How Much Does a Hippo Weigh?



Hippos are some of the largest animals in the world. Ranking third on the list of the largest land mammals, hippos are incredibly heavy animals.

A hippo’s average weight is between 3,000-8,000 lb (1,360-3,630 kg), making them the third largest animals after elephants and rhinos. Even at birth, they are incredibly heavy, and there is dimorphism between male and female weights. Their massive size doesn’t make them any less dangerous; if anything, it does the opposite.

This article will cover the hippo’s size and weight in great detail.

Hippo submerged in jungle pond

What Is The Weight Of An Adult Hippo?

Hippopotamuses are large, aggressive animals that have been deemed Africa’s deadliest animal several times.

They are so big that it is hard to imagine their size unless you see one in person. However, the following numbers may help give you a better understanding of how massive these creatures truly are.

Hippos have an average weight of 1.5 to 4 tons, or roughly 3,000-8,000 lb, making them some of the heaviest animals on earth. 

Large hippopotamus laying in the sun

How Large Are Pygmy Hippos?

Adult pygmy hippos, in comparison to their larger cousins, only weigh between 400-600 pounds. To put that into perspective, common hippos can reach up to 8,000 pounds. 

In terms of height, pygmy hippos are only half as tall as regular ones, their shoulders only measure 2.5 to 3 feet in height.

How Much Do Baby Hippos and Pygmy Hippos Weigh?

Hippos have a relatively short gestation period of 8 months, even shorter than average human pregnancy, and they usually only give birth to one baby at a time.

When hippos are born, they are smaller than their parents but still significantly larger than many other animals of the same age.

Baby hippos are born weighing approximately 100 lb (45 kg).

They can suckle both on land and underwater by keeping their ears and nostrils shut while feeding.

Mother hippos nurse their calves for about eight months until they are weaned off milk and only eat vegetation. 

Babies start growing at a rate of around one pound per day, with no sign of stopping until they reach their total weight.

Pygmy hippos, on the other hand, are much lighter at birth weighing only 7.5-14 lb (3.4-6.4 kg).

Pygmy hippos gain ten times their birth weight within just five months.

Are Male And Female Hippos Weigh The Same?

Male and female hippos have different growth rates; females are typically smaller, only growing to 3,000 lb (1,360 kg). 

After they’re born, they stay with their mother until maturity, and around age 25, they stop growing.

Male hippos tend to weigh more than female hippos of the same age, with some males reaching up to 8,000 lb (3,630 kg).

While they mature more slowly than females, they never stop growing and may even continue putting on weight after females have reached their maximum at age 25.

Why Do Hippos Grow So Large?

Hippos grow much for the following reasons.

  • The biggest and most fierce male hippo becomes the leader of the bloat, which gives him access to a mate. So to be the top dog is somewhat nature’s requirement; otherwise, hippos would probably fail to assert dominance and lead their herd.
  • Hippos are herbivores that spend their night grazing on grasses. However, they live in Africa with some of the most dangerous predators in the world. It is only because of their size and strength that they are able to defend themselves against these predators and even entire packs of animals.

What Is the Largest Hippo Ever Known?

Males are the largest hippos and continue to grow throughout their lives, so they hold most of the size records. The largest hippo ever recorded was a captive male hippo in Munich, Germany.

This giant hippo weighed in at 4,500 kg, more than 9,900 lb.

This can be interpreted to mean that hippos grow much better in captivity than they do in the wild. 

The main reason is that captive hippos are free from food shortages and ever-changing climates and have access to medical care.

Hippos Size vs Elephant Size

Both the hippo and elephant are gargantuan in size. The average weight of a hippo is 3,000-8,000 lb, with some nearly reaching 14 ft in length and 5.2 ft tall at the shoulders.

Their massive size doesn’t make them any less dangerous, though; if anything, it does the opposite.

Elephants are the largest land animals, weighing between 5,000 and 14,000 lb. They can grow 8.2-13 feet tall at the shoulders and reach 21 feet long.

Their size gives them a massive advantage in the wild.

Elephants bathing with hippos emerged in water

Hippos Size vs Rhino Size

Both hippos and rhinos can be aggressive, so you definitely wouldn’t want to run into either one of them in the wild.

There are five species of rhino in the world: two African (black and white) and three Asian (greater one-horned, Sumatran, Javan).

  • White rhinos have a significant mass and can weigh 7,700 pounds, making them the largest among all rhino species.
  • Fully-grown black rhinos can stand 4.5 to 6 feet tall at the shoulders and weigh an average of 1,760 to 3,080 pounds. 
  • Indian rhinos can grow 6 feet tall at the shoulder and 12.5 feet long, gaining mass up to 4400 pounds.
  • Although Sumatran rhinos are the smallest type of rhino, they can still weigh an impressive 1760 pounds, reaching 8-10 feet long and 4 to 4.8 feet tall at the shoulders.

While hippos usually only weigh 3,000 to 8,000 pounds, some can get as big as 14 feet long and 5.2 feet tall at the shoulders.

Final Thoughts On Hippo Weight

At an average of 3,000 to 8,000 pounds, hippos are some of the world’s largest animals. 

And while they may not be the largest animals on the earth, their size certainly doesn’t make them any less dangerous. 

So if you’re ever unlucky enough to come across a hippo in the wild, consider yourself lucky if you escape alive.


Are Hippos Mostly Muscle or Fat?

Although they look overweight, hippos are actually not all fat. They have very thin subcutaneous layers of fat and much more muscle in their bodies than many other animals, making them the sturdiest creatures on earth.

How Heavy Is the Heaviest Hippo?

The largest hippo ever recorded was in a German zoo. This 16-foot giant weighed 9,900 pounds, equivalent to three Honda Accords.

Can Hippo Skin Stop a Bullet?

Although a hippo’s skin is tough, being about 2 inches thick, it’s not bulletproof. The thickness does make them almost invulnerable to regular bullets, though. Larger shells can cause them harm, though.

Can a Hippo Crush a Human?

Though hippos are vegetarians, their aggressive nature makes them one of the most dangerous animals in the world. A hippo can crush a human skull as easily as it crushes a watermelon. Hippos cause around 500 deaths per annum.

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