The animal kingdom can be a confusing place. Take, for instance, a viral video from National Geographic showing the unlikely friendship between a baby hippo and a crocodile. Believe it or not, hippos are actually very aggressive. And animals that share their habitats with these creatures know it. So it makes sense that a vicious predator like a crocodile wouldn't want to mess around with a hippo - even if the hippo's a baby.
Baby hippos actually use crocodiles as chew toys. No, really! These babies - accompanied closely by their moms - walk right up to sunbathing crocs and chew on their hard spines. This doesn't cause any serious harm to crocodiles, though it's probably super annoying. Chew away, you precious baby hippos.
Baby Hippos Chew On Crocodile Spines For Fun
Baby hippos are playful, and when they're traveling down the river and they meet a new crocodile friend, they apparently want to play.
In this video, a baby hippo grabs the hard, scaled spine of a crocodile and playfully nibbles. But the victim doesn't seem to mind. This makes the crocodile's tail essentially a chew toy for the baby hippo. So cute!
Hippos Are Very Strong - And Crocodiles Know That
While hippos look like cute, goofy animals, the truth is they're very violent. Though hippos are vegetarians, they are aggressive, killing an estimated 500 people per year in Africa, according to the BBC. Experts say they kill to defend themselves from perceived threats.
Crocodiles are aware of how dangerous hippos can be, as are many animals in the jungle. A hippo's sheer size - nearly 4,000 pounds - is intimidating, so other predators don't typically mess with them. And when mommy hippos are in the water and their babies wander up to check out - or chew on - the local crocodile population, the crocs tend not to react.
It Doesn't Mean Crocs And Hippos Don't Get Into Scuffles
Just because hippos and crocodiles live harmoniously most of the time, it doesn't mean they don't get into scrapes every now and again. Crocodiles and hippos are among the deadliest animals in the world, and they can get agitated with one other from time to time. These two massive creatures pack punches in their own unique ways, so fights between crocodiles and hippos can be extremely brutal.