Hippopotamus are social animals and live in groups. The group generally has 10 to 30 members. But occasionally, groups of 200 are seen in the wild.
What is a group of hippos called? It is termed as a “bloat”. There are other names also such as herd, pod, and school.
What Is a Group of Hippos Called?
Generally, it is called a “bloat”. But the congregation of 10 to 15 individuals is called “herds” or “pods”. Sometimes it is termed a “school” with a community of up to 40 individuals.
Social Structure of Hippopotamus
Unlike many animals, hippopotami live in groups. These groups consist of several males and females. They stay close and tend to do everything together.
Hippopotamuses are territorial creatures in the water. The groups take a long bath in the water holes for long hours together. A male hippo is dominant in each herd. He is the one in control.
However, some other males stay in the bloat that the dominant one allows. They also mate with the females at times. These bloats are not as territorial on land as in the water.
Generally, when the young male hippos are mature, the prime male kicks them out of the herd. They then go and have to find their bloats. They attract females or go and challenge other prime males. But it is quite rare to see the young ones win in the fights.
Because the dominant ones are very aggressive, it is also quite rare for them to murder one another. It is more common among them to join a bachelor group of hippos and then try and attract a separate herd.
It is, however, seen in the males to commit infanticide. They kill the babies of other males to show dominance over them. This also allows them to mate more successfully. Because with the baby gone, the mother has nothing else to look after now.
The History Behind the Naming of Hippo Herds
In the earlier days, men had to hunt for a living. They knew about a lot of animals and their behavior. They had to know their collective nouns also.
Because in the wild, it is a life or death situation. If a man doesn’t know the name for “a group of hippos”, he can’t warn his fellow hunters about the impending danger.
So they had to keep all sorts of knowledge. But surprisingly, these collective nouns were scribbled and put inside a book for the first time by a woman.
Her name is Juliana Berners. She was an English prioress during the 15th century. Her book “The Book Of Saint Albans” is the oldest record for collective animal names.
But the story doesn’t end here because language is constantly changing. So are the collective names of the animals. There are animal tags that are still the same as centuries ago. Again there are animal herds named in relatively modern times.
Berners took the nouns from different sources for her compilation which are not clear till today. Some are even lost forever.
The book was rather intended to be a guide for the gentlemen of her time. But today, it is a satirical book for children.
Many people find the names funny such as “a dazzle of Zebras”, “a doctrine of doctors”, “a disguise of tailors”, etc. However, many of the names from the book, such as “a bloat of hippos”, “a pride of lions”, “a swarm of bees”, etc, are used in English grammar till today.
What do you call a group of hippos? It is called a bloat. Sometimes it is even named a school, a herd, or a pod. It depends on how big the group is. The collective names of the animal have been used in the English language for a long time.
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