Can Hippos Jump? How Fast A Hippo Can Run and Swim?

While some animals jump in celebration, some jump only when they are scared. But there are also some animals who absolutely cannot jump at all. So, can hippos jump? Let’s find out the answer.

Hippos/ Hippopotamus (hippopotamus amphibious) once had a broader distribution on this planet but now mostly live in eastern central and southern sub-Saharan Africa, where their populations are in decline.

Besides the Elephant and White Rhinos, the Hippo is another heavy herbivore and the third largest mammal in Africa, and it weighs around 1.5 – 4 tons.

Can Hippos Jump?

Hippos can’t jump at all. No matter if they are the giant muscular Common Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius) or the much smaller Pygmy Hippo (Choeropsis liberiensis), they can’t leap up in the air over any hurdles. However, hippos can jump in the water.

Hippos cannot jump on the land as they are thick and chunky. They can jump in the water because the gravitational force is less effective in water when compared to on land. So, you can see them leaping into the air from the water or just floating along.

Though they cannot jump on the land, if you force them to climb up a steep bank, they can do it rapidly.

Anti-gravity propulsion is not possible because of hippos’ muscle ratios. If you observe them when running, they usually run in a trot, with two feet on the ground. They also can gallop with all four feet off the ground at the same time — but never leap.

Hippos charge rather than run; that’s why they go fast even after having so much weight.

How can Long Can A Hippo Jump?

As we already know, a hippo cannot jump; it’s not only because of their weight but also concerned of how they are built. So, even the cubs can’t jump in the air over any obstacles. They can’t even change their direction fast, so a good way to evade a hippo attack is by running in zig zags.

Interesting Fact: Hippos can move at a pace of about 5 miles (8 kilometers) per hour underwater.

The image is taken from Pixabay

Also Read: Can Lions Swim? Are Lions Scared of Water?

Can A Hippo Drown?

Despite their gigantic size, hippos do not drown in the water. An interesting fact is that they close their ears and nostrils underwater. They also have a membrane that shields their eyes underwater and has the instinct to reach for the surface to breathe.

They are clever enough to balance their heavy bodies and move through the water by leaping and bounding off the bottom of the river or lake. Their highly efficient respiratory system helps them to really relax in their watery home.

And knowing that they won’t ever drown, even in deep water, allows hippos to be the masters of this watery habitat.

Interesting Fact: Hippos love water and spend up to 16 hours a day submerged in rivers and lakes to keep their massive bodies cool under the sun, which is why the Greeks named them the “river horse.”

Is Hippo Faster On Land Or On Water?

With all the jumping and swimming in the water, in reality, a hippo moves faster on land than in water. However, their pace may slow down when walking uphill or on hills.

Watching a hippo underwater is beautiful, though; they have the grace of an elegant bird – moving about in slow motion like they are almost weightless.

How Far Can A Hippo Swim? Are Hippos Good Swimmers?

Even though hippopotamuses stay in the water most of the time, they are not good swimmers. Hippos use water as a place to live but won’t swim in it much, they don’t even feed in the water either.

Are Hippos Dangerous In Water?

A Hippopotamus can be dangerous anywhere, both in and out of the water. They will attack you if you try to go near them; they even assault small boats when they get in their way to defend their territory. So, when someone comes between a mother and her cub, they can get more aggressive.

Hippos’ weight comes in handy when predators enter their area, and they use their sharp canine teeth to defend themselves. They are very protective of their territory, particularly when submerged in water.

Image by Monika Neumann from Pixabay

 Also Read: Can Groundhogs Swim?

How Fast Can Hippos Run?

On land, hippos can easily reach a speed of 30 kph (19 mph) on a charge. They can’t sustain this for very long, but they can maintain it well enough to catch up with even the fastest human.

In a straight line on flat ground, they are able to catch most animals and many unsuspecting tourists. Hippos just attack if they feel annoyed or startled. They even try to attack lions and crocodiles. They kill roughly 500 humans in Africa every year (while (bears in the U.S. kill only around one person a year in comparison).

Even though hippos are herbivores and primarily feed on grass and plants, hippos are amongst the most violent creatures on the earth. They can even split a boat into two with their strong jaws. You cannot outrun an angry hippo unless you run in zig-zags and find something to hide behind.

How Long Can A Hippo Hold Their Breath?

A hippo rarely enters deep water; when it does, it moves by bouncing off the bottom, and it surfaces every 4-6 minutes, while young come out to breathe every 2-3 minutes.

Hippos are semi-aquatic animals and not amphibians. So, they cannot breathe underwater and must resurface themselves every few minutes to breathe.

Baby hippos often stand on their mom’s back to make it easier to reach the surface each time. As their eyes and nostrils are located high on their heads, it allows them to see and breathe while mostly submerged.

Some Other Animals Which Can’t Jump:

  • Elephants
  • Tortoises
  • Rhinos
  • Snakes
  • Sloths
  • Chameleon

Some Interesting Facts About Hippos:

  • Hippos are social animals and must stay close to their ‘bloat’ to maintain their position in society. And as outsiders often don’t do so well when joining a new group, there is no point heading off somewhere else without a really good reason.
  • Considering their gigantic size, a hippo’s food intake is relatively low, and they eat around 88 lbs (40 kg) of food a day.
  • Each female hippo has only one calf every two years.
  • The hippopotamus can sleep in both hemispheres (both in water and on land).
  • Hippos secrete an oily red substance, which was the reason for the myth that they sweat blood. But actually, this liquid is like a skin moistener and sunblock that may also provide protection against germs.

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