Can You Outrun A Hippo? ????

hippo canada M6AM2CD scaled e1632907987443

Affiliate Disclaimer
As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
We may get a commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

If you’re a good runner on a flat surface with a head start – yes – you can outrun a hippo. If you’re caught off guard, too close and too slow – then maybe not!

full portrait of a common hippo walking on land 6825BJH

How Can You Outrun A Hippo?

Hippos (Hippopotamus amphibius) are huge – and strong. They don’t have any blubber – it is all muscle – so they can run fast. Clocking up to 20mph (32km/h) on the flat from a standing start – even an Olympic sprinter isn’t getting away.

If you are on the ground within a stone’s throw of a hippo – you are already too close to outrun them. If they charge from a standing start – you cannot possibly run faster than them in a straight line. No-one can.

However, you can prevent a hippo attack and give yourself enough of a head start – or delay their attack enough. Hippos kill over 500 people a year so you really don’t want to be anywhere near one. Basically, if you see one while you are on foot or in a boat – turn around and leave. Fast.

Unless you are an extremely fit sprinter – more than 100 meters away – and you are running away from the hippo’s favorite watery home whilst also not (accidentally) being between them and their calf – you may well just about get away with your life.

Outrunning a hippo is best done in half an hour before it starts the attack, in other words, don’t get into a situation where you need to run from a hippo.

How To Avoid A Hippo Attack:

By leaving them alone, letting them see you before moving away from their ‘safe place’ and by moving speedily with care – back the way you came – you can hopefully avoid an attack.

Stay Away:

Basically assume a perimeter of more than 100 meters around them. Anything within this distance could be within easy reach of a hippo in a matter of seconds if they chose to attack: remember hippos are already up to 5m (16ft) long – so within ’20 steps’ they have covered this distance already!

And at speeds faster than ANY human sprinter – you have around 10 seconds head start. Whether they are in the water (especially shallow water) or on land – you are not safe within this distance – and you might not even be safe at double this. Sorry.

hippo canada M6AM2CD scaled e1632907987443

Make A Noise:

You do not want to surprise a hippo. If you suddenly come across a hippo closer than you would like – then make a noise. Let it know you are there and it can watch you while you move away.

You do not want to appear a threat – so if it can safely see you become less of a threat – it won’t waste its energy chasing you. Staying quiet and rustling away might spook it into a chase – thinking you are something more dangerous than you are.

Once started – it won’t stop the attack until you are neutralized!

Be Careful At Night:

Walking at night is probably more dangerous because this is when hippos leave the water to feed. Covering a few miles or km at night – browsing on grasses – they will be easily spooked and want to return to the water – most often the females have a calf waiting for them back there. You do NOT want to get in their way.

Watch Out For Hippo Poop:

Looking out for hippo poop can be helpful as they often poop in the paths between the river and their feeding zones – so the direction of the poop can tell you which way the water is. Certainly don’t set up camp anywhere near a poop trail as they WILL come back past. and hippos kill more people than lions by a long way – and you wouldn’t set up camp near a lion highway would you?

Just because hippos are herbivores – doesn’t mean they aren’t aggressive.

Run In A Zig Zag:

Once they are attacking – say you spooked one by accident – you need to zig-zag away (as like alligators and crocodiles they can’t change direction very fast or very easily).

Ideally, you need to put something in the way of their charge too – like trees, rocks, and buildings and make sure you run AWAY from their favorite watercourse. With all these obstacles in the way – and their home or calf (the thing they were defending) getting further behind them – they may just give up (fingers crossed).

Can You Outrun a Crocodile on Land and in Water?

When it comes to outrunning a crocodile on land, it’s nearly impossible. These mighty reptiles can achieve speeds of up to 12 miles per hour for short bursts. However, in water, their domain, crocodiles excel with speeds of 25 miles per hour. So, in the unlikely event of encountering one, it’s advised to seek safety elsewhere.

Are Hippos Dangerous?

Yes, yes, yes.

They are grumpy, cantankerous and easily spooked GIANT creatures – and they take almost anything as an excuse to attack. Steer well clear.

If there was ever a reason to employ an excellent, well-qualified and knowledgeable guide – this is it. Money very well spent.

Table of contents

About the author

Latest Posts

  • Fun Facts About Chameleons

    Fun Facts About Chameleons

    Did you know that chameleons are among the most visually stunning and unique reptiles on the planet? These fascinating creatures are known for their amazing abilities and distinct chameleon characteristics, which include far more than just their legendary color-changing skills. In truth, chameleons possess a great deal of adaptability, allowing them to thrive in various…

    Read more

  • Fun Facts About Donkeys

    Fun Facts About Donkeys

    As you delve into the world of donkey trivia, prepare to have your heart charmed by these adorable donkeys. Often overshadowed by their equine cousins, donkeys are fascinating creatures filled with interesting donkey facts that defy common misconceptions. From their pivotal role in history to their remarkable adaptability, these gentle animals harbor a wealth of…

    Read more

  • Fun Facts About Narwhals

    Fun Facts About Narwhals

    Shrouded in the frosty embrace of the Arctic Circle, the narwhal has long captivated the human imagination as one of the most enchanting inhabitants of Arctic wildlife. With their distinctive narwhal tusks spiraling through icy waters, these creatures, bearing the whimsical moniker ‘sea unicorns,’ beckon adventurers and scientists alike to unearth narwhal facts that converge…

    Read more