MYTH: HIPPOS ARE EXCELLENT SWIMMERS

 Image provided by wikipedia commons.

Image provided by wikipedia commons.

Contrary to popular belief, these amphibious mammals aren’t the best swimmers. In fact, they can’t swim at all.  

Myth Status: Busted

 Image provided by wikipedia commons

Image provided by wikipedia commons

Sure, it looks like these heft hippos could stand to lose a few L.B.’s, but hippos actually have a very thin subcutaneous fat layer. That means that a 10,000 pound adult hippo really is ALL HIPPO.

So how is it that the THIRD LARGEST LAND MAMMAL seemingly moves so well underwater? 

 Howard Shooter/Getty Images

Howard Shooter/Getty Images

TWO WORDS: SPECIFIC GRAVITY.  Their density is greater than the water they are in, which means they basically SINK TO THE BOTTOM and just walk around like we would on land.  

So then how do they make it to the surface in deep water? Like many people, hippos enjoy resting in cool water and can let themselves float or sink by controlling their breathing and body position. They also like to stay in shallower bodies of water where they can simply stand on their hand legs for a quick breath.