Lions are fearsome hunters, renowned for their ability to take on any prey and win.
However, a hippo is a walking tank, and one of the toughest and most dangerous beasts on the planet.
They’re far more dangerous than many people realize!
With that in mind, can a lion kill and eat a hippo? Or is it just too tough for a lion to take on? Find out the answers to these questions and more!
Do Lions Eat Hippos?
Hippos are some of the most colossal and impressive beasts on the planet.
They’re far more deadly than many people may realize! They are essentially walking tanks.
They have really tough skin covering them, they’re extremely big and heavy – and their bite is one of the strongest in the animal kingdom.
Not just that, but they have enormous mouths too!
All of these factors combine to make the hippo a formidable foe, to say the least.
With that in mind, it’s hardly surprising that it’s a rarity for lions to be able to take on a hippo, even when using the whole pride.
Hippos are such fearsome creatures, with amazing natural defenses – so a lion trying to take a hippo down is in for far more of a fight than they might want.
However, lions aren’t called kings for nothing.
They are extremely smart, capable, and adaptable hunters, and a determined pride can take down much larger animals when working as a group.
A pride working efficiently can kill a hippo – particularly if it’s a young hippo that hasn’t grown to full size yet.
This certainly won’t be easy for the lions, even if they’re well co-ordinated.
A young hippo might well have a guarding mother nearby – and an enraged mother hippo spells trouble for the hunters.
Lions can kill an adult hippo too – but it’s going to be such a tough time for them that it might barely be worth it.
A hippo can cause severe injury to a lion – and could even kill it.
With that in mind, it’s rarely worth the risk for a lion to try to kill a hippo.
Lions will attack hippos on occasion – but it is extremely rare, and extremely risky.
However, a lion certainly won’t be above scavenging meat from a dead hippo that it finds!
The hippo, or hippopotamus, is one of the largest land mammals on the planet.
It’s actually the third largest species of land mammal, after the elephant and rhinoceros.
Hippos actually have an ancestral genetic link with dolphins, whales, and porpoises, having diverged from a common ancestor around 55 million years ago.
They are absolutely colossal beasts that live in sub-Saharan Africa.
They live in lakes, mangrove swamps, and rivers. Water is essential to hippos, as they need it to keep cool.
They’ll spend their days resting in water or mud, which helps to prevent them from overheating in the sun.
Many people are familiar with a cartoon image of hippos as benign, cute creatures.
However, they’re actually one of the single most dangerous animals on the planet.
They are extremely unpredictable, and capable of causing injury or death with astonishing ease.
They think nothing of attacking passing boats, as they are extremely territorial.
They have been known to attack and sink small boats with over 10 people on them, with fatal consequences for all on board.
And they don’t just charge or trample – as if that weren’t enough! They also have absolutely enormous mouths, with massive tusks and an incredible bite strength.
They’re estimated to be able to bite with around 1800 PSI of force! It’s thought that a hippo could actually bite a crocodile in half.
Also, that 1800 PSI number only counts for females – apparently, males are too aggressive to be tested!
With all this in mind, it’s perhaps no wonder that lions rarely attack hippos.
After all, they are territorial, colossal, and aggressive.
They have size, weight, strength, and blind rage on their side, making them a very risky prospect for even fearsome hunters such as lions.
They’re not impossible for a dedicated pride to take on – but they are perhaps very close to it.
Lions can be found in many places across sub-Saharan Africa.
They used to be found in many more parts of the world, but over the centuries they have lost around 94% of the lands they once roamed.
Now, there are estimated to only be around 23,000 wild lions left in the world.
They are the second largest species of big cat on the planet, second only to the deadly tiger.
They tend to be social animals, grouping together with others in groups called prides. These prides live and roam together.
Females do the hunting work, while males stand guard.
Lions are of course revered the world over for their perceived noble character, spirit, and courage.
And, of course, they certainly deserve this reputation – they are fearsome hunters and killers!
However, lions are also extremely smart – after all, a stupid hunter won’t last long in the wild.
They can recognize serious threats, and targets that aren’t worth taking on.
And most of the time, hippos will fall into both of these categories as far as lions are concerned.
Lions will always prefer to go for the easiest meal that they can, and the majority of the time, a hippo isn’t going to be that.
And, despite their reputation for nobility, lions are not above pragmatism, opportunism and thievery.
They would rather hunt weaker prey, scare another predator off a fresh kill, or even eat carrion, than tangle with a hippo in the majority of circumstances.
The risks just don’t make any sense for a lion – or even a pride of lions. They won’t tangle with a hippo unless there’s no other choice.
While lions may be able to kill hippos if they’re smart and lucky, it just won’t be worth the risk most of the time.
Hippos are such dangerous and tough creatures – there are far easier meals out there for a pride of hungry lions!