Male vs. Female Hippos: 6 Key Differences

Amid the rumbling snorts and murky waterways of Africa, male and female hippopotamuses can be sighted in groups of up to 100 individuals. Hippos’ semiaquatic world is intriguing to see, as evidenced by the contrasts between male and female hippos’ strong bodies and intricate social arrangements. Now let’s examine the six main distinctions between male and female hippos!

Male vs. Female Hippos: Size

Hippos are unquestionably massive animals, but the size of male hippos is particularly remarkable. The only larger land mammals on Earth are white rhinos and elephants, but these amazing colossi are the third largest. The weight of female hippos is an incredible 3,300 to 6,600 pounds—truly enormous. But male hippos are considerably larger, growing between 10.8 and 16.5 feet in length and weighing between 7,050 and 9,920 pounds, which translates to an amazing 4.5 tons in one animal! And keep in mind that hippos are incredibly strong and muscular creatures; this isn’t just body fat. They can quickly outrun a human on land, reaching speeds of up to 22 miles per hour. They are also nimble swimmers in the water. Hippos have powerful bodies and can swiftly charge and trample almost anything that stands in their way.

Male vs. Female Hippos: Appearance and Physical Traits

Hippos produce teeth on both sexes, but the males typically have larger, more noticeable ones. The ivory tusks of hippos are actually just large canine teeth, similar to those of elephants.

Male hippos defend themselves, assert their dominance during mating, and engage in territorial warfare with rival males using their tusks. With their mouths opened 180 degrees, hippos may display their remarkable 20-inch-long tusks! In contrast, female hippos primarily use their smaller and shorter tusks for defense and protection of their offspring.

Hippos, Male and Female: Lifespan and Reproduction

Hippos refer to their females as cows and their male counterparts as bulls. Male hippos usually attain sexual maturity at the age of 7.5 years, and female hippos typically reach sexual maturity between the ages of 5 and 6. To prove their supremacy and earn the right to mate with the females, men fight fiercely. They deliberately give off a “yawn” as a show of strength; this uncomplicated but powerful signal intimidates other male competitors.

Females give birth to a single calf after eight months of pregnancy following mating. The principal caretakers and fierce protectors of their young are female hippos. Although they are not as aggressive as male hippos, they can nevertheless be just as dangerous, particularly if they are defending a tiny calf.

Hippos, Male vs. Female: Social Life

Living in communal groups known as pods, hippos are gregarious animals. When younger men do not pose a threat or dispute their authority, dominant males with established territories frequently permit them to join their groups. Furthermore, whereas female hippos spend much of their time with other female hippos, other male hippos, referred to as “bachelors,” create their own bachelor groups with other single male hippos. Compared to male hippos, females tend to be more gregarious and often congregate with other females and their hippo offspring.

Furthermore, female hippos choose spending time with family members over non-family members, according to studies. Mothers and grandmothers may even split the nursing duties under some situations.

Hippos, Male vs. Female: Behavior and Temperament

Male hippos seem to be more aggressive than females in general. They are fiercely protective of their area, especially in the water, and will attack someone who approaches it or makes a threat to them. Males defend their territory with unwavering vigilance, and during mating seasons and dominance struggles, they become even more aggressive.

Compared to males, female hippos are less hostile. However, they are highly protective of their calves. If they perceive that their calves are under danger, they may become quite aggressive.

Hippos, Male and Female: Vocalizations

Hippos are notoriously noisy animals, with noise levels as high as 114 dB, or twice as loud as a rock concert! Generally speaking, male hippos are louder and more talkative than female ones, especially when it comes to mating or defending their territory. They could give a loud roar to show that they are in charge or to protect their area.

Hippos are able to produce noises both underwater and in the air, and they can do so simultaneously! Male dominators frequently make noises first, and those that are already above the surface will react to noises they hear in the atmosphere. If they hear specific noises, hippos submerged in the water will also surface. Then, they will all call at once in a loud chorus that is audible for a great distance.