Home Animals Are Hippos Bulletproof? Can Hippo Skin Protect Them From Bullet Shot?

Are Hippos Bulletproof? Can Hippo Skin Protect Them From Bullet Shot?

are hippo bulletproof

Among all the creatures on Earth, hippos have the thickest skin. But what really sets hippos apart is their skin, which is thick enough to protect them from even the sharpest teeth and claws.

A typical hippo’s skin is around two inches thick. This incredibly tough hide has led many people to wonder: are hippos bulletproof?

The short answer is no, hippos’ skin is not bulletproof. While their skin is incredibly thick, it is not impenetrable by a regular bullet. But a large-caliber bullet fired from close range can easily penetrate a hippo’s hide, causing serious injury or death. 

However, most bullets fired at a hippo will simply bounce off its thick skin, causing no harm whatsoever. So while hippos are not invulnerable to gunfire, their thick skin does offer them a significant advantage against many predators.

are hippos bulletproof

Are Hippos Bulletproof

Are hippos bulletproof? The answer is no, but their skin is thick enough to prevent most bullets from penetrating. However, there have been instances of hippos being killed by bullets, so it’s not entirely bulletproof. 

Nevertheless, hippos have some of the thickest skin of any animal, which makes them very difficult to kill with a gunshot. Their skin is typically two inches thick, which is more than enough to deflect most bullets. However, a .50 cal bullet can penetrate their skin, so it’s not entirely impenetrable.

Can a Bullet Cause Injury to Hippo

Bullets can definitely hurt hippos, but it depends on the type of bullet. For example, a .500 Nitro Express or .450 Nitro Express in a double rifle is enough to kill a hippo, but a regular bullet would only hurt them. This is because their skin is very thick and oily, which makes them bulletproof to some extent. 

However, if the bullet hits them in the brain, it will still be effective. That’s why people in Africa usually use a .308 Cal when hunting hippos because it can kill them from 200-300 m away. So overall, while a bullet can hurt a hippo, the right type of bullet is needed in order to be effective.

hippo swimming

Can a hippo survive a bullet shot?

The hippopotamus is a surprisingly tough creature. They are known to be able to survive an entire hail of machine gun fire, with it taking up to six rounds to finally bring one down. Even regular bullets aren’t much of a threat, as they can deflect them with any part of their body that isn’t essential for mating or seeing. 

The only real weakness of the hippopotamus is if the bullets are larger than normal, as they can penetrate their thick hide. Additionally, if they are shot in the lower part of their body or in the brain, they will also succumb to their injuries. However, in most other cases, the hippopotamus is an incredibly resilient animal.


Can hippos survive a bullet?

Hippos can have 2-inch-thick skin. This thick hide protects against the sun and bullets. Hippos’ thick skin and massive proportions make them bulletproof.

Is there any animal that is bulletproof?

There are bulletproof animals. Bullets are deflected by armadillo ‘armor’ made of osteoderms.

Is a rhino’s skin bulletproof?

In some situations, a rhino’s skin can stop a bullet. Rhino skin can be up to 2 inches thick and is surprisingly robust.

Can hippos be shot?

As a thick-skinned animal, the hippo requires the correct caliber rifle and an accurate shot. 30-50 yards is the normal shooting distance.


While it is true that hippo skin is incredibly thick, they are not bulletproof. Their skin can protect them from smaller bullets and shots, but larger ones can penetrate their hide and kill them. So while they may be tough, they aren’t invincible. That being said, they are still one of the toughest animals out there and should be respected as such.

Read our other Hippo blogs below:



Author Profile
Zahra Makda
Wildlife Enthusiast | Explorer at Animals Research

Growing up enjoying the beauty of my village, a good passion for nature developed in me from childhood. Following my passion for the natural world, I have chosen zoology for my graduation, during my undergraduate degree, I participated in many nature trails, bird watching, rescues, training for wildlife conservation, workshop, and seminars on biodiversity. I have a keen interest in invertebrate biology, herpetology, and ornithology. Primary interests include studies on taxonomy, ecology, habitat and behavior.

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