TechHippos' hidden talent: "Flying" while running despite being unable to swim

Hippos' hidden talent: "Flying" while running despite being unable to swim

Hippopotamuses are considered to be among the most dangerous animals in the world.
Hippopotamuses are considered to be among the most dangerous animals in the world.
Images source: © Getty Images | David Casado Moreno

5 July 2024 13:13

Recent studies reveal that hippos can "fly" though they cannot swim. This term describes the situation where all a hippo's limbs are airborne while running.

Hippos cannot swim; instead, they walk along the riverbed and propel themselves off the bottom, as their mass and density make swimming impossible. The Cincinnati Zoo has presented a video showing a hippo in the water.

Moreover, hippos possess another intriguing ability. According to IFL Science, research indicates that at full running speed, these animals can lift all their limbs off the ground simultaneously, maintaining this airborne state for about 15 percent of the time.

"We show with basic video footage that hippos essentially only trot even at near-maximal speeds, and at those speeds, they do get airborne with all four feet. Which, to our knowledge, is new to science -- and cool," reads a tweet from John R. Hutchinson.

Hutchinson highlights that an ordinary video on YouTube was instrumental in this discovery. "Anyone can take a camera or internet videos and learn something about how animals move from that footage."

Studying hippos was not straightforward. They tend to remain close to water and are dangerous animals, challenging ideal observation conditions. Nevertheless, the findings are fascinating - hippos can lift off the ground for about a third of a second. They will not cover a great distance, but few would expect such large animals to move this way.

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