Home Animals Hippo Vs Lion: Who Will Win a Fight?

Hippo Vs Lion: Who Will Win a Fight?

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hippo vs lion

Hippos are some of the most intimidating animals in Africa. They’re huge, they’re strong, and they have incredibly sharp teeth. So, it’s no surprise that when people see a hippo and a lion sharing the same body of water, they start to wonder who would win in a fight between these two massive mammals.

The truth is, it’s hard to say who would come out on top in a hippo vs lion fight. Hippos are incredibly strong and their teeth can do some serious damage, but lions are also ferocious predators with a lot of experience taking down large prey. Ultimately, it would come down to who gets the upper hand first and how good each animal is at using its strengths.

So, who do you think would win in a hippo vs lion fight? Hippo or lion? Using the relevant data, we can determine which species has the most benefits and is most dominant!

lion attacks hippo

Hippo Vs Lion: Comparison

Animal LionHippo
Jaw Biting Power & teeth strength– Bite power of 650-1000 PSI
– Number of teeth = 30
– 4-inch canines=4
Massive Bite power of 1,800 PSI 
– 36 sharp teeth
– 1.2ft Incisors up to canines up to 1.5ft.

Movement Type & Speed 
– Runs at 35 mph normally(attains 50mph for a short duration while attacking)
– Sprints to enemies with a galloping gait.

–Top running speed is between 20 – 30mph
– Trot runner
– Speed under water 5 mph 
Size of the animalWeight: 267lbs – 555lbs
Length: 4.4ft – 8.4ft
Height: 3.5ft-4.5ft
Weight: 3,500lbs – 4,500lbs
Length: 10.2ft 15.9 ft.
Height: 4.2ft – 5.8ft at the shoulder
Offensive capabilities– Sharp claws to kill enemies
– Powerful, staggering blow due to paw strikes  
– Strong biting power can splinter bones and tear prey open.
– Massive biting power
– Charging with weight 
Bodily Senses– Excellent Night vision with a amazing sense of sight
– Great smelling capability and can easily sense other lion’s territories.
– Amazing hearing of even a distant object which is miles away.
– Can smell greatly 
– Superb Eyesight due to membrane – hears good both on land and in water 
Body Defenses
– Stay together with other lions
– Their length is high to run fast
– Ability to escape from enemies quickly

– Thickest Skin 
– Ferocious behaviours
– Heavy Size and weight
Predatory Behaviour
– Primarily stalks and pounces on the opponent
– Can act as an endurance predator
– Uses groups to take down prey

– Attacks unexpectedly by having its head above

The Most Important Factors in a Hippo vs Lion Fight

If you’ve ever wondered who would win in a fight between a hippo and a lion, you’re not alone. These two fierce predators are both known for their strength and prowess, making them evenly matched opponents. However, there are some key differences between the two animals that could give one an advantage over the other in a fight.

Let’s take a closer look at the physical characteristics and predatory instincts of hippos and lions to see how they would stack up against each other in battle.

Physical Features of Hippos vs Lions

Size isn’t everything in the animal world. The law of the wild says that bigger, stronger animals are more likely to win a fight than smaller, weaker ones. In a battle, that’s not the only physical attribute that matters. Take a look at these five things that give each of these creatures an edge in battle.

hippo with lions


Hippo vs Lion: Size

Lions are the biggest cats in the world, but hippos are much bigger. Hippos can be up to 16 feet long, weigh up to 4,000 pounds, and stand at least 5 feet tall at the shoulders. The biggest hippo ever lived in a zoo in Germany and weighed 9,900 pounds.

The biggest lion ever recorded weighed 827 pounds and also lived in a zoo. In the end, hippos weigh about 10 times as much as full-grown male lions. Even though they are different sizes, both hippos and lions are top predators that don’t have many natural enemies in their ranges.

When it comes to size, hippos have the upper hand here.

Hippo vs Lion: Speed and Movement

When it comes to land speed, there are few animals that can match a lion. These big cats can reach running speeds of up to 35mph, and they have the ability to accelerate even further when they are about to attack their prey. While hippos may not be as fast as lions, they are still surprisingly nimble for their size. Thanks to their unique trotting run style, hippos can cover ground at speeds of up to 30mph.

Of course, the biggest factor in a chase between a lion and a hippo would be the terrain. If the chase took place on open ground, then the lion would almost certainly catch the hippo. However, if the chase took place in water, then the hippo would have a much better chance of getting away.

The lions have an advantage in terms of speed.

Hippo vs Lion: Bite Power and Teeth

Contrary to popular belief, lions do not have the most substantial bite on the savannah. While they can certainly do serious damage with their 4-inch fangs and bite force up to 1000PSI, they pale in comparison to hippos regarding bite power.

Hippos have a biting force of 1,800PSI, which is nearly three times that of a lion. In addition, their teeth are much longer and sharper, reaching over a foot in length. With 36 teeth, hippos are more than equipped to take down even the most formidable opponents. 

Hippos have an advantage when it comes to the strength of their bite and the number of teeth they have.

Hippo vs Lion: Senses

While both lions and hippos have sharp senses that help them survive in the wild, each animal has different strengths. Lions have exceptional hearing, allowing them to pick up sounds from miles away. This is perfect for tracking down prey, as they can follow the faintest noise to its source.

Additionally, lions have perfect night vision, which gives them a significant advantage when hunting in low-light conditions. Finally, lions have an incredibly keen sense of smell, which they use to identify specific animals. 

While hippos also have good vision and a strong sense of smell, their hearing is not as acute as that of lions. In addition, while their sense of smell is good on land, it is not as powerful underwater. As a result, hippos must rely on other senses when hunting in their native habitat.

In terms of senses, the lion has an advantage.

Hippo vs Lion: Physical Defenses

Both lions and hippos have a number of characteristics that assist them to avoid predators. Lions generally live in groups, which provides them with greater numbers for safety. They are also good runners and huge creatures, making them tough to catch. Their size and quickness are their most valuable assets in a one-on-one encounter. 

Hippos are similar in size to lions, leaving them tough to catch. They also have tougher skin that is difficult to penetrate and an effective threat presentation that discourages many potential predators.

In terms of physical defenses, hippos are superior.

Combat Techniques of Lions and Hippos

Both lions and hippos are excellent hunters. To determine which of these two creatures is better at offense and hunting, we’ll evaluate their combat abilities. With this knowledge plus an understanding of their physical characteristics, we can conclusively establish which animal would prevail in a fight.

Hippo vs Lion: Offensive Capabilities

When comparing the offensive capabilities of lions and hippos, it is clear that lions are the more formidable force. Lions have strong legs that can quickly close the distance between them and their prey. Their sharp claws can dig into flesh, making it easy to bring an animal down. In addition, they have a powerful bite that can crush bone. 

Hippos, on the other hand, rely primarily on their weight to incapacitate prey. While their bites can be deadly, they are not as agile as lions and cannot move as quickly. 

This part is a tie; hippos are strong, but lions are more skilled.

hippo and lion fighting

Hippo vs Lion: Predatory Behaviors

When it comes to hunting, lions are one of the most fearsome predators in the animal kingdom. They typically hunt in groups, using ambush tactics to overwhelm and surprise their enemies. In some cases, they will simply pursue an enemy and attack, often working together as a team to take down their prey. 

Hippos are also dangerous predators, but they usually hunt on their own. They are known for their ability to sneak up on animals from the water and attack with a burst of speed. Most of their body is hidden under the water’s surface.

These predators behave similarly.

What Are the Key Differences Between a Hippo and a Lion?

A hippopotamus would prevail in combat against a solitary lion and might even hold its own against multiple lions at once. In a battle, hippos would have the upper hand due to their superior strength and the fact that they can conceal themselves in the water, which lions are forced to frequent.

Even if a lion has the upper hand, it lacks the strength to kill a hippo without significant assistance. Adult hippos must be killed by hundreds of severe wounds since lions are unable to kill them in one swift motion. No hippo will permit a lion to survive long enough to cause them that kind of harm.

If a lion and a hippo saw each other approaching, there would be a fight of strength between the two of them. The lion only needs to be hit by a single powerful bite from the hippo to have limbs crushed or vital parts punctured. Because of the size of their teeth, even a single bite can be enough to destroy a lion’s bones and penetrate its intestines. This disregards the obvious weight difference between the two, which could easily bring down a lion.

The Lions have the advantage in terms of speed, and although they are capable of catching up to a hippo in the wild, it is unlikely that they will do so. Either leaving the area entirely, which is the wiser and safest alternative, or bringing along enough of the spirit to conquer. A hippopotamus has sufficient benefits over a lion to win combat between the two of them.

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Author Profile
Jeevan Kodiyan
Zoologist | Wildlife Conservation at Animals Research

An animal enthusiast with an interest in zoology, studying the behavior and activities of animals in the wild habitat. I work on research projects related to species conservation and endangered species protection. I also leverage zoology to become an educator, educating others about the importance of protecting our natural environment and the beauty of animals in their natural habitats.

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