What Does a Hippo Sounds Like?

Hippos communicate by voice and body language. The majority of their communication takes place underwater, and the noise travels a long way down the river. People are more intrigued to learn what sound a hippo makes because of their ability to communicate across long distances by making raucous noises and other unusual vocalizations. Opening their jaws in impressively broad “yawns” is the most well-known technique of hippo communication. One possible reason for this behavior is because it conveys enthusiasm.

Sounds a hippo make

A hippo sounds like a hippo and nothing more. Though some people relate their ‘honking’ to deep hippo laughter. Their vocalizations are quite distinctive, and they generate a wide range of sounds though some of their noises sound a lot like dolphin sounds! Hippos create a roaring ‘chuffing’ sound in addition to grunting, growling, and moaning. They produce chuffing noises as well. The noise level in large groups can approach 115 dB! 

A variety of reasons why hippos generate noise

Hippopotamuses love to chat and communicate with other hippos. They expand their mouths wide and produce ‘yawns,’ which appear to be quite pleased at the time, but such sounds are actually a threat indicator. When a threat is detected, the male hippo honks to alert the other hippopotamuses in the group. And hippo communication usually involves honking. After mating with a female hippo, male hippos also make these wheezy honking sounds in an attempt to announce the fact that mating has occurred.

Male hippos’ mating call noises, on the other hand, serve as an auditory signal to attract female hippos. Though there are two types of mating calls: mechanical calls and vocalizations, hippopotamuses employ their own vocalization technique to produce mating noises.

Hippopotamuses are loud animals, and their “wheeze honks” may be heard across vast distances, according to researchers. Hippos use these honks to communicate with one another, and their sounds are thought to be vital in maintaining social groups. Hippos can recognize one other’s voices, according to a study published in Current Biology on Wednesday (NZ time). They also respond less aggressively to a neighbor’s call than to a stranger’s.

Once, researchers recorded a hippo “song” from one group and played it back to other groups in the reserve, as well as those from other places. The hippos would either answer vocally or by splattering a cyclone of poo all over the place, which is how they mark their territory. The researchers discovered that hippos were more likely to speak back to their pals and spray a whirlwind of poo in reaction to strangers based on these observations. When they heard the sound of a hippo who wasn’t part of their group, the hippos’ general intensity increased.

“We discovered that strangers’ vocalizations elicited a larger behavioral response than individuals from the same or a neighboring group,” Nicolas Mathevon stated in a statement released by the Science Media Centre. Mathevon is a researcher from the University of Saint-Etienne in France.

They immediately replied when they heard another hippo calling from the shore. The findings of the study provide insight into hippo communication and social groups, which could aid conservation policies and future hippo relocation.

Researchers intend to discover more about what hippos are actually communicating through their calls in future studies, as well as whether the voices reveal other traits like size, sex, or age.

Hippo sounds created while it’s underwater

Hippos have a noise-making trick under their sleeves. They’re semi-aquatic animals, which means they live on land as well as in water. Hippos walk along the riverbed’s bottom to get around (they can’t swim, contrary to common perception). They also spend the most of their time relaxing semi-submerged in shallow waters. Because of their unusual lifestyle, hippo communication takes place mostly beneath the water’s surface. It’s been estimated that up to 80% of hippo communication takes place underwater.

These underwater noises are very similar to those generated by dolphins, which are, believe it or not, a distant related of hippos. Hippos, on the other hand, may communicate both above and below the water’s surface at the same time. Their nostrils provide the noises heard above the surface. The underwater sounds reverberate through their pudgy necks and jawbones. They also listen to these sub-surface chattering with their jaws, as their ears stay in the air above. Their jaws link to their middle ear, which allows vibrations to completely bypass their outer ear!

Conversations between hippopotamuses can travel great distances, from one pod to the next in a chain. A vast groups of hippos honking at the same time, creating an amazing symphony of sounds can reach decibel levels of up to 115 (about equivalent to a full-fledged rock concert) and can be heard from a mile away range.

Hippos make three separate sounds when they’re submerged. The click is one of them. The clicking sound made by a hippo is extremely similar to the clicks used by dolphins for echolocation. The vibrations from these clicks travel through the water and reverberate in the jaw bone of a hippo. Another is a tone whine that appears to be linked to submissive conduct. The other is a pulsing croak made by young hippos when they interact with one another.

Recognizing a friend or foe

While some hippo sounds are extremely loud, others are completely inaudible to humans. Infrasound is used for some of their communication. These noises are so low that they are inaudible to humans.

Their extremely intricate vocalizations, however, may be the most fascinating aspect about them. Their loud chatter is a frequent sound in the African wilderness, and many people think it’s soothing. Hippos can distinguish between friends and foes, according to scientists studying them in an African wildlife reserve. The researchers believe the animals can recognize people by their “voices.”  This recognizing skill helps individuals maintain social bonds. 

In conclusion

Hippopotami’s enigmatic complex vocalizations have piqued people’s interest in these African creatures and what sound a hippo makes. Only a few mammals have the hippopotami’s distinctive vocalization style. Some individuals believe hippo sounds to be soothing, while others consider them to be chuffing noises.