Fight in the Wild Series: Hippopotamus vs Bull Shark


This is the third part of our ‘fight in the wild series’ The first part involved a fighting Cheetah Vs African Lion whereas in the second part, we Spotted Hyena wrestled Grey Wolf.

Let’s start with Hippos first.

Hippopotamus Facts

  • The name Hippopotamus comes from the Ancient Greek ‘river horse’.
  • Hippos bask on the shoreline and secrete an oily red substance, which gave rise to the myth that they sweat blood. The liquid is actually a skin moistener and sunblock that may also provide protection against germs.
  • An adult Hippo needs to resurface every 3 – 5mins to breathe. The process of surfacing and breathing is automatic, and even a hippo sleeping underwater will rise and breathe without waking.
  • They are only territorial while in the water. Both reproduction and birth occur in the water. Hippo calves weigh approximately 45kg at birth and can suckle on land or underwater by closing their ears and nostrils. Each female has only one calf every two years. Soon after birth, mother and young join schools that provide some protection against crocodiles, lions, and hyenas.
  • Despite its stocky shape and short legs, it can easily outrun most humans. Hippos have been clocked at 30 km/h over short distances.
  • Hippos will travel on land for up to 10km to feed. They spend four to five hours grazing and can consume 68 kg of grass each night. Considering their enormous size, a hippo’s food intake is relatively low.
  • The hippopotamus is one of the most aggressive creatures in the world and is often regarded as one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. However, if threatened on land it will often run for water.
  • Their closest living relatives are cetaceans (whales, porpoises, etc.) from which they diverged about 55 million years ago.

Bull Shark Facts

  • Bull Shark are aggressive. Very, very aggressive.
  • Females are heavier, but shorter than males. Female bull shark can reach weight of 500 pounds and length of 5 feet. Males can reach 200 pounds and 7 feet in length.
  • Bull sharks have grey backs and white bellies. Tips of the fins are black, especially in younger sharks.
  • Body of the bull shark is stout. Snout is wide and equipped with sharp, triangular teeth. Eyes are small.
  • Bull sharks are named that way because they have blunt snouts and habit to attack the prey by hitting it first in the butt using the heads (just like bulls).
  • Bull shark possesses long pectoral fins that are used for cruising through the shallow waters while it searches for the next meal.
  • Bull shark usually swims 4.9 miles per hour, but it can accelerate its speed on up to 11.8 miles per hour when needed.
  • Bull sharks have developed special adaptations to ensure survival both in marine and fresh waters. Their kidneys and a gland near the tail prevent loss of body salt in the water of low salinity.
  • Bull shark is carnivore with great appetite. Fish, turtles, crustaceans, dolphins, birds and other sharks, are normal part of the bull shark’s menu.
  • Bull sharks are active both during the night and day.
  • Bull shark does not normally eat people. It will attack anything that moves in its territory, including humans. On average, 16 attacks on humans happen each year in the USA. Every two years, one of those attacks ends up fatally

If a hippo and a bull shark go head to head, who will win this unlikely showdown? Let’s find out.

The much aggressive bull shark could outmanuver the hippo and cause it to bleed to death if it manages to bite out a huge chunk of flesh (which it can as it does that to elephant seals). Hippo will win if it gets a good bite in but the shark can win in the deeper waters. In other words, it is most definite that the shark will win as it is more mobile in the water and bites from those jaws filled with serrated teeth. This would devastate the hippo’s blubber and cause it to bleed out. However, Shark’s skull is made out of cartilage. If Hippo catches the skull of a shark, it can tear that soft texture and easily win the battle.

If the match happens in shallow water, I am leaning towards Hippo because the speed is out of equation when the water is shallow. If the match takes place in the deep blue sea, the shark wins this match. So, let’s call this battle a stalemate.

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