How To Deal With a Hippo Encounter

Hippos are peaceful and float in the water.Their size, speed, and powerful jaws make them a formidable threat when they feel threatened.One of the most important attitudes to have is respect for their personal space.Hippo country can be safely negotiated if you avoid their territory in the water and where to avoid them on land.

Step 1: Hippos are not a good choice to steer clear of.

Hippos are territorial and aggressive when threatened.Give them a wide berth when you see them in the water.You should not attempt to travel down waterways that are crowded with hippos.

Step 2: Hippos can be found in shallow water.

Hippos prefer to stick to areas where the water is deep enough for them to fully submerge.If a Hippo is forced to live in shallow water due to a conflict with other Hippos, it will feel vulnerable.Consider the Hippos to be the most dangerous in the water, and give them a bigger spot.During the day, a Hippo will keep as much of its body underwater as possible to prevent overheating.Only the top of its head and back will break the surface.

Step 3: You should alert them to your presence.

Humans are not considered as prey by Hippos.When startled, they become aggressive.Don’t try to slip by them.You should announce your presence when you see a Hippo.You can hit the water’s surface with a paddle or beat the side of the boat with your hand.When you see a Hippo underwater, slap your boat or the water.Track the sound of your progress so it knows where to stay.It will stay underwater for six minutes.Since crocodiles occupy the same waterways as Hippos, use a paddle or similar long object to strike the water.

Step 4: A retreat.

If a Hippo opens its mouth as you approach, reverse course.The Hippo is scaring you off with its teeth.Put as much distance between you as you can between the two of you.The distance that it has to cover in order to reach you is very short.The issue is territory if the worst happens and the Hippo strikes your boat.The area should lose interest in you if you leave it in any direction except for where you first saw the Hippo.

Step 5: Stick to the open areas.

You should be able to see any hippos in the area long before you can reach it.The Hippos can spot you from a safe distance.Hippos will show little interest in you if you are keeping a respectful distance.Don’t go near dense vegetation along the edge of waterways.Hippos that have lost territorial disputes may congregate here if space within the waterway is limited.They will be much quicker to attack if they feel vulnerable.

Step 6: You can stay on the inland side of the Hippos.

Know the direction of the nearest body of water.Allow a clear path to the water when you see a Hippo on land.Even if you don’t pose a threat to the hippo, you should be aware that some other factor may startle it at any time.It will flee for the safety of the water.Keep out of its way.If you see a Hippo running for water, run to either side.If you run for the water, the Hippo may outrun you or see you as a threat.

Step 7: If you see dung signs, keep your eyes open.

Hippos use their feces to mark their paths.At night, expect these paths to be traveled continuously.Hippos use their tails to spread their poop around, so look for dung that has been sprayed over a wide area.Hippos are nocturnal and will use the path at night, so don’t strike camp near a dung trail.If you are forced to camp near one, do not start a fire or use any other lights, since these will spark their interest.

Step 8: Run for cover.

Hippos can reach speeds of 30 miles per hour.Do not try to run faster than the Hippo.Seek cover immediately.If no buildings or vehicles are visible, use natural cover and obstacles to slow the hippo down.Remember that if a Hippo charges you, it’s because you intruded on its territory.It should stop chasing you once you have gained enough distance.

Step 9: Hippos are in the mating season.

The males are particularly dangerous at this time of the year.They will be aggressive due to the fierce competition for mates.Hippos usually mate at the start of the rainy season, but may also do so at other times.It is a contest for breeding rights to a female if males fight each other to the death.The rainy season in West Africa lasts from June to September.Between October and April, South Africa experiences theirs.There are two rainy seasons per year in East Africa, one lasting from March to May and the other from October to December.

Step 10: It is a good idea to avoid boating in the dry season.

Hippos will act even more territorial as waterways shrink.Hippos crowding toward the middle of the waterway will keep them submerged.It’s a danger to have less and less maneuvering room for yourself.It is likely that their food sources have dried up at this time of the year, which will further agitate them.The more dangerous Hippos will be in the later part of the dry season.The dry season in West Africa lasts from November to April.Southern Africa has a dry season from November to March.There are two dry seasons in East Africa, one lasting from December to February and the other from June to September.

Step 11: Expect them to land at night.

Hippos are nocturnal.Expect to see them resting in the water during the day.Hippos leave the water at night to look for food.The risk of startling them in the dark is minimized.You have a better chance of spotting each other from a distance if you stick to open areas.Travelers should travel slowly to avoid stumbling upon them.Hippos can travel as far as 5 km from their waterways in the search for food.Smaller bodies of water may be where they resettle.

Step 12: Leave the calves alone.

No matter how tempting it may be, you should never interact with a young Hippo.Mother Hippos are very protective of their young and will come to their defense if they feel threatened.A fully grown Hippo is roughly 5 feet tall.Since calves will remain with their mother until they are fully grown, consider anything shorter than that.If you only see the calf, the mother isn’t far away.