How Fast Can Hippos Run?

Have you ever seen hippos running? Hippos are large and moody animals that can be very heavy. They have large bodies and relatively short legs. Even though they are known to be lazy, hippos are pretty athletic. Well, anybody who has seen those chubby creatures running, especially those that have been chased by hippos, will agree that hippos can be pretty fast. 

If you are wondering how fast can hippos run, you have just come across the right article. Below, we will explore those fascinating creatures, their biological characteristics, and most importantly, how fast can hippos run. 

How Fast Can Hippos Run? 

Hippos appear to be sluggish and fat, yet they move quickly and are fast. Hippos are among the world’s biggest mammals, weighing 3,500 pounds on average. In actuality, elephants are the only type of terrestrial mammal that is bigger. So, let’s answer the question of how fast can hippos run. 

Those animals can move at rates of up to 30 km/h on average. Although it’s hard to believe, a hippopotamus can run at such high speeds. Running isn’t something hippos do frequently because they spend most of their lives in the water. Nevertheless, they are still capable of moving quickly when necessary.

Hippos can only reach 30 km/h on level terrain. However, they don’t raise all four feet off the ground at once. Their movement resembles a gallop. A hippopotamus can accelerate to peak speed in a matter of seconds. Hippos are among the most violent creatures, so it would be awful to get captured by one. Male hippos can also weigh up to four tons (4,000 kg). Although they move it swiftly, that is a lot of weight.

After discussing how fast can hippos run, it’s also important to point out how long they can keep that speed. Well, the truth is that hippos don’t have a lot of endurance. They are only capable of running at 30 km/h for around 30 seconds or less. These giants are also incapable of jumping. Slopes and hills cause them to move more slowly. Running uphill and away from the lake is the best way to escape a hippo.

READ MORE:  How Fast Can Hippos Swim?

How Fast Can Hippos Run In The Water

Hippos can’t actually swim, which is surprising. Although hippos have webbed feet and are semi-aquatic creatures, their weight prevents them from swimming. These river horses, however, move underwater. So, they can not swim and have to walk in the water, but How fast can hippos run in the water? 

Underwater, hippopotamuses can move at up to 8 km/h. In the water, a hippopotamus can only hold its breath for a brief period of time. As a result, it comes to the surface to breathe every few minutes. An interesting fact about those large creatures is that they keep walking after sinking. 

As they travel into deeper water, they are forced to sink, push off the bottom, and make a small forward movement. Despite the slow speed, the little hops let them move into deeper places. They can go through the water while using this bouncing technique.

Those nocturnal animals can be seen sprinting underwater, although they mostly prefer to stand or lay down where the water is shallow. They are often seen underwater because this is their way of coping with the heat and high temperatures. 

The aquatic creatures may also fall asleep in the water thanks to a built-in reflex. When they sleep, if they run out of air, hippos softly rise to the surface to breathe and then return back down underwater.

Why Do Hippos Run?

We understand how fast can hippos run, but it is also interesting why they need to run. Due to the astonishing power and size of mature hippos, predators seldom assault them. Given that, you would wonder why these powerful creatures would be moving so quickly in the wild. When a hippo wants to flee, frighten, or attack a predator, its land speed rises and it starts running. 

A hippo that is moving at top speed is probably in danger. When a hippo feels threatened, there are a few obvious symptoms. Typically, yawning is the first indicator that an animal is displaying its huge size and tusks. If a predator or unwary person ignores the indication, a hippo might pursue them to frighten or kill them. The only times a hippo would actually run at full speed are during these protective measures.

READ MORE:  How Fast Can Hippos Swim?

Even though hippos like splashing in the water, they frequently travel on land to forage. They eat mostly short grass, leaves, bark, and various fruits. Hippopotamuses typically come to shore at night to eat. They graze for around 5 to 6 hours each day, often at night when the sun is down and the conditions are more tolerable. They may wander up to two kilometers in search of grass, sometimes needing to travel far from bodies of water (where they are most comfortable). Hippos frequently trot or canter in a manner akin to a horse when moving on land.

Africa also experiences significant environmental changes that can cause animals in certain areas to be displaced. Hippos are not exempt from this, and they frequently have to travel great distances when their water source runs dry. Hippos have been observed, in some cases, wandering up to 30 kilometers in search of rivers or drinking holes.

Why Are Hippos Among The Deadliest Animals

The list of cantankerous creatures also includes hippos. They can get angry easily if something is not happening as they want. The hippo will move everyone or everything in its path if they interfere.

They have the ability to practically split someone in two by opening their lips at a 180-degree angle. This vicious bite serves as a strong defense and prevents huge animals from turning even young hippos into meals. Hippos rarely need to bite, even though their teeth are lethal.

It isn’t much you can do when a 4000 kg object is moving at 30 km/h. How fast can hippos run is also partly why they are among the most deadly animals. Hippos yell, honk and moan to mark their territory and demonstrate their superiority. Hippos may be highly aggressive while defending their area. They scare off people and other animals before mauling and biting them to prevent their return. So it’s advisable to move aside if you see a hippo. 

Hippos VS Humans On Land

Wondering how fast can hippos run in comparison to humans? When forced, the average person has a top speed of 12 to 15 mph. This would be a 4:36 mile, which is unattainable for practically any human. But here, we’re talking about sprints. 15 mph is about as fast as an athlete can go. The majority of athletes in high school or college athletics can maintain these speeds for around 14 seconds over a 100-meter distance.

READ MORE:  How Fast Can Hippos Swim?

However, things appear a little better when compared to the quickest people in the world. The record holder for the fastest speed attained by a person is Usain Bolt. In 2009, while rushing to break the world record in the 100-meter dash, he briefly reached 27.5 mph. However, this pace only lasted a short while and wasn’t maintained during the entire run.

To sum up, it doesn’t seem plausible that a human could ever defeat a hippo in a race unless you are actually Usain Bolt competing against an exhausted animal. It’s better to climb a tree.

Hippos VS Humans In The Water

So, we discussed how fast can hippos run in comparison to humans. But what about swimming? Given that hippos are terrible swimmers, it could be more plausible. Let’s look at some statistics.

Average swimmers may reach speeds of about 3.2 km/h without any training or preparation. This isn’t enough to get away from a furious hippo, to put it simply. Let’s examine a few more.

Nationally competitive professional swimmers may swim as fast as 7.2 km/h in a pool. If the competition took place just in open water, it appears that a skilled swimmer most likely would not be able to marginally beat a hippo.

How Fast Can Hippos Run In Comparison To Other Animals?   

On an African safari, there’s always a race to see, whether it’s elephants trumpeting at Cape buffalo or cheetahs chasing Thomson’s gazelles. However, how fast can hippos run alongside the other animals living in the same environment?

The speed of a hippo in the water is less than that of a crocodile, while on land it cannot compete with a cheetah. The hippo’s top speed is still quite high, though. 

Bottom Line – How Fast Can Hippos Run

All in all, hippos are the third-largest land animals on the planet, but they can sprint faster than you. They are fiercely protective of their territory and will attack anyone who gets in their way in the water. 

The truth is that hippopotamuses are the most deadly African animals. Those interesting creatures can run at a speed of 30 km/h. This makes them one of the swiftest animals in Africa, especially among creatures of a similar size.

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