Are Hippos Nocturnal?


Are Hippos Nocturnal? No, But Why?


Hippos are not to consider both nocturnal or diurnal. In fact, they are considered crepuscular animals due to their active behavior during dawn and dusk time. They spent most of the day in muddy water and came out from it at dusk time for grazing.

If the answer is enough for you, you can skip the article, but below, we are going to discuss whether hippos are nocturnal, diurnal, or crepuscular with the help of some arguments.

With these arguments, we will also talk about some amazing facts about hippos that will amaze you. Let’s go.

1.  Body And Habitat Adaptations

Hippos are neither most active at night nor during the day. Due to their body adaptations and habitat attributions, they have to avoid sunlight to maintain their body temperature.

Hippos live in the savannahs of Africa, which is a habitat with less shady areas. As hippos own thick layers of 6 cm, they feel so uncomfortable when their body temperature increases.

Staying active at dawn and dusk time provides them a sense of comfort from creepy sun rays and helps them maintain their inner body temperature.

2.  To Prevent Predators

The fact now is that all the known predators of these shy, majestic creatures are also crepuscular. Staying active at the same time as their predator’s hunt allows them to keep predators away.

Further, the hearing and smelling senses of these creatures work effectively due to fewer focus-scattering factors. This way, they hint at their predators and make themselves ready for any possible attack.

Another thing is that this works, and most predators avoid getting in a fight with this brown, fat, solid creature.

3.  Most Food (Less Competition)

At both times, most herbivores are not active, which means they can graze fresh grass without any disturbance. The creatures with a weight of almost 3200 KG need to eat almost 36 KG grass, regularly.

For it, this time suits them. The fun fact is that there is a scientific reason behind it. At night times, plants release more nutrients that fulfill hippo food needs within less time. So, hippos eat less and get more energy.

4.  Social Set-Up

Hippos are social creatures and live with almost a family group that includes 12 to 20 members. The dominant male leads the group.

Living in such a social environment enables group mothers to train their calves against all possible life conditions. Further, they also play with one another and give each other beautiful memories.

5.  Human Activities

Due to human activities in the daytime, these creatures may also avoid wandering in the daytime. It is because humans are also one of the biggest threats to them.

These creatures are also gentle giants and get aggressive when they feel threatened in any condition. This seems from their behaviors that they always try to stay hidden.

Are Pygmy Hippos Nocturnal?

The question does not seem too complex. Pygmy hippos are also crepuscular and spend life according to the same common hippo behavior.

Can They See Well At Night?

Yes, during their activity at night, they need good vision to survive in the forest, and their eyes can see well at night.

Large pupils allow them to gain more light, and the reflective layer behind their eyeballs allows them to amplify this light. All the processes allow them to see effectively during night activity. 

All That Is Right But How Hippos Sleep Underwater? Is It Possible?

Hippos cannot hold their breath for more than 5 minutes in the water. For it, they need air to breathe, but they sleep underwater. Is it, not an odd thing?

Yes, it’s odd. These creatures have small sleeping intervals of 30 minutes, but this is not the answer.

The logic behind their sleep underwater is a process known as “bobbing.” It means that make an involuntary reflex or movement the upside from beneath the water.

As their head contains all the necessary adaptations for breathing, their head comes out of the water; they take a breath and go back down without disturbing their sleep. This is an involuntary reflex that occurs without any use of the mind.

It is approved by research that both areas of their mind remain normal and do not come in use during sleep time. So, this was the logic behind their underwater sleeping pattern.

Amazing Facts About Hippos

  1. Hippos share the same ancestors as dolphins and whales (cetaceans).
  2. Adult hippos cannot swim, while babies can. So, they remain in such areas of water where their feet touch beneath the area.
  3. Their group also contains non-breeding young females.
  4. Rather than this, they are herbivores; they eat meat occasionally.
  5. They excrete red-colored fluid from their body in the daytime. It works as sunblock and allows them to avoid sun UI rays.
  6. Hippos can identify their enemies and friends by sniffing the smell of their poop.
  7. They are bulky, but they can run faster than a human, but this lasts for short intervals.
  8. Their teeth are enough to rip off a crocodile’s hard skin.
  9. Hippos like chocolate and have a craze for it.
  10. Hippos can open their mouth at 180 degrees.
  11. Their upper lip is soft, which allows them to eat grass easily.
  12. Their weight can reach more than 3 tons.
  13. The last fact is that they are threatened species. According to the ICUN report, just 115,000 to 120000 individuals are remaining.


They cannot spend their daytime in open areas, which pushes them to stay all day in the water. So, they sleep in the water in the daytime and leave the water at dusk. Then, they spend their time grazing and also try to protect themselves from their possible predators like hyenas, lions, and crocodiles.

These all may be causes why this creature with a big mouth stays active during dusk and dawn time and is not nocturnal.



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