Home Animals What is a Group of Hippos Called? Social Lives of Hippo

What is a Group of Hippos Called? Social Lives of Hippo

hippo herd

Hippopotamuses are gregarious animals that live in masses. The group typically consists of 10 to 30 individuals. However, groups of 200 have been spotted in the wild sometimes.

What is a group of hippos called? It is known as “bloat.” There are also names like herd, pod, and school.

What Is a Group of Hippos Called?

A “bloat” of hippos is the most common way to refer to a group of these animals. This term is used because hippos tend to be rather rotund, and thus appear as though they might explode at any given moment. “Herds” or “pods” are other terms that can be used for a group of 10-15 hippos. 

The term “school” is generally only used for a community of up to 40 individuals, as this is the largest number of hippos that have been observed living together in harmony. 

what is a group of hippos called

Social Lives of Hippopotamus

Hippopotami are unique among animals in their social behavior. Unlike most species, which live in solitary pairs or small family groups, hippos form large herds consisting of multiple males and females. The members of these herds stick close together, often doing everything as a group. This close-knit social structure is most apparent in their territorial behavior.

In the water, hippos are highly territorial creatures, aggressively defending their turf against rivals. On land, however, their territorial instinct is much weaker. While dominant males still claim ownership of a particular area, other males are often allowed to roam freely within the territory.

When young males achieve maturity in hippos, the prime male will often throw them out of the herd. These evicted hippos must then locate their own bloats by wooing females or challenging other prime males (though successful challenges are quite rare). While aggressive behavior is widespread among dominant males, it is uncommon for them to murder one another outright. More often than not, such males will join a group of bachelors before attempting to recruit a separate herd.

Infanticide is also observed in male hippos, though this behavior serves more than one purpose: killing the offspring of rival males not only demonstrates dominance over other males but also improves the infanticidal hippo’s mating prospects by freeing up mothers who would otherwise be caring for their young.

hippo group in water

The History of How Hippo Herds Got Their Names

Men used to have to hunt for a living in the past. They were well-versed in a wide range of animals and their behavior. They also needed to know their collective nouns. Because it is a life-or-death situation in the wild.

If a guy does not recognize the name “a bunch of hippos,” he cannot warn his fellow hunters of the impending danger. As a result, they had to retain a wide range of information. However, for the first time, these collective nouns were penned and placed inside a book by a woman.

Juliana Berners was a fascinating historical figure. She put together a book that included various creatures and their categories. This was in the 15th century when collective animal names were not prevalent. 

In fact, her work “The Book Of Saint Albans” is the oldest source of these names. Berners derived the nouns from many sources that are unknown to us even centuries later. Some of the original sources she consulted are no longer available. 

The book is thought to have been written as a guide for gentlemen of her time, but it has now become a satirical children’s book. 

Names like  “a dazzle of Zebras”, “a doctrine of doctors”, or “a disguise of tailors” are particularly funny to current readers. It’s fascinating to consider how language has evolved over time and how some animal herds still bear the same name they did centuries ago.

hippo enjoying sunbath

Final Words

There is no precise definition for what constitutes a group of hippos, but the most common terms are bloat, school, herd, and pod. These collective names have been used in the English language for centuries, and they can vary depending on the size of the group. Bloat is typically the smallest grouping, consisting of just a few hippos. A school is usually bigger, with anywhere from 10 to 20 hippos. A herd is even larger, often numbering in the hundreds or even thousands. And finally, a pod is the largest grouping of hippos, typically consisting of all the hippos in a given area.

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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