Sounds & Calls

Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius)

Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius)

The Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) [often referred to a simply ‘hippo’] is large semiaquatic mammal found in sub-Saharan Africa. 

What does a hippo sound like? Hippopotamus are noisy creatures and can make a wonderful range of rubbery grunts, groans, squeals, trumpeting bellows and wheezy breathing sounds. Hippo calls can be very loud, their sounds have been measured at 115 decibels and can be heard from several kilometres away. Hippos often call in response to one another, especially at night when they leave the water to graze. These calls apparently help identify themselves to other hippopotamus and, according to one study, hippos are able to tell from the sounds the difference between their own pod members and strangers.

Listen to some examples of hippo calls and other sounds below.

Listen to Hippo Sounds

The audio in the video below features a range of hippo sounds including the typical rubbery grunts, explosive snorts and some more delicate breathing sounds from hippos closer to the microphones. Recorded in Kafue National Park, Zambia.