If you're obsessed with all things cute on the Internet, you've probably watched more than few YouTube videos of chubby, round hippopotamus cubs flopping around the zoo. Don't be fooled by all those cute hippo photos or those adorable little neck and tummy rolls you want to squeeze - hippos are dangerous.
Can hippos kill humans? Well, according to some reports, hippos are the most dangerous animal in all of Africa. They're more dangerous than lions, hyenas, snakes, and mosquitos (who are actually pretty sneaky killers when it comes to transmitting deadly diseases). Killer hippos have gored humans, throwing them around like they're nothing but a chew toy. They've overturned boats full of children who met a terrible fate and they've certainly stomped out an angry pack of lions or two.
As cute as they look, these animals are mean. Hippos are highly aggressive, especially when protecting their young. Jut because they're pudgy doesn't mean they aren't fierce. Here are some terrifying hippo facts that prove these rolley polley adorable creatures deserve to be crowned the kings of the animal kingdom.
Don't ever underestimate the strength of a hippo - they're the tank of the animal kingdom. Even lions know that they can't take down a hippo one on one. In fact, a single hippo can have the power to fend off an entire pride of lions. The Daily Mail reports that in 2014, a giant hippo took on a pride of lions when they tried to attack him for a meal.
The four lionesses chased the hippo into a ditch, but he didn't succumb to their vicious bites. Instead, the big guy showed his teeth and shook off the lions like they were nothing. He frightened them so much that they ended up running away. Instead of letting them go, the hippo started to chase them to frighten them even more. That little extra step just proves that hippos are heinously vicious.
When you think about animals that are so vicious they eat their own, you often think of baby sharks tearing at their brothers and sisters in the womb. Rest assured, hippos can be just as cold. In 1999, the first ever hippo cannibalism was witnessed in the Shire River of Malawi. A group of vicious crocodiles were dining on a hippo when scientists spotted another hippo among the predators! There's something insanely unsettling about seeing one species feast on their own kind.
There's nothing cuter than a chubby hippo laughing to himself while he floats about. Apparently, though, it's actually not so cute when you get down to the science of it. Hippos don't have a sense of humor. Their laugh is actually a display of aggression. If a hippo is laughing, they feel threatened, which means they may attack.
It's hard to tell the true size and strength of a hippopotamus if you're looking at it from a zoo enclosure. Typically, the average adult hippo weighs between 3,500 and 4,500 pounds. For reference, the average new car weighs around 4,009 pounds. Since hippos can charge at 20mph, an attack would be like getting hit by a car that has teeth. It has also been observed that a dominant male hippo of a pod is significantly heavier - they can weigh over 6,000 pounds.