles and hippos get along?

During warmer times of the year, it’s not an uncommon sight to see both crocodiles and hippos basking in the sun within close proximity to each other. When rivers and larger bodies of water begin to dry up, crocodiles and hippos will both be drawn to smaller waterholes where they can swim, drink, and keep cool.

In general, both species will rarely come into conflict during these periods of the year, and will mostly ignore the presence of each other. 

Although carnivorous, and willing to attack other prey animals when given the chance, crocodiles are reluctant to start a fight with a hippo unless they are severely injured or isolated from the rest of their herd. 

This mainly comes down to the size of a hippo and the danger its razor-sharp teeth and tusks pose. In fact, most crocodiles will quickly retreat if a hippo opens its mouth in warning, as the risk is not worth the reward. 

Over time, both animals have developed an uneasy truce, and fights between the two are relatively uncommon. As I mentioned previously, hippos are far more likely to attack crocodiles than the other way around. 

Why do hippos chew on crocodiles?

Fascinatingly, some baby hippos have developed the strange habit of chewing or licking on the spiny parts of a crocodile’s tail, as you can see for yourself in this video. Crocodiles are typically not bothered by this behavior and will leave the young hippos alone, especially if their mother is keeping a watchful eye from nearby. 

Additionally, the nibbling doesn’t seem to cause the patient crocs any pain or discomfort. 

It’s not entirely clear why baby hippos like to chew on their reptilian neighbors so much, but it probably has something to do with their curious and playful natures. 

Baby hippos are much less aggressive than their bigger and older counterparts and will spend most of their time exploring the world around them. 


Everyone is aware of how dangerous crocodiles are. With their sharp teeth, powerful bodies, and unpredictable temperament, these ancient lizards are some of the most intimidating animals on planet Earth.

However, what many fail to realize is that there is another animal that far exceeds crocodiles, lions, hyenas, as the deadliest animal in Africa – the hippopotamus. 

Whilst hippos don’t eat crocodiles, it is possible for them to kill a croc due to their sheer strength and aggressiveness.

You might also like…

Image in header via

Categorized as Crocodiles