Hippos are semi-aquatic mammals and are very well adapted to life in water. They are so good that they move faster than an Olympic swimmer over short distances.
How Fast Can A Hippo Move In Water?
Hippos are the closest living relatives of the whales and dolphins – so needless to say they are experts in their watery habitats. However, in a very different way. The main difference is that hippos can’t actually swim?
However, they are solid muscle – and at around 1400kg (3000lbs) in weight – they are very powerful too. So, when they want to get from A to B fast – they really don’t hang around. Powering their way through the water without having to worry about breathing or floating up to the top – they can charge at speeds of up to 7mph (11km/h).
There are many videos online of a bulge in the water heading towards a boat only to have a huge angry hippo erupt from beneath the waves with those giant teeth ready to attack.
Humans can only swim at around 2mph (3km/h) – so let’s not think about paddling in hippo-infested waters. This includes boats too – as hippos have a habit of attacking boats that come to close. Unless you can row at 8mph?
Do Hippos Swim Underwater?
In the traditional sense of staying afloat and moving through the water by flapping fins, waving arms, or undulating the body – swimming is something all mammals seem to have an innate ability to do.
Except for Hippos. They literally can’t swim that way. They have developed a style of anti-gravity leaps and bounds. And they are very good at it.
Able to stay underwater for up to 5 minutes at a time between breaths – they even sleep underwater – surfacing to breathe without even waking up.
Underwater footage from zoos has been captured showing this sort of slow-motion leaping when underwater – bouncing around like they are walking on the moon. With the water making their immense weight seem to disappear – they prance around their underwater world. Safe from the heat of the sun – and from any bother from other hippos or animals.
Hippos are very cantankerous when not left in peace – and even pick fights with some of the largest crocodiles in the world. Crocodiles that happily attack lions, leopards, and even elephants – won’t even go near an adult hippo.
Will Hippos Attack Boats?
Hippos are very space-sensitive creatures – and anything that gets too close is going to be in trouble. So if that happens to be a large boat – they don’t care – it needs to be told!
They will easily over-turn canoes and dugouts without batting an eyelid – but there was also a well-documented story of a reasonable-sized passenger boat being overturned by a single hippo after it got too close. This incident claimed the lives of 13 people.
They are so big – that they can get close before you know it. Their head is so long that it can be 3ft (1m) closer to you than the part of it that is breaking the surface – and with incredibly sharp teeth and canines bigger than a sabre-toothed tiger’s – you do not want to fall in the water! If you see a hippo in the water ahead of you – immediately turn around and flee the area before they see you.
Ironically hippos in shallow water are more dangerous to approach than those in deep water – so avoid wallowing hippos, dry season – and of course – mating season – as you will quite literally be a target. They will not be happy to see you. Bearing in mind they actively attack 10 foot (3m) long angry crocodiles with around 70 sharp teeth at one end – your canoe won’t scare them off!
Do Dolphins Have a Sense of Smell Underwater?
Do dolphins have a sense of smell underwater? Yes, they do! The dolphin’s sense of smell underwater is highly developed, allowing them to detect odors and locate prey. This ability is closely linked to their impressive sonar system, enabling them to navigate and thrive in their marine environment.
Do Hippos Attack Humans?
Hippos don’t just attack boats – they attack anything – including humans. They really don’t care whether you are a lion, elephant, or human – if you spook them; you are too close to them; or, you are just in the wrong place – you had better run fast. And run wisely.
Hippos can run faster than humans swim faster than humans, weigh more than humans and have bigger teeth than humans. You are not going to win this one!
Even though they are vegetarians – you really want to steer clear of any hippos. They are one of the most dangerous animals on the planet – killing more than 500 times more people each year than all the bears in the U.S. do.