Home Animals Do Hippos Live in Ocean? Is It True Or False

Do Hippos Live in Ocean? Is It True Or False

how fast can a hippo swim

Hippopotamuses are water-loving animals that usually make their habitats near rivers. Do hippos live in ocean? However, in some parts of Africa, they can also be found in the ocean. This is not a common occurrence, but it does happen from time to time. Hippos are able to swim long distances and can hold their breath for up to five minutes, so they are certainly capable of surviving in the ocean. 

In fact, hippos are even sometimes seen surfing on waves! However, they generally prefer to stick to freshwater sources such as rivers and lakes. This is likely because saltwater can be hard on their skin and because they need to eat large quantities of vegetation, which is more plentiful on land. 

 do hippos live in  ocean

Type Of Water That Hippos Live in

Although they are often considered to be lazy and sluggish, hippos are actually some of the most prolific animals in Africa. They spend most of their daytime wallowing in water and even make their homes not far from the water’s edge. This is because hippos are mostly active during daylight hours, and prefer to stick to freshwater rivers rather than venturing out into the open plains. Here are the different kinds of water hippos live in:

  • Mostly in freshwater
  • Rivers
  • Lakes
  • Any type of water holes
  • Shallow water
  • Rarely in the ocean

Hippopotamuses prefer fresh water as their number one choice as they are naturally aquatic mammals. They spend a massive 16 hours in river water out of 24 hours. In fact, hippos are actually quite sensitive to changes in water quality.

This is why freshwater is the best choice for a hippo – it provides the perfect balance of nutrients and minerals that these animals need to thrive. Plus, the gentle currents of a freshwater river or lake can help keep a hippo cool in the hot African sun. 

They choose shallow surfaces with less deep for spending their in-water time. Hippos are rarely found in the sea. Hippos prefer the river saltwater as their first choice because of the hydration facility near its vegetation. 

hippo swimming in water

Can Hippos Swim in Deep Water?

Hippopotami are one of the most fascinating aquatic mammals. They have the ability to float in deep water and can hold their breath for up to 5 minutes. This allows them to move freely underwater.

One of the most amazing facts about hippopotami is that they cannot swim in the deep instead they simply walk underwater. This property helps them to avoid predators and escape from danger.

These animals are masters of survival. If they accidentally fall into the deep water, they simply move ahead using only their legs until they reach the shallow surface.

Hippopotami are incredibly swift because of this trait, and it has been reported that they can swim underwater at a speed of 8 km/h.

When they need to move in the water, their legs serve as enormous flippers that provide them with additional thrust.

hippo baby in water

Will a crocodile and a hippo survive if they are moved to the ocean?

The answer is No. The hippo has made significant adjustments to its way of life in rivers, ponds, and extremely shallow lakes. Have you ever noticed that hippos primarily bounce along the water’s bottom instead of swimming much?

This is a result of their ability to adapt to their surroundings and make the most of them. Hippos have also changed their food to adapt to their surroundings. In the ocean, they wouldn’t find any of the food they consume. Plants, tiny mammals, and even fish are included in this.

On the other hand, a crocodile can easily survive in the ocean as it is adapted to it. A crocodile also has no fear except big white sharks and humans and it can freely live in the ocean. They can easily consume a lot of seafood as their diet as meat and live in the ocean. 

Does Hippo Drown?

The mysteries of the animal world have always attracted animal enthusiasts, and one of the most intriguing mysteries is the hippopotamus. These enormous creatures are known for their love of water, but many people believe they can drown like other animals.

Hippopotamuses, on the other hand, have a number of adaptations that allow them to float in deep water. Their ears, nose, and eyes are located on top of their heads, allowing them to breathe and see even when submerged. They also have unique membranes over their eyes to protect them from the chlorine in pool water.

Hippos seal their nostrils, ears, and the unique membrane covering their eyes as they submerge. These hippopotamus traits aid in preventing drowning.

Hippos have an extraordinary natural reflex that allows them to effortlessly come to the water’s surface in order to take a breath whenever they need to. They just launch themselves into the air when they find themselves submerged and have a requirement to return to the surface.

In addition, hippos have the intelligence to control the weight of their body and the heavy bone structure they have while they are submerged in water. This prevents them from drowning, despite the fact that they are unable to swim.

mother hippo with baby

Would a Hippopotamus Sink to the Bottom of the Ocean if You Threw it Off the Side of a Ship?

Hippos are not very good swimmers, despite the fact that they spend much of their lives in water. They do not have bodies or flippers that are streamlined, and while having webbed toes, their legs are very short and stocky in proportion to the rest of their body.

Instead, they move along the riverbed in more of a gallop-like manner that appears to be in slow motion. They need to have a higher density than water so that this experiment can be successful.

The majority of mammalian species have a natural buoyancy, but hippos have very dense bones that allow them to remain on the ground. Even though salt water is around 2.5% denser than freshwater, the additional buoyancy that this gives is not enough to offset the weight of a hippo, and it will still sink if it is placed in salt water.

The hippo’s buoyancy is proportional to the volume of water it displaces, hence it is the same at any depth. Once the hippo begins to sink, it will never be able to escape the ocean floor.

baby hippo swimming

Final Words

While it may be tempting to imagine hippos frolicking in the waves, the ocean is actually not a suitable habitat for these large mammals. Hippos are very sensitive to salt water, and their skin can become irritated and inflamed after just a few minutes of exposure.

This can make it difficult for hippos to find their favorite foods, which are mostly found in freshwater habitats. In addition, hippos are not particularly good swimmers, and they can easily become exhausted if they have to swim for long periods of time.

As a result, the ocean is not a hospitable environment for hippos, and they are more likely to be found in freshwater rivers and lakes.

Read our other Hippo blogs below:

Author Profile
Jeevan Kodiyan
Zoologist | Wildlife Conservation at Animals Research

An animal enthusiast with an interest in zoology, studying the behavior and activities of animals in the wild habitat. I work on research projects related to species conservation and endangered species protection. I also leverage zoology to become an educator, educating others about the importance of protecting our natural environment and the beauty of animals in their natural habitats.

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