Home Animals Are Pygmy Hippos Dangerous? Facts About This Animal

Are Pygmy Hippos Dangerous? Facts About This Animal


Hippos are the most combative animals that can be found everywhere in the animal kingdom. Their assaults result in the deaths of over 500 people each year.

Are pygmy hippos dangerous as their larger relatives?  Is it true?  Indeed, there are circumstances in which they can behave violently.

Even though they resemble the Nile hippopotamus in size, but are much smaller, and these hippos can be just as dangerous.

The Pygmy Hippopotamus’s Nature

The pygmy hippo is a solitary and nocturnal creature that inhabits the dense rainforests of Africa. Most of its life is spent alone, only coming together with another individual during the mating season. While they are generally gentle creatures, they can be quite fearsome if they feel threatened or disturbed. 

When faced with an enemy, pygmy hippos will open their mouths wide and display their sharp canines in what appears to be a yawn. This serves as a warning, and it’s probably sensible not to get too close to these animals during a safari. Although they are typically shy and reclusive, pygmy hippos can be fiercely protective of their babies and families.

are pygmy hippos dangerous

Though they are lesser known than their larger cousins, pygmy hippopotamuses are a popular attraction at zoos all over the world. These diminutive creatures are prized by zookeepers for their smaller size and friendly demeanor. However, pygmy hippos can be dangerous, and their bites can be just as powerful as those of their larger relatives. Pygmy hippos have attacked zookeepers many times, leaving them with serious wounds that often send them to the intensive care unit.

While male pygmy hippos will sometimes fight over females using their teeth and jaws, they mostly favor spending time in the company of their partners. This is in contrast to common hippopotamuses, who are often solitary creatures. Thus, pygmy hippos tend to be more friendly and social than their larger cousins.

Potential Pygmy Hippo Predators

The pygmy hippopotamus is native to the tropical rainforests of West Africa. The creature’s natural habitats include things like swamps, little water holes, damp dens, and the like.

However, they aren’t alone in the woods. Big-jawed predators are lurking, looking for easy pickings. After all, they are in Africa.

Pygmy populations are periodically targeted by leopards. The larger cats favor the tender flesh of the younger, smaller newborns. As a consequence of this, the pygmy hippo commonly loses its young in a violent confrontation.

Crocodiles and Pythons are two such predators that can readily ambush young hippos while their parents are busy searching for food.

pygmy hippo in open land

The presence of people constitutes the greatest danger to the existence of small animals like pygmy hippos. In recent years, there has been a growing problem with the unlawful hunting of small animals, which has been getting worse. Because of the enormous demand for meat and canines on the illicit market, the price of these species has increased significantly. 

Unfortunately, as a result of this, their native habitats have been destroyed for timber harvesting, which has resulted in a fall in their population. Rich people who want unusual and exotic furniture are willing to pay a high price for it, but industrialists who are motivated by money are doing everything they can to destroy the homes of the little creatures. These rich people who want rare and exotic furniture are willing to pay a high price for it.

The Dwarf Hippopotamus’s Safety

The little hippo is a gentle giant, but don’t let its size fool you. They are fully capable of defending themselves against threats, big and small. Their massive canines are nothing to sneeze at, and their bite force is on par with the Nile hippopotamus. Though they may be small in stature, they more than makeup for it in strength.

Insects can be a real nuisance for the little hippo, Additionally, excessive biting can cause them to become partially wounded. To combat this, they take mud baths which serve to coat their skin and protect them from further insect activity. Additionally, the little hippo sweats a bloodlike red liquid that helps to prevent sunburn.

How dangerous are Pygmy Hippos Compared to Common Hippos?

Hippos of both the common and pygmy varieties are capable of showing aggressive behavior on occasion. Even though the injuries could be very different from one another, both types of attacks have the potential to cause serious harm or even death.

Even though pygmy infants are about the same size as a typical newborn hippopotamus, there is no reason to be concerned about them.

Roughly five hundred persons every year are taken out of existence by common hippos. Their more diminutive relatives i.e, pygmy hippos are not nearly as aggressive and prefer to lead a more secluded existence.

Both species will display something that looks like a yawn to alert others to danger. Both of them have sturdy feet and are quick on their feet.

The common hippopotamuses are one of the most hostile animals in Africa. They are constantly grunting and developing and making an effort to put people in a difficult spot. They think about storming the camps, biting the crocodile’s tail, driving the elephants away, threatening the lions, and engaging in a fight with the rhino, and other animals.

On the other hand, pygmy hippos are not the same and prefer to keep a low profile. In any case, they would defend their territory against trespassers. Therefore, maintain a safe distance from them, and you ought to be alright.


Are pygmy hippos aggressive?

Despite their gentle appearance, pygmy hippos can be aggressive, especially when they feel threatened. They have been known to bite and even attack humans.

How big do pygmy hippos get?

Males typically weigh between 500 and 700 pounds, while females usually weigh between 400 and 600 pounds. Pygmy hippos reach a length of about 8 feet, and they stand about 3 feet tall at the shoulder. 

Can you have a pygmy hippo as a pet?

No, you cannot have a pygmy hippo as a pet. Pygmy hippos are wild animals, and it is illegal to own one in most countries. Even if you could find a pygmy hippo for sale, it would not be a good idea to buy one.

What eats a pygmy hippo?

Potential pygmy hippos predators include leopards and crocodiles. African golden cats, African civets, and African rock pythons prey on young pygmy hippos.

How many pygmy hippos are left in the world in 2022?

Pygmy hippos are only found in four West African countries and are currently considered endangered, with less than 3,000 left.

pygmy hippo in water

Final Words

The two types of the hippopotamus are both incredibly dangerous animals. The common hippo is the most likely to attack humans, and they are responsible for more human deaths than any other large animal in Africa. Pygmy hippos are not as aggressive, but they can be dangerous if they feel threatened. They are more likely to charge at an intruder than to attack with their teeth, but their large size and sharp hooves make them a force to be reckoned with.

Read our other Hippo blogs below:

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A motivated philosophy graduate and student of wildlife conservation with a deep interest in human-wildlife relationships, including wildlife communication, environmental education, and conservation anthropology. Offers strong interpersonal, research, writing, and creativity skills.

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A motivated philosophy graduate and student of wildlife conservation with a deep interest in human-wildlife relationships, including wildlife communication, environmental education, and conservation anthropology. Offers strong interpersonal, research, writing, and creativity skills.


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