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Gorilla vs Hippo: Who Would Win In a Fight?

gorilla vs hippo

Gorilla vs Hippo: Who Would Win In a Fight?

The chance of seeing the fight between a gorilla vs. hippo is close to none. And so, the question of who would win in a fight is not that simple to answer.

However, this does not mean we cannot make a prediction and possible fight scenario results by examining some key facts about gorillas and hippos.

Let’s find out.

Facing Off Against the Two Rivals

The gorilla is the largest (non-human) living primate. These apes are mainly herbivores, and their diet usually consists of fruits, leaves, and stems.

Gorillas live in tropical and subtropical forests of Sub-Saharan.

silverback gorilla

Today, there are around 200,000 gorillas in the world, and they are the most endangered of all ape species.

In general, gorillas are quiet creatures, however, they sometimes scream, bark, and roar. Scientists were able to detect 24 different sound vocalizations.

Gorillas live in groups ranging from two to more than 30 individuals. The most dominant and strongest adult male leads the group.

The hippopotamus, also known as the hippo, is a large semi-aquatic animal that also inhabits Sub-Saharan regions.

These huge animals are most active during the night (when foraging), while most of the daytime they can be seen cooling off in rivers and lakes.


Hippos are the third-largest land mammals, right after rhinos and elephants. Regardless of the similar physical appearance to a pig, these beasts are most closely related to whales, dolphins, and porpoises.

Despite being highly territorial, hippos are generally social animals, and they live in groups called schools. Schools are usually made up of 10 to 30 individuals.

Today, there are less than 150,000 hippos left in the wild, and they are considered vulnerable species in terms of conservation status.


Gorillas are generally peaceful, shy, and non-aggressive animals. However, if provoked, gorillas can potentially be dangerous.

As mentioned, they live in larger groups, but they tend to be not territorial, and they are even tolerant of members of different groups in case their territories overlap.

On the flip side, hippos are extremely territorial and often aggressive. However, what’s interesting, is that hippos are only territorial in the water. On land, they usually ignore other individuals.

Their temperament can be reflected in the fact that adult hippos sometimes kill younger ones for no particular reason.

Still, adult male hippos are protective of their groups, and to scare off potential enemies, hippos open their big mouths and display their deadly teeth.


When it comes to size, hippos have a big advantage over gorillas. A fully grown male hippo can weigh anywhere from 3,300 to 4,000 lbs. (1496 – 1814 kg).

Whereas the male gorilla can weigh no more than 450 lbs (204 kg), almost 10 times less than hippos.

Gorillas can reach heights between 4.1 and 6 ft. (1.25 – 1.85 meters). On the other side, hippos’ length is from 11 to 17 ft. (3.3 – 5.1 meters).

Strength and Bite Force

The killing power of the hippos is largely fueled by their ferocious bite force. They can open their mouth at a 180-degree angle, with a whooping bite force of 2000 PSI (pounds per square inch.).

hippo bite force

Besides bite strength, hippos rely on their enormous size, and they fight their enemies by pursuing them and knocking them down on the ground.

They might look like gentle and calm animals, but these giants kill more than 500 people per year in Africa.

Gorillas, on the other side, are equipped with razor-sharp canines, and their bite power is measured to be at around 1,300 PSI.

That super powerful bite force comes mainly from the gorilla’s jaw muscles, combined with their bulky neck.

gorilla bite force

It is believed that gorilla strength is about 10 times their body weight. An adult male gorilla is stronger than 20 humans combined!

Researchers have also discovered that a gorilla can lift a weight that is 27 times its own weight.

This means that the gorilla can lift a weight of 4,000 lb (1,810 kg).

Related: Tiger vs Hippo

Speed and Endurance

Despite appearing slow and clumsy, hippos, on land, can reach running speeds of 30 mph (48 km/h).

Although they can’t maintain high speeds for a long time, these bulky animals can reach maximum speed in just a couple of seconds. Which results in catching their enemies by a surprise.

Gorillas are slightly slower than hippos, and they can run at speeds of 25 mph (40 km/h). And just like their counterparts, gorillas are not very endurable, and they can run fast only in short bursts.

However, when it comes to running, great apes are capable of moving quickly over rough terrain.

Attack and Defense

For hippos, the first line of defense lies in their size. Not many creatures would dare to attack hippos in the first place. Besides that, their thick skin serves as armor which is very hard to break.

Still, if someone still decides to do so, hippos will defend themselves by living in herds. And if one of the members is endangered, the others will join in to defend it.

hippo attack and defense

Besides its powerful bite, a hippo will use its bulky head to bludgeon both for defense and for attacking potential predators.

When threatened, gorillas will also use their numbers for defense purposes. However, if the gorilla is lonely and there is great danger, it will use its climbing abilities to escape.

gorilla attack and defense

Also, when facing predators, the gorilla will start banging its chest and display its sharp canines in order to scare them off.

When they are in fighting mode, gorillas would take advantage of their extremely powerful arms, legs, and bites, which are often fatal to their enemies.


Gorillas are considered highly intelligent animals. In captivity, some gorilla individuals have an IQ between 75 and 100.

Knowing that the average IQ for humans is around 100, it is easy to realize how smart gorillas actually are.

On the other hand, hippos, despite being related to the whales are not as intelligent.

Unfortunately, no special tests have been conducted to measure hippos’ intelligence, but based on their behavior, these animals are not overly smart, but they are not stupid either.

Gorilla vs Hippo: Who Would Win?

Considering all the key facts, in a hypothetical fight between a gorilla and a hippo, the hippo will most likely win in a fight. The hippo is much larger than a gorilla, and that would be its main advantage for securing victory.

A battle between a hippo and a gorilla will depend on four factors: size, strength, intelligence, and skill. The gorilla may have skill and intelligence on its side, but the raw power and gigantic size of a hippo would be crucial in a fight.

As a result, our winner in a potential fight between a gorilla vs hippo is a hippo.

Winner: Hippo


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