Do Hippos Live in Ocean? Is It a Myth or True?

Hippopotamuses are water-loving animals. Usually, they do not live in oceans. Mostly, they make their habitats near rivers. Peoples’ curious minds want to know do hippos live in the ocean. Well, it is not a common scenario that hippopotamuses are always found in the ocean. However, in west Africa hippopotamuses can be seen in the sea sometimes.

Do Hippos Live in Ocean

What type of water do hippos live in

Hippos being one of the most prolific African animals spend most of their daytime wallowing in water. Hippopotamuses make their accommodation not far from the water. They mostly live in freshwater during the daytime. They are found in rivers during sunlight hours. The types of water hippos live in are as follows:

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

Freshwater is a good choice for a hippopotamus. As the hippopotamuses are genetically predisposed as aquatic mammals, they spend almost 16 hours a day in the river. They also spend hours lying on shallow surfaces. It is a rare case that hippos are found in the sea. Hippopotami prefer fresh to saltwater and the river is the first choice of hippopotamuses and they make their habitats near any water sources to meet their hydration needs easily.

Hippo Habitat

Can hippos go in deep water

Hippopotamus underwater

Hippopotami can float to the deep water and one of the most amazing facts about this aquatic mammal is-a hippopotamus cannot swim in the deep and they simply walk underwater. They have the exceptional feature of holding their breath for at least 5 minutes under water. This property helps hippopotami to move freely underwater.

If they somehow fall into the deep, they simply propel by using their legs to move forward and this scenario happens until they get to the shallow surface. This characteristic of hippopotami has made them so fast and it is observed that they are capable of going at the speed of 8 km per hour underwater.

Can hippos drown

Some animal lovers will be amazed to know-can hippos drown. Hippopotamus, a wildlife mystery, does not drown in deep water. They usually float in the water. The ears, nostrils, and eyes are placed at the top of the head of a hippopotamus. This property helps hippopotamuses to have contact with the outside environment while floating. Besides, there are specialized membranes over the eyes of hippopotamuses.

While going underwater hippos close their ears, nostrils and also close their special membrane over the eyes. These characteristics of the hippopotamus help not to drown.

Hippopotami have the natural built-in-reflex property and due to having this exceptional feature, they are able to come to the water surface easily for breathing. While staying underwater, if a hippopotamus needs to go to the surface, it simply jumps to reach back to the surface.

Besides, the hippos are smart enough to handle the heavy bone structure and weight of the Hippos’ bodies underwater. That way, they have this amazing characteristic of not drowning although they can’t swim.


Since the salty water does not give exact pleasure to hippos and they face difficulties getting their favorite foods near the sea, the ocean is not a suitable choice for a hippopotamus to make its habitat. However, if you are still curious to know-do hippos live in the ocean, the survival strategy of hippopotami near the western sea in Africa may be a source of investigation.

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Clay Traynor

Hello, I am Clay, a Zoophilist, Researcher, and Writer. I Write interesting and unknown facts about animal life, habitat, and health.

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