Where Do Hippos Live


If you’re studying hippos, then you probably found yourself asking, “Where do hippos live?”  The hippo is native to Africa, and you’ll find them in eastern and western Africa, depending on which of the two species you’re wondering about.  The large hippo is typically found in the eastern part of the continent, while the pygmy hippo can be found in the western part. 


The hippo is the third largest land mammal, so this plays an important role in the question, “Where do hippos live?”  They require a lot of space, and some peoples in Africa have even taken to thinning out the hippo schools because of how many of the animals are appearing there. 


Hippos usually live in groups, and a group is known as a school.  There can be anywhere from 20 up to 100 hippos in one school.  Each group occupies its own territory, and in the center of that territory is an area where the female and baby hippos live.  The adult males each have their own areas within the territory.  Usually the hippo group’s territory is set up with the center on a sandbar along the bank of a river or shore of a lake.  The males use special paths to get to the place where the females and babies live. 


Unlike many other species of creatures, the female hippos are actually in charge of the group.  Male hippos leave the inner circle when they become adults, taking up residence outside the circle of males that live in areas around the inner circle.  Each male fights his way for rights to move to the circle of males that’s directly around the females in the center.


Hippos love water, so you will usually see them near some body of water.  Hippos exist in large numbers along the banks of many rivers in Africa, and some also live near lakes.  They are excellent swimmers, although sometimes they just like to take a stroll on the bottom of a lake.  Their large size allows them to walk across some smaller lakes while keeping their head above water the whole way.  Some hippos even spend time completely submerged in water except for their nostrils and the tops of their heads.  Hippos can also stay under water for up to six minutes by closing their nostrils and ears.


Water also plays an important part in the breeding and birth of hippos.  Baby hippos can be born in the water or on the land, but mothers do teach their babies to swim after they are a bit older.  Mothers also use their habitats to protect their young from predators like crocodiles and lions and even older male hippos.    


Hippos are largely herbivores, which means they eat grass and other plants.  This means that their habitat must also include plenty of plant life for easy consumption.  Hippos can even climb very well, so they sometimes climb up very steep hills to find a grassy area to munch on.   Hippos usually spend about four or five hours at night eating and making the rounds of a grassy area while they feed.