How Fast Can a Hippo Run | 4 Wondrous Facts

The weight of a mature male hippopotamus is about 3300 to 4000 pounds On the contrary, a grown female is approximately 2800 to 3300 pounds. Most of us think hippos walk very slowly, running is a distant thing. Funny thing is, it’s not right at all.

Though these semi-aquatic mammals cannot spurt as fast as the horses. They can achieve about half the speed of the horses with their heavy body. You will get a crystal clear idea about the speed of the hippopotamus through this article. So, let’s start.

How fast can a hippo run

How fast can a Hippo run on land

It raises to 48 kilometers per hour at the peak agility of a hippo when it runs. But they can run 30 kilometers/ hour on average on flat ground. It actually galops while running. It doesn’t lift its four legs together, it just moves forward by galloping.

hippopotamus speed

Why do Hippo run fast?

The hippopotamus is one of the largest and most powerful terrestrial animals. Despite their large bodies, the question naturally arises as to how they gain so much speed.

In this case, millennial evolution, the tendency to be acclimated with the distinctive environment, the rate of non-compliance are responsible. Moreover, as hippos can generate so much energy, that’s why they can move their heavy body at a faster speed.

How long can a Hippo run at its top speed?

hippo running

It is true that they start to run amazingly fast when they get aggressive. But they cannot hold their stamina for a long time which is caused naturally by their extreme body mass.

They can reach the top agility within a few seconds. But they can continue it to 48 km/h for around 30 seconds or sometimes less than that. And there is another interesting piece of information that they cannot jump.

So, if a hippo will chase you sometimes if you want to trick it or want to let the speed down, you can climb on a hill or a big tree.

How fast do Hippos walk?

Hippopotamuses pass more than half of a day in water bodies. They only move to the ground at night in search of food. They can walk around 9.5 kilometers/ hour at night while searching for food.

But when they walk in the water this agility seems to be 8 kilometers/ hour approximately. Because they cannot swim. So, they have to touch the surface underwater and come back to open-air for breathing. That’s why the speed is reduced compared to the speed at land.

How fast can a Hippo walk underwater

How fast can hippotamuses swim

You may be wondering how fast a hippopotamus can move underwater. So here is the answer. They can walk almost 5 miles per hour. They have no gills for breathing but they can stay underwater for about five minutes without any affliction. That means they have to come to the surface from the water every five minutes to breathe. That’s why they jump from the bottom to up and back into the water.

You may wonder how a baby hippo moves under a reservoir. When a calf is born, it weighs between 23 and 46 Kilograms, which is equivalent to the weight of a large dog.

At first, the baby does not know how to go to the surface to breathe, Mother hippo guides the calf and brings it to the surface on its back. At first, the baby hippopotamus can’t hold its breath for long, and the time is around 40 seconds.

For the guidance and effort of the mother, it gradually acquires the ability to hold its breath for a longer period of time.

Male vs Female Hippopotamus – Who is Faster?

Male hippos are heavier than female hippos. They can gain weight up to 4000 kilograms whereas females are up to 3000 kilograms. But male hippos are more powerful and they can move faster than females. If they feel any disturbance around their territory they start to run and attack like a torpedo. So, if you are the reason for destroying their peace they can tear you within a few seconds.

Can You outrun a Hippo?

If you want to run and lose a hippopotamus, you must gain more than 48 kmph. But the analysis will disappoint people at least about running with hippos because a man may raise their speed near 9.4 Kmph on average.

On the contrary, a woman can run at 8.4 Kmph on average. If you can be the fastest human-like Usain Bolt, though you might not beat the hippopotamus by running, because hippopotamus is faster than Usain Bolt on land.

If we think about the speed of swimming (It’s not swimming for hippos though) between hippos and humans, then maybe we should be more frustrated. in swimming, Michael Phelps can’t beat these river horses at his average pace, let alone general people like us.

Let’s observe the reports. Where a skilled swimmer can swim at a speed of 3.2 Kmph, a hippopotamus can move underwater at a speed of 8 Kmph. It can be said without a doubt that hippos can lose people at speed both in the water and on the ground.

Are Hippos faster than Horses?

Hippo vs horse who is faster

The horse is also a mammal but they are domestic and not aggressive like a river horse. If we want to find out the fastest animal between a horse and a hippopotamus we can see that a horse can run at 88 kilometers/ hour which is its maximum speed. It can run around 48.2 kilometers with a rider on its back.

You have come to know that the highest speed of a hippo is 48 kilometers/ hour and they can only hold it for a short time period. Then it can be said without any doubt that horses are faster than hippos.

Why is a Hippopotamus called a river horse?

The biological name of the hippopotamus is hippopotamus amphibious. We know that hippos are also known as River horses. The original meaning of its biological name is river horse. Though it cannot run as fast as a horse can, it can move so fast compared to its body mass.

Hippo, a sub-Saharan African mammal, is fond of staying most of the time in shallow water like lakes, streams, rivers, etc. Because the water can protect their skin from the hit of the sun.

They only get up from the water at night and start to walk in search of grassy land. This semi-aquatic lifestyle also defines the name ‘River horse’ perfectly.

Baby hippo walk with mother


The short-legged river horse is a creature who seems slow but can move faster than you can imagine. Usually, they love to submerge their body underwater and stay quiet that time but when they feel any threat they become conscious and move within a few seconds.

Now you have some ideas about how fast a hippo can run and never get too close to them. Because you can guess the consequences.

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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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