Interspecies Conflict/leopard and hippo


Hello, Jonathan!  Good to have you back for another tenure(hope you stick around for a while!).

1. Do you think that an Arabian leopard has any chance of taking on a pygmy hippopotamus face-to-face and coming out victorious?

2. If an Arabian leopard met a striped hyena face-to-face and engaged in battle, who would be the most likely victor?

3. Large crocodiles sometimes attack young hippos.  At what weight does a hippo need to attain(while growing up) to be considered safe from a crocodile attack?

Thanks!  No rush on these; take as much time as you need.

Hey Brad! Thank you! I hope to stay along for a bit longer too, life permitting! Ha.

Let's get started:

1. No. Arabian Leopards are the smallest of all sub-species of Leopard, and it's no real exaggeration to say they are small. Even the largest males only weigh around 30-32kg. This puts them at an immediate disadvantage against the Pygmy Hippo, that can reach 250 +kg in weight. Pygmy Hippos are indeed smaller than their giant cousins, but they are still large, powerfully equipped animals. They have immensely thick skin, that makes bites and claws very hard to penetrate and inflict damage with any kind of potency, and they are still armed with fearsome lower tusks, more than capable of destroying any Leopard. They will be very aggressive and po-active in defending themselves too.

The Leopard is too lightweight here. Leopards are strong, athletic Pantheras, but met with a huge size deficit and the chance of fatal injury, they would never take such a risk. It would end badly for such a lithe cat such as the Arabian Leopard. They aren't even remotely accustomed to tackling this kind of opponent.

Hippo wins.

1. It would depend on the size of the adult Hyena, as some can reach weights of up to 56kg, which is almost double the weight of even the biggest Arabian Leopards. You must remember also that Hyenas are extremely robust, durable animals. Their neck, hind, and shoulder muscles are coated in muscles and they have dense bones, that allow them to withstand ferocious blows, and still are able to land attacks of their own with their bone-crushing canines. Although not as powerful as their Spotted cousins, they are still to be respected.

The Leopard would have the innate advantage that felines have over canids, with the ability to use both jaws and forelimbs offensively, combined with their superior agility that can out-maneuver and out-flank the Hyena. Despite their relatively small size, the Arabian Leopard is still keenly armed. Their claws are razor sharp, their bite can cause serious injury with a single bite, and they have great innate strength that belies their size.

It would depend how fervent the Leopard would be in its attack. It has the equipment, but it may not want to risk any kind of injury. Any injury to a Leopard is borderline fatal, as it reduces their physical capability to hunt, and any fight with a Hyena doesn't come without the potential for grave injuries.

I would say the Leopard if it was truly committed. The size differential makes it interesting though.

3. I would say around 3-4 years of age, a Hippo would become completely immune to Crocodile attacks, given their almost mature size, and the emergence of those huge tusks that come on the brink of adulthood. They would most likely be around a ton in weight, which is large enough to repel any attack from a Crocodile. They're just too physically imposing at this age.

Crocodiles rarely attack Hippo calves, but when they do it's usually very young calfes, from new-born to a year old. It's very dangerous for Crocodiles to attempt such hunts, as the calves are vigorously protected by their huge Hippo mothers, and thus it's a rare occurence.

Most Hippo kills by Crocodiles are opportunistic and infrequent.

Thanks for the questions Brad! Interesting and probing as always!

Love to hear more,


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I can answer any question on land carnivores. Big cats are my main area of expertise. I can answer questions on weight, behavior, and on any possible match-up among mammals, reptiles and insects, but the latter is less preferred. I am not very well informed with dinosaurs and prehistoric animals, so please refrain from asking me questions about them. Just modern animals please. Also questions on bite force are not the best, as they vary greatly.


I am a wildlife enthusiast. I have visited countless zoos globally to observe animal behavior, and i have also seen animals such as Rhinos, Elephants and Big Cats in the wild and synthetic environments. I watch nearly every animal documentary available, and have really acquired considerable knowledge of animals and animal conflicts as a result. I know a lot.

I have written several articles on Wikipedia. I also will soon start writing blogs about Big Cats.

I have a C grade at GCSE Science. However, nothing gives you more knowledge than experiencing animals in the flesh. No qualification can give you that kind of insight.

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