We all know that crocs and gators are dangerous animals. Most of us wouldn’t go swimming in waters where these toothy critters live because you could end up being their next meal. Africa has some of the largest Nile crocodiles in the world, growing to around 20 feet long and weighing 2000 lbs. These guys are not to be messed with by most animals and nearly all of them will avoid the Nile crocs. All but one.
The hippo isn’t a cute, fat funny looking critter that would allow you to pet it. Hippo’s are fiercely territorial and are responsible for more human deaths than any other animal in Africa. They are also not the slightest bit afraid of a Nile croc. Hippos weight tips the scales at over 3300 lbs. That’s nearly a ton and a half to you and me. They also have some enormous teeth with incisors and k-9’s being about a 1.5 feet in length. Their mouth can open up to about 4 feet, large enough to bite into nearly anything.
Crocs and hippos live in the same waters, however it’s the hippo who owns the territory. If one spots a croc, especially a male hippo, he’ll do his best to chase the croc out of the area or kill it, not matter how big the croc may be. The hippo is able to walk under water and at a very fast pace. He can also run faster than you or me through shallow water so there’s no chance to get away from this beast. Crocs are a little quicker, so they can get away if they want to, however sometimes the crocs hold their ground too long and pay the ultimate price for doing so.
The hippo will try to grab the croc by his torso and shake the beast up and down and side to side, tearing it up with those long and very sharp teeth. The goal is to disembowel the croc and leave it to die. You see, even though hippos have enormous teeth, they are omnivorous. They are like cows and they graze on the plant life underwater.
I’ve traveled down the Zambizi river in Mozambiq and encountered hippos. We prayed that our little canoes wouldn’t create much noise or be noticed as we tried not to make a move or a sound. I’ve never been more scared in my life. If you’re ever in Mozambiq, it’s worth the time to check out the hippos, but don’t get too close or it may be your last day. -Jungle Jack