Hippos are often described as cute and cuddly mammals living in lakes, rivers, and swamps. These semiaquatic creatures may appear calm and submissive, but they are not as gentle as they look. Despite being a herbivore, hippos are known for being aggressive and dangerous; they are extremely territorial and are ready to fight to protect their home. Furthermore, hippos are incredibly large, ranking as the third-largest land mammal next to the elephant and rhinoceros. Despite their massive body, hippos move fast both on land and water, making them extremely dangerous.
In addition to this, hippos are known for their unpredictable nature. They might seem calm at first glance, but it is difficult to distinguish whether they are going to attack. Interestingly, there are some hints you could check to know when a hippo is going to attack; some of these signals include yawning and laughing.
What does it mean when a hippo is yawning?
When we yawn, it is often a sign of being tired, bored, or sometimes, is not interested in something. However, this is not the same with hippos. These creatures open their jaws up to 180 degrees, making it the land animal that has the widest mouth opening.
When it opens its mouth, it is pretty similar to ‘yawning,’ which is why people usually describe it as cute and sleepy. But a yawning hippo does not mean it is tired; it is a clear sign of aggression and that it is ready to attack. Yawning is a warning sign that hippos show to any threat near their territory. Hippos try to intimidate threats by boasting their massive jaws, along with long and sharp teeth. These features give hippos a powerful and aggressive appearance, which they use to protect their home.
What does it mean when a hippo is laughing?
Besides yawning, hippos also do other actions that seem to mimic humans. It is known that hippos also ‘laugh,’ making it appear friendly. It has a large and deep voice when laughing, which sounds intimidating. This is because hippos are vocal creatures and love to send signals of what they would do next.
However, don’t be deceived by its comical laugh. Hippos usually laugh when submerged underwater; this is another warning signal they do when near a threat. Hippos might appear happy and calm when laughing, but it means exactly the opposite since they are threatened and aggressive when in this state. So when you see a laughing hippo during a safari trip, it is a sign that you should be extra careful.
Why are hippos dangerous?
As mentioned earlier, hippos are large mammals with a cute and cuddly appearance; they are also herbivores that live near water. So you might be thinking: how does this gentle-looking creature famous for being so dangerous? There are many factors that make a hippo extremely dangerous; one of them is its powerful jaws.
Hippos are known to be among the animals that have the most powerful bite force. They rank second to crocodiles when it comes to bite force, wherein every bite could weigh more than eight hundred kilograms. A single bite of a hippo could crush a whole watermelon and could potentially break a crocodile’s bite. A hippo’s bite is so powerful that crocodiles are afraid of it, which is why it is hazardous to humans.
What are the dangers of crocodiles to humans?
With all the hippo’s brute characteristics, it is already clear that it is an animal that is devastating to humans. It has an incredible bite force that could easily cause severe injuries to humans, breaking their legs, arms, or even skull. Because of this, hippos are among the most dangerous animals around the globe, mainly because of their powerful body and aggressive behavior.
In Africa, it is estimated that five hundred people die annually because of hippos. Hippos are often known to live closely with humans, which usually cause concern to people living near the water. Various incidents arise when people tend to be so close with hippos, resulting in severe injuries, or worse, death. A single bite from these mighty creatures could crush a human body effortlessly.