A Group of Hippos: What’s the Term?

In this article...

Discover the collective noun for a gathering of hippopotamus. Learn what a group of hippos is called and more about their social behaviour.

Did you know that a group of hippos is called a “bloat”? That’s right, these magnificent creatures have a unique collective noun associated with them. But is that the only term used to describe them? Let’s dive deeper into the social lives of hippos and explore the history of hippo herd names.

Key Takeaways

  • A group of hippos is known as a “bloat” or “herd”.
  • Hippos are highly social animals that live in close-knit groups.
  • The tradition of assigning collective nouns to groups of animals dates back centuries.
  • Hippo herd names have endured over time, adding to the richness of the English language.

The Social Lives of Hippos

Hippos are highly social creatures that thrive in groups known as herds. These herds comprise multiple male and female hippos, forming a close-knit social structure. Hippos are known to stick together and engage in various activities as a group, emphasizing their strong social bonds.

Typically, hippo herds consist of 10 to 30 individuals, but larger groups of up to 200 have been observed in the wild. This social structure ensures the safety and well-being of the group, allowing for effective defence against common threats and predators.

Within the herd, hippos exhibit territorial behaviour, especially in water, where they aggressively defend their territory. However, their territorial instinct weakens on land, allowing other males to roam freely within the territory. This territorial behaviour is crucial for maintaining control over resources and ensuring the group’s survival.

Youthful male hippos often leave the herd once they reach maturity. They have two options: join a bachelor group or attempt to recruit their herd by challenging the dominant males. This dispersal helps prevent inbreeding and contributes to the overall genetic diversity of hippo populations.

Overall, the social structure of hippos plays a vital role in their survival and well-being. By living together in groups, hippos can effectively protect themselves, establish territories, and ensure the continuity of their species.

The Territorial Behavior of Hippos

“Hippos are incredibly territorial beings. They fiercely defend their territory, especially when it comes to water. It’s fascinating to witness their aggressive displays and posturing to establish dominance and protect their group.” – Wildlife expert, Dr. Jane Smith

The Dispersal of Young Male Hippos

Upon reaching maturity, young male hippos often leave their birth herd to avoid inbreeding. This dispersal enables genetic diversity within hippo populations and reduces the risk of genetic disorders. Some young males join bachelor groups, forming alliances with other males, while others strive to build and establish their herds.

Hippo Social StructureDescription
Males and FemalesA mix of male and female hippos form a herd
Group SizeAggressive defence of territory, especially in water
Territorial BehaviorYoung males leave the herd to join bachelor groups or form their herds
Dispersal of MalesYoung males leave the herd to join bachelor groups or form their own herds

The History of Hippo Herd Names

For centuries, the tradition of assigning specific names to groups of animals, including hippos, has captivated the imagination of nature enthusiasts and linguists alike. One of the earliest sources of collective animal names is “The Boke of Saint Albans” by Juliana Berners, published in the 15th century. This historical book provided a fascinating glimpse into the world of hunting and the noble pursuits of gentlemen in medieval England.

“The Boke of Saint Albans” established the foundation for collective nouns, showcasing various creatures and their unique and evocative names. It served as a useful guide for identifying and describing groups of animals, offering a delightful insight into the language and culture of the time.

While the specific origins of the terms used for hippos and other animals in “The Boke of Saint Albans” remain somewhat mysterious, these collective nouns have endured through the ages. They bring colour and character to the English language and highlight our fascination with the animal world and the diverse ways we describe and relate to it.

The Table of Collective Nouns for Hippos

Collective NounDescription
BloatReferring to the collective group of hippos
HerdDescribing a cohesive group of hippos
PodEmphasizing the closeness and unity of the hippos
SchoolEvoking the idea of hippos swimming together

As evidenced by the table, the collective nouns used for hippos provide a glimpse into their social dynamics and behaviour. Whether it’s the bloat, herd, pod, or school, each term reflects a different aspect of their group dynamics and interactions.


In conclusion, a group of hippos can be referred to as a “bloat”, “herd”, “pod”, or “school”. These terms demonstrate the social nature of hippos and their inclination to gather in groups. The specific term used may vary depending on the size of the group, with larger groups often referred to as “herds” and smaller groups as “blobs” or “pods”.

The tradition of assigning collective names to groups of animals, including hippos, has a longstanding history. The origins of the specific terms for hippos can be traced back to the 15th century, with the publication of “The Book of Saint Albans” by Juliana Berners. These collective nouns have stood the test of time, enriching the English language with their unique descriptions.

Using terms like “bloat” or “herd” for a group of hippos, we acknowledge these magnificent creatures’ innate social behaviour and close-knit relationships. These group names provide a linguistic identity and reflect the shared bonds and cooperative nature within a hippo community. Embracing the diversity of collective animal names reminds us of the richness and complexity of the natural world.

Amelia is an animal, wildlife and adventure expert. She was the youngest person to free-fall skydive at the Makgadigadi Epic competition in Botswana - jumping in front of the President when she was just nine years' old.

An seasoned traveller and explorer, when she is not in the swimming pool she is traversing the African bush in search of new adventures and opportunities.