There are many powerful predators in the animal kingdom. Two of the most powerful are the alligator and the hippo. Have you ever wondered what would happen if these two animals were to battle it out head to head? In a contest of alligator vs. hippo, who would win? The battle would certainly be one for the ages!
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Alligator Vs. Hippo: Side-By-Side Comparison
Before we discuss which of these animals would win in a fight, let’s take a look at how they compare in several key categories.
Hippos are larger than alligators, though some of the largest male alligators might be longer than small to medium sized hippos.
Hippos average length from 10 to 15 feet long and stand over 5 feet tall. Meanwhile, alligators can be anywhere from 8 to 12 feet long and are much shorter than hippos, standing only a few feet tall on their stubby legs.
The real size difference is in weight. While some of the largest alligators can weigh up to 1,000 pounds, the largest hippos can weigh well over 9,000 pounds, and on average they weigh about 3,000 to 4,000 pounds.
Because of this weight difference, hippos have a solid advantage in the size category.
Both alligators and hippos have a powerful bite force and large, damaging teeth. But which one has the edge?
Alligators have a bite force ranging between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds per square inch, while a hippo’s bite force tops out around 1,800 pounds per square inch.
That said, hippos have much larger teeth which can grow to well over a foot long. Alligators have teeth that are relatively small for their size, but they are pointed and lined up in such a way that they provide a powerful grip–once an alligator has latched onto its prey, then there is no escape unless the alligator decides to let go.
So alligators take the cake in terms of bite force, though hippos have much larger teeth and a bite force that is only slightly less powerful than an alligator’s.
Check out this video that compares the bite force of humans and many different animals, including hippos and alligators.
Both alligators and hippos are capable of moving at different speeds depending on whether they’re on land or in the water. Both animals are only capable of maintaining their top speed for short bursts, as neither animal is really built for speed.
On land, hippos can move more quickly than alligators. Hippos can run at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour for short periods, while alligators can only reach top speeds of 10 to 12 miles per hour on land.
In the water, however, alligators have a definite advantage. Alligators can swim as fast as 20 miles per hour, while hippos can only swim up to 5 miles per hour.
Since one is faster on land and the other is faster in the water, this comparison ends in a draw, with each having a slight edge over the other depending on where the fight would be taking place.
Contrary to popular belief, neither hippos or alligators are particularly aggressive by nature. Both are incredibly powerful and will fight for their territory, and both will attack prey with fearsome speed and accuracy; but much of the time, they are both content to hang out in the water and observe their surroundings.
Both hippos and alligators will attempt to scare off any threats before fighting. Alligators will hiss, hippos will bare their teeth, and both creatures will charge at the intruder.
So, in terms of behavior, alligators and hippos are fairly evenly matched.
Both alligators and hippos are protected by thick, tough skin. Alligators have bony segments just beneath the skin, giving them a tough, armored appearance.
Alligators can move quickly, especially in the water, allowing them to escape danger with relative ease. Meanwhile, hippos are large and heavy and surprisingly quick for their size, which allows them to escape if necessary and put up a solid defense if they are unable to escape.
Since alligators are more inclined to escape and hippos are built more for staying and fighting, hippos have a bit of an advantage in this category.
Alligator Vs. Hippo: Who Would Win?
It’s worth noting that a fight between an alligator and a hippo is only theoretical; alligators and hippos don’t fight in the wild because their territories don’t overlap. Alligators are only found in North America and China, while hippos are only found in Africa.
That said, alligators share many similarities with crocodiles, who do live in many of the same regions as hippos. Crocodiles rarely attack hippos, because the hippo would certainly win any such contest.
Crocodiles tend to be more fierce than alligators; they are also larger and have a much stronger bite force. So, if a hippo could defeat a crocodile, it would almost certainly defeat an alligator.
Alligators are not as aggressive as some people think; they would be extremely unlikely to attack a hippo for this reason alone. If an alligator was forced into a fight with a hippo, then it might try to bite its legs, which are the only real vulnerable part of a hippo.
Even then, if an alligator took out a hippo’s legs, the hippo might come crashing down on top of the alligator, crushing it with its immense weight.
An alligator might have a better chance of defeating a hippo in the water simply because alligators are the faster swimmers; but the hippo would still be most likely to win, as the alligator would probably be forced to swim away to save its own life.
All the hippo would have to do to win is throw all its weight on the alligator. The alligator wouldn’t stand a chance in such a scenario, as it would certainly be crushed and suffocated.
In short, an alligator might be able to injure a hippo by ambushing it, biting it, and quickly swimming away, but it would ultimately be unable to kill the hippo. Meanwhile, the hippo could easily kill an alligator simply by sitting on it, by trampling it in a foot race, or by picking it up in its mouth and whipping it around.
So, in a fight between an alligator and a hippo, the hippo would almost certainly win.
Alligators and hippos are both strong, powerful, and dangerous predators. If they were ever to fight each other, the alligator might be able to injure the hippo if the fight takes place in the water, but the hippo would have the greater advantage–its exceptional weight and strength would allow it to kill the alligator whether in water or on land.