How fast can a hippo run? Top running speed on land & in water

On solid ground (19 mph), they can sprint at a speed of 30 km/h. Although hippos may seem chubby and sluggish, are you curious about ‘what is the top speed of a hippo’?

The bodies of water and the areas in between are highly territorial for the animals that inhabit them. Despite being the third-largest land mammal on Earth, hippos are capable of running faster than you probably think they can.

The annual human death toll from hippo attacks, which is estimated to vary between 500 and 3000, remains unknown. Interestingly, hippos outpace all other African mammals in terms of fatalities inflicted on humans.

These moody animals aren’t like the preconceptions of happy hippos. And their roly-poly frames come with an incredible set of sharp teeth.

So without any more delay, let’s explore the impressive speed at which hippopotamuses run.

Large hippopotamus on land

How fast can a hippo sprint on land? Hippos typically reach a top speed of 30 km/h on even terrain, exhibiting a gait resembling a gallop, yet without fully lifting all four feet simultaneously.

It would certainly be unpleasant to be caught off guard by other animals and people, which usually surprises them. A hippo can reach its top speed in just a couple of seconds.

Furthermore, male hippos possess the ability to weigh up to four tons (4000 kg). This constitutes a significant quantity of weight, yet they navigate with dexterity.

What is the Speed at Which Hippos Can Swim Below the Surface?

Partly emerged hippo charging towards the boat

Are you curious about ‘how quickly can a hippopotamus swim’? Interestingly, hippos cannot actually swim.

Despite being semi-aquatic creatures with webbed feet, hippos are too cumbersome to swim.

Instead, these aquatic mammals walk beneath the water’s surface.

What is the velocity at which a hippopotamus can travel beneath the surface of the water? A hippopotamus has the ability to walk at a rate of 8 km/h underwater (5 mph).

The hippo walks and sinks more. In order to breathe, it holds its breath for a limited amount of time, a few minutes, in the water.

It’s even more astonishing to discover that hippos cannot even swim.

These nocturnal animals mostly spend their time laying or standing down in shallow water, while you can find running hippos underwater. They use this way to cool down and escape from the sun.

The water-loving creatures effortlessly descend and resurface to inhale, float upwards, and possess an innate ability to slumber underwater without awakening.

Hippos, in fact, secrete an oily substance known as “red sweat” or “blood sweat,” which acts as a natural sunscreen and antimicrobial agent.

The two pigments responsible for the rusty color and protection are hipposudoric acid and norhipposudoric acid.

What Makes Hippos Such Dangerous Creatures?

Emerged hippo with mouth wide open, with lone elephant in the background

If anyone or anything disturbs this, the hippo will take care of them. Hippos prefer things to be out of their path. Hippos are known to be cantankerous animals.

Large felines are not included in the dining options for even young hippos, which guarantees that this formidable chomp serves as a strong safeguard. An individual has the ability to fracture in two and quite literally widen their jaws to a 180-degree extent.

While the teeth of hippos are lethal, they typically do not have to resort to biting.

When 4000 kilograms travels at a speed of 30 kilometers per hour, there is not much you can accomplish.

Hippos not only defend their territory aggressively, but they also assert dominance and claim their territory through sounds like groans, roars, and honks.

Move aside if you encounter a hippopotamus in motion. They do not retreat; instead, they attack and nip to guarantee the expulsion of other creatures and individuals.

Maximum Speed of a Hippopotamus

Lioness running after a large hippo on land

Are you wondering how long a hippo can run at top speed, given that they can only run at a speed of 30 km/h for about half a minute? Hippos do not have amazing stamina.

Moreover, these colossal creatures are unable to leap. Hills and inclines significantly impede their movement.

The best way to get away from a hippo is to run uphill, away from the water. Even then – good luck!

What is the Reason for a Hippo’s Terrestrial Sprint?

Hippo running through shallow water at full speed

In their natural habitat, you might wonder why these powerful creatures are sprinting at maximum velocity. Numerous predators seldom assault grown hippos because of their remarkable power and dimensions.

A hippo’s terrestrial velocity escalates to drive off, intimidate, or assault predators.

Their diet mainly consists of different fruits, bark, leaves, and short grass. Hippos, also known as river horses, commonly walk on land for feeding and love splashing around in the water.

A hippopotamus has a substantial hunger and dedicates approximately five to six hours on land feeding each night.

Speed Comparison between Humans and Hippos on Land

How fast does a hippo run on land in comparison to humans? While humans typically have an average speed of approximately 10 to 13 km/h, hippos can reach speeds of up to 30 km/h.

Numerous sportspeople maintain a running speed of around 24 km/h. Nonetheless, it is extremely unlikely for them to surpass a hippopotamus in a contest.

What is the Comparative Running Speed of Hippos Compared to Other African Animals?

Hippo running in cloud of dust, with curious zebras watching in the background

Hippos are just one component of the untamed African “long-distance race”.

When you’re on an African safari, whether it’s Cape buffalo trumpeting, elephants blowing their trumpets, or cheetahs chasing down Thomson’s gazelles, there’s always the enjoyment of racing another.

The speed of a hippo on land is still quite astounding. It is not a match for a cheetah, and a crocodile is slower than a hippo in water.

The hippopotamus is one of the swiftest creatures in Africa, especially among animals of a comparable magnitude.

How fast do hippos run compared to other animals in the wild? Can you provide more information about some of the animals?

  • What is the top speed at which elephants can run?
  • What is the maximum speed at which ostriches can run?
  • What is the speed at which rhinos can run?
  • What is the maximum speed at which crocodiles can run?
  • What is the speed at which lions can run?
  • What is the speed at which giraffes can run?
  • What is the top speed at which leopards can run?
  • What is the speed at which zebras can run?
  • What is the top speed at which cheetahs can run?
  • What is the speed at which buffalos can run?
  • What is the speed at which hyenas can run?
  • What is the top speed at which warthogs can run?
  • What is the speed at which gorillas can run?
  • Appreciate the Impressive Velocity of the Hippopotamus on a Safari

    Hippo pod in the Luangwa river, with group of youngsters standing on a sandy bank

    Hippos are formidable animals that delight in spending their time at rivers and lakes, immersing themselves in the shallow waters.

    With their fast running speed, strength, aggression, and size, it’s easy to see why not many animals target hippos in the wild.

    Observing these impressive creatures in their native environment is undoubtedly one of the most effective methods to witness their magnificence, and there are numerous fascinating facts to discover about hippos.

    Therefore, reserve a safari in Africa to admire the powerful hippopotamus and other astonishing species of wildlife.