Animal Kingdom Smackdown: Rhino Vs. Hippo

Animal Kingdom Smackdown: Rhino Vs. Hippo

Jackson M. Meade


Africa is home to a plethora of deadly megafauna, and choosing any two could make an interesting matchup. Out of all of Africa’s creatures, two stand out as clear rivals: the hippopotamus and rhinoceros. These two species are icons of Africa, but which is stronger and would prove dominant over the other? 


To answer this question we will place the two in a one-on-one battle to the death, determining the true powerhouse. To make the fight as fair as possible, we are choosing the largest of each species, so we will be selecting the white rhinoceros and the common hippopotamus. 


The semi-aquatic tank of the pair, the common hippopotamus, are around 11.5 feet long and can weigh up to 3.5 tons. Despite their extreme weight, hippos are capable of running 19 mph for short distances. Hippos have an extremely bulky build, with skin that reaches around 2 inches thick on certain parts of the body. Hippos live in herds of up to 40 different individuals and will often fight amongst other hippos for territory and breeding rights. 


The greatest advantage of the common hippopotamus is its long canines that are located on its bottom jaw. The hippo is able to open its jaw 150 degrees to sport its long canine teeth that can grow up to 20 inches long. These teeth are made specifically for combat and have no purpose in feeding. 


The greatest weakness of the hippo is its skin. Hippo skin is very sensitive and while hippos can secrete a reddish liquid to keep their skin hydrated for a while, they need to return to water to prevent their skin from cracking due to pressure from the sun.


On the other hand, the armor-plated opponent, the white rhinoceros, can weigh up to 4 tons and measure around 13 feet long, with the ability to run up to 31 mph. Their skin is almost 2 inches thick and acts as a sort of armor for the rhino. Rhinos live in groups known as “crashes” which consist of up to14 individuals, and will fight off rival groups for territorial rights.


The greatest advantage of the rhinoceros is the large, keratin horn that sits on the front of the rhino’s head. These horns grow around 24 inches long and are used for combat, mating displays, and warnings to rival rhinos. The greatest weakness of the rhino is its poor eyesight, which prevents them from making targeted attacks.


When compared, these two species seem very evenly matched in size and weaponry, so this battle will be determined by the weaknesses and advantages. In a neutral space, both animals will struggle severely, with the hippo lacking water to stay hydrated and the rhino having poor eyesight, no matter the situation. Both animals are at a severe disadvantage but are equipped with some dangerous weaponry. 


When placed in this one-on-one scenario, the victor is the hippopotamus. This matchup would be very close, and it comes to just a few factors. Firstly, the rhino has the speed advantage, but a lack of eyesight would hinder its ability to target and attack the hippo in an effective manner. Second, the hippo’s ability to open its mouth 150 degrees would allow it to engulf different areas of the rhinos body, leaving it vulnerable to attack. 


Finally, the hippo’s large canine teeth would tear through the body of the rhino, piercing through the skin and stabbing organs and arteries with ease. The hippopotamus comes out as the victor between the two powerhouses of Africa.