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Can Hippos Breathe Underwater?

Hippos are large herbivorous mammals that live in Africa. They spend much of their lives underwater, up to 16 hours a day. Africa has a very hot climate so they do this to stay cool during the day. In fact, they usually only come out of the water at night to feed along the shores. Being that they spend so much time under the water you may be wondering, can hippos breath underwater?

We’ll answer that question along with some others related to hippos and their relationship with water and their environments.

Can hippos breathe underwater?

Hippos, or Hippopotamus’, are mammals and like all other mammals must breath oxygen to live. So the answer is no, hippos cannot breath underwater. They are able to hold their breath for up to 5 minutes, then rise to the water’s surface and take a quick breath. Baby hippos can only hold their breathe for less than a minute.

They can even sleep underwater due to a reflex they have that tells them to automatically bob up to the surface and take a quick breath.

How fast can hippos swim?

A common misconception about hippos is that that are good swimmers. The truth is that hippos don’t actually swim at all, they simply run along the bottom and kind of glide. With this in mind, they are said to be able to run along the bottom underwater at a speed of about 5 mph.

Do hippos live in saltwater or freshwater?

In general, hippos live in freshwater  such as lakes, rivers and their tributaries.. They have occasionally been spotted at beaches and in oceans  Hippos are often found in estuaries where salt water and fresh water mix but that is about the extent of it.

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