How to Survive a Hippo Attack?

How to Survive a Hippo Attack

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The hippopotamus has earned the distinction of being Africa’s deadliest land mammal. With the widest jaws of any land animal, these enormous monsters kill over 500 men each year. Truly, a full-grown adult could be crushed by a charging hippo and it would make no difference to them. If you observe this extremely agile monster displaying symptoms of aggression as a tourist, you should begin planning quickly.

After elephants and white rhinos, hippos are the world’s third-largest land mammal. A female hippo can weigh up to 1,400 kg (3,100 lbs), whereas males can weigh up to 4,500 kg (9,000 lbs.) But don’t be fooled by their size. Hippos can run at speeds of up to 48 kilometers per hour (30 mph). That is the speed of horses. Could you imagine the ferocious hippo? Do you think you could go toe-to-toe with one? Or are you just another body to add to its tally? Let’s find out how to survive a hippo attack.

Why Are Hippos Dangerous and Why Do They Attack People?

Now, let’s address everyone’s urgent question: why are these adorable-looking huge blobs so dangerous? Despite being a herbivorous species, Hippopotamus can be extremely aggressive toward humans at times.

They are extremely territorial and easily startled in nature.

These wild creatures are extremely territorial and easily startled. Never try to sneak up on a hippo. It is instinctive for them to defend their land. Hippos can also become frightened if boats or kayaks approach too closely.

They adore water. 

Hippos prefer to have a solid grasp of both their water and land regions. They are simply activated when they detect suspicious movements between the river and themselves.

They are protective parents.

If the safety of their calf is jeopardized, the females can become hostile. According to studies, between 29% and 87% of hippo attacks are lethal.

They exploit their massive size to their advantage.

 it is almost certain that no predator on land will try to cram anything of that size down its throat! Because of the size of their bodies, they are impervious to predator assaults. As a result, they no longer need to worry about defense and may cohabit peacefully with the deadly African crocodiles.

Red Flags to Look Out for

The Hippopotamus is not the type of animal you might come across as quickly as a snake, venomous frog, or insect. As a result, warning indicators in the wild would be easier to spot.

  • Avoid the road that reveals apparent traces of hippo grazing at night.
  • Abandon camping in the vicinity of hippo feces and footprints.
  • Avoid getting between the hippo and the water. Hippos despise it.
  • Never startle a hippo from a safe distance. Hippos are sensitive creatures.
  • Canoeing and kayaking should be avoided in shallow lakes. Hippos do not swim; instead, they gallop along the ground beneath the water. So having your boat cruise in deep waters is a better option.
  • Don’t even think of approaching the calves. The last thing you want to deal with is an irate mother.
  • If you see a hippo opening and closing its jaws (or yawning) with its head held up, turn around and go quickly. Yawning is a major indicator of an invasion of personal space.
  • Even if they’re a long distance away, avoid Hippo guys fighting.

How do you Survive a Hippo Encounter?

There’s a huge similarity between avoiding and surviving attacks from a hippo. However, it’s better to avoid than suffer fatalities, right? But if you can’t avoid the situation, here are some pointers:

Introduce yourself carefully.

This is a difficult one. Hippos are vegetarians who do not eat humans, but that does not mean they will not tear you apart. Hippos are often startled, and if you catch one off guard, well, it was good knowing you. What you want to do is make loud noises from a safe distance away to alert it to your presence. Hopefully, this will make them disappear. If not …


Maintain vigilance. These few seconds could spell the difference between life and death. Mrs. Hippo is yawning, aww. Oh, she’s so tired. WRONG! Yawning is a good indicator that you’re getting too near for comfort. If you’re in the same waterway, turn around and escape as soon as possible. Hippos are fiercely territorial, therefore travel in the other direction to put as much distance between you and the hippo as possible. OK, fine, just back out slowly and… oh bad, you’ve been spotted.


Hippos can easily outrun your puny human legs, but you should still give it a shot. Isn’t it better to stay here? You must avoid going in a straight path and seek out obstacles to slow the hippo down. Utilize items such as pebbles and termite mounds. The greatest thing you can do is climb into a tree or up onto a hill where it can’t get to you. So, ideally, you’ve reached higher ground. But if you don’t, brace yourself.

Fight filthy.

Hippos can open their lips 180 degrees and have a bite force of about 13,000 kPA (2,000 psi). That’s enough to sever the jaws of an adult crocodile. If you find yourself in the grip of a hippo, consider punching or kicking its snout or going for its eyes.

If your arms are already in the hippo’s throat, try reaching for the back and grabbing anything in its mouth. You aim to cause the animal as much discomfort as possible. It’s not the time to be polite. You must fight dirty. If you make a big enough commotion, the hippo will be too uncomfortable to deal with you. Then get the hell out of there!


Hopefully, you will never be in this severe scenario. Hippos are the most lethal animals in Africa, and their attacks leave few survivors. Fortunately for you, you’re unlikely to come across them by chance. Unlike poisonous snakes or spiders, which you can readily walk into, you are unlikely to come across a hippo. While there are various actions you may take to defend yourself, the best way to survive a hippo attack is to stay away!

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