The hippo is Africa’s undisputed most dangerous land animal.
While they may appear at first glance to be slow, gentle creatures that spend their time relaxing in swamps, the reality is far more intense. Almost nothing stands in the way of an angry hippo — not even the most formidable predators on Earth, from lions to crocodiles to wild dogs … or humans.
So what’s behind their remarkable power?
Firstly, hippos weigh in at more than 3,000 pounds and reach lengths of up to 17 feet, making them truly gigantic. Add some self-sharpening teeth that can grow to almost 2 feet long, and a jaw that can stretch to 180 degrees and deliver an incredible bite force, and you have a powerful animal that can cause some serious damage.
Moreover, hippos are also highly territorial animals that become extremely aggressive when threatened. While they have long been considered herbivores because they primarily feed on vegetation, they have no problem killing and eating other animals like impala, wildebeest and even other hippos. In fact, they are responsible for killing approximately 500 humans in Africa each year.
Despite their size, these massive creatures are far from slow. They can move through water at a full gallop and on land, often fearlessly charge other predators at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour — faster than even Usain Bolt!
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