Although they spend 16 hours a day in water, hippos can’t swim because they are too muscular and sink. Instead they just run around under the surface.

Hippos Can’t Swim—So How Do They Move Through Water?

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“Depending on water level they walk or they swim,” said Dagmar Andres-Bruemmer of the Frankfurt Zoological Society. Except the swimming isn’t really swimming per se, she said. Rather, it’s a kind of gallop.

“For all intents and purposes the hippo does not swim,” said Douglas McCauley, an assistant professor in the department of ecology, evolution, and marine biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “It almost always maintains some contact with the bottom and walks or bounces off the bottom using these bottom contact points as a source of propulsion.”

This is remarkable for a few reasons. Recall how fast the hippo in the YouTube video seemed to be traveling while submerged. These animals can weigh as m… Continue Reading