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How big is a hippopotamus compared to an elephant?

Imagine standing in the middle of the African savannah surrounded by some of the world’s most iconic animals. In the distance, you spot two of the largest land animals on earth, a hippopotamus and an elephant. But which one is bigger? In this article, we will explore the size comparison between these two magnificent creatures.

Size Matters – The Hippopotamus

Firstly, let’s take a closer look at the hippopotamus. Hippos are impressive creatures, weighing in at an average of 1,500-1,800 kg (3,300-4,000 pounds) for males and 1,300-1,500 kg (2,900-3,300 pounds) for females. They stand at a height of 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall at the shoulder and 3.5 meters (11 feet) in length.

To put it in perspective, a hippopotamus is about the size of a small car. Their distinct barrel-shaped body, massive head, and short legs make them unmistakable to identify.

Size Matters – The Elephant

Next up is the elephant, the largest animal on land. African elephants can weigh up to a colossal 5,500-6,600 kg (12,000-14,500 pounds) for males and 3,000-3,500 kg (6,600-7,700 pounds) for females. To add to that, they stand at a height of 3 meters (10 feet) tall at the shoulder and an astonishing length of 7.5 meters (24 feet).

To put it in perspective, an elephant is approximately twice the size of a hippopotamus, making them more massive than most vehicles.

Comparison – The Hippopotamus Vs. The Elephant

So, how do these two large beasts compare in the animal kingdom? In terms of height, elephants are undoubtedly taller. However, when it comes to mass, they have been beaten by the hippopotamus.

One notable thing about elephants is that they have more accessible features, like their ear size, which can also give them an advantage in cooling their bodies, communicate, and fend off predators.

An elephant has a long, thick trunk that can reach up to 2 meters (7 feet). At the end of it, they have two finger-like protrusions called ‘fingers’ that are used for holding, manipulating objects, and feeding. In contrast, a hippo has no such trunk, which is a distinct difference between the two animals.


Hippos and elephants are both awe-inspiring creatures that are among the most significant and prominent in the African safari. While an elephant might be taller, a hippopotamus has more mass. Ultimately size is not the only factor in determining an animal’s strength and importance in the environment. Regardless of their weight or height, they are essential to their habitats and play a vital role in their ecosystem.

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