Hippopotamus Habitat

Natural Habitat of Hippopotamus

You will find a group of Hippos living in lakes and rivers, sometimes in very small groups with only five members. However, they can be as large as thirty members. It really depends on if there’s enough room for their needs to be met. Hippos like to live in shallow bodies of water. When they have young, the mothers will often carry them on their backs so that they aren’t so far below the surface of the water to get to air.

There are two species of Hippos and they prefer different types of habitat.

habitat of hippopotamus

Common Hippo Habitat

The Common Hippos are the more aggressive type of Hippo and the ones that are often known to be eating the crops that villagers have planted for their own needs.

They are found living in clean bodies of water that don’t move very fast. They do like it deep enough for their bodies, but not too deep. They also prefer a bottom that is easy for them to move around in. If there are many rocks it can be something that slows down the Hippos and even injures them as they move around.

Where to find Common Hippos?

The territorial range of hippos has changed over the years. They were distributed throughout the vast majority of the African continent, mainly in the sub-Saharan part, but today the picture looks very different.

Now their populations are distributed throughout several parts of Africa but in a very fragmented way. The most important concentration of specimens is located in Eastern Africa, in countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, and Zambia. Here, there is an estimated population of 70,000 hippos in the wild.

They also exist in several regions of western Africa, but the population groups are much smaller. The largest declines have been recorded in the People’s Republic of the Congo, however, it still preserves 30,000 of them.

Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, Niger, Somalia, Tanzania, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Togo are some of the nations where hippos are found. According to population counts, there are no more than 40 individuals in the Gambia or more than 200 in Sierra Leone. There is no presence in Mauritania or Liberia.

These semi-aquatic mammals are distributed in lakes, rivers, and swamps that make up the African savanna. The waters where they stay are not very deep but enough to cover their entire body and keep their nostrils on the surface to breathe and monitor their surroundings.

hippopotamus habitat

Its landscape is made up of large territories with low vegetation and some types of trees. In some areas, the surface of the water is covered by types of flora such as water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) that appear to be land, but in reality, it is muddy soil with great diversity of fauna inside. Among them crocodiles and of course, hippos. The bushes and grasslands are also part of their habitat.

Hippos in National Parks

Some hippos are located within national parks of Africa, such as the Murchison Falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park, both in Uganda; Kafue National Park in Zambia, Kruger National Park in South Africa, Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, Nairobi National Park, Kenya and Chobe National Park in Botswana.

 Are there Hippos in America?

Four hippos arrived in American soils when Colombian drug trafficker Pablo Escobar in the late 1980s imported them. Subsequently, in 2007 they multiplied to 16 and today there are 14 of them distributed along the Magdalena River, Colombia.

These residents of America have raised some cases of attacks on humans and livestock, according to the testimony of some native residentes.

Pygmy Hippo Habitat

The habitat for the Pygmy Hippos is different as they like to live in the swamplands. They like shallow or deeper. They are smaller in weight so that could be part of the reason why such factors aren’t a burden to their movements.

The number of Pygmy Hippos living in the wild today is extremely small. They continue to have their surroundings invaded by villagers that want to plant crops or that need more living space due to their growing populations. Today you will find them only in the forest area of the Western part of Africa.

Where to find Pygmy Hippos?

The pygmy hippo is endemic to West Africa, which includes Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the latter being the nation with the largest number of individuals. Their populations are known only in these four countries mentioned. Its distribution has never been very wide compared to its common relative, but the number of inhabitants per region has declined alarmingly. They are found mostly in swamps, stream banks, and forest areas.

The subspecies Choeropsis liberiensis heslopi existed in Nigeria. Deep studies were never obtained on its life cycle or on the reasons for its disappearance, but it is known that a few specimens were part of the fauna of that place years ago.

Pygmy hippos in National Parks

Some national parks with the presence of pygmy hippos are Sapo National Park in Liberia, Taï National Park in Ivory Coast and the Gola National Park (Gola Rainforest National Park) located in Sierra Leone.

hippo habitat - hippos biome

Importance of the Hippos to the Habitats

Even if you don’t seem to really care about Hippos, you need to be aware of what they contribute to their ecosystem. Without them being part of the habitat out there, imbalance and chaos would result. This could lead to future population problems for many other species – for some, it can even mean future extinction. Preserving the natural habitat of the Hippo should be a concern for everyone. The rippling effect can adversely affect everyone and every species.

Hippopotamus habitat in captivity

You will find that many Hippos live in captivity. Yet very seldom are they taken from the wild anymore for this purpose. Instead, those that are born into captivity are often going to spend their entire life that way. Hippos do very well in captivity and the zoos have too Pygmy Hippos to help keep their numbers up.

Many experts would love to experiment with the idea of introducing some of the young Hippos that are in captivity back into the wild. Yet what has been observed out there is that the remaining Pygmy’s are fighting for enough living space in the water and enough food on land as it is. Adding more of them at this point in time isn’t a realistic solution to consider.

what biome do hippos live in

Hippos Habitat and Hippo preservation

The fact that we have only begun to really understand all that takes place in a Hippo habitat is part of that equation as well. Until we know the entire process inside and out we won’t be able to come up with some good plans to increase the number of Hippos in the wild. However, right now we do need to focus some attention on making sure the current numbers don’t continue to plunge.