Hippopotamus Meaning and Symbolism
Jan 19
Discover Hippopotamus Symbolism

Hippopotamus Meaning and Symbolism

Overview of the Hippopotamus Spirit Animal


Hippopotamus symbolism is represents a spirit animal that is known for its artistic energy, creativity and physical care.  This semi aquatic creature is best known for living along river banks and swamps of Africa.  It’s large silhouette, stocky legs and mighty tusks are unmistakable and quite familiar to most people.  However as a spirit animal there’s more to these giant creatures than meets the eye.  The hippo totem harbors a connection to care for our physical bodies and encourages to take care of ourselves.  People with this spirit animal are known their creative and artistic side as well as shamelessly treating themselves like royalty.

Hippopotamus Symbolism

Embrace Your Spirit Animal


Encounters with the Hippo

What is the meaning of hippopotamus symbolism? Find out what symbol the hippo spirit animal is trying to teach you, and gain some insight into your life.

Do you have a creative block?

Hippopotamus symbolism will appear to you during times of creative block.  Especially when you are working on a project for school or work.  Just like how in the wild hippos clear paths through marshlands the hippo totem can help clear away the energy that is blocking your creativity.  You can call on your spirit animal for help especially in creative pursuits.

Are you need of an artistic influence?

Life can become mundane and dull to hippo totem people when they aren’t surrounded by art.  When your life starts to feel dull allow the hippo to guide you and open your eyes to artistic influences around you.  Perhaps it’s a splash of color, a three dimensional art piece or simply finding art in your daily routine.  Allow the hippo totem to provide you with artistic insight.

Do you need to practice self care?

Self care is important to our physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.  When hippopotamus symbolism appears to you it is a sign that you need to take the time to care for yourself.  This does not mean cheating on your diet or allowing yourself to fall back onto unhealthy vices.  Self care means making choices that will benefit your mind, soul and body.  It can be as simple as allowing yourself to go to bed early or spend money on healthy food.  Or pampering yourself with a spa day or allowing yourself extra time to meditate or practice yoga.  Self care is unique to you and your own needs – listen to your energy and allow it to show you what you need.

Do you need to connect with your emotional side?

We learn from the hippo totem the importance of connecting with our emotions.  Hippos spend the majority of their days in water or near water and are reliant of it for survival.  Likewise hippo totem people must learn to connect to the emotional element of water to embrace their emotional side.  This connection will help them find balance and wholeness in their spirit.

Do you need to trust yourself?

The hippo totem teaches us to embrace our intuition and trust ourselves.  When you are struggling to find your way or make a decision the hippo totem will appear to you to provide you with guidance.  You only need to listen and trust your inner voice as it speaks to you.

Hippopotamus Symbolism: The Hippo Spirit

Could the Hippo be my spirit animal? What are the traits of the totem? This might be your spirit animal if you are:


In the wild hippos live in groups that are made up of a flexible hierarchy.  These giant creatures only fight during mating season, when their territory is encroached upon, or when they are being threatened.  Outside of those circumstances they prefer to live peacefully and would rather retreat to the water than fight.  People with this spirit animal tend to live similarly and in peace.  Not wanting to fight when it can be avoided.


Something that comes as a surprise to many people is the connection between artisticness and hippopotamus symbolism.  People with this spirit animal tend to be extremely creative and artistic.  They can easily find the beauty in the world around them and even find it in unexpected places.  They find joy and life in self expression and sharing the beauty they find and create with others.

What is Hippo Meaning?
Learn About: Hippo Symbolism

Self Loving

When looking at hippo meaning it’s important to consider self care.  This spirit animal teaches us to take time to invest in ourselves and give our physical, emotional and spiritual bodies the love they need.  This ability to care and love themselves for who they are is true gift.  For each hippo totem person this means different things.  They will find their own unique and special ways to care for themselves that are life giving and meaningful.


You can’t look at hippo meaning without discovering that it is synonymous for being brave.  In the wild hippos are known for charging boats, trucks, people or anything that might threaten them.  Someone with this spirit animal has the ability to harness this bravery and stand their ground no matter what the odds might be.

What are the Traits of the Hippo Totem?

Lessons from the Hippo Spirit Animal

Hippos are:

  • Brave
  • Artistic
  • Bold
  • Emotional
Define: Hippo Meaning

Through hippopotamus symbolism we learn how to be brave and bold with our artistic expression.  As we begin to express and share our art with others it is important for hippo totem people to stand by their creative expression and not let others discredit their style or ability.  You must boldly protect your art.

Because of its dependence on water we learn a very important lesson when we look at hippo meaning.  That lesson is the value of emotion and being connected with our emotional side.  When you are in need of emotional guidance and help the hippo totem can help you find your alignment.  And will bring healing and freedom to your emotional self.

What does the hippo spirit mean? Creativity and emotion! Hippo totem people are incredibly artistic and in touch with their emotional side.

Strengths & Weaknesses of the Hippo

What is Hippopotamus Symbolism?


Thick Skin

Aside from their tusks the hippo’s don’t have much in way of defense.  Fortunately, they do have one natural defense – their thick skin!  Because of it they are able to endure brawls and attacks from predators.  Likewise hippo totem people have the ability to stand up to attacks and criticism.  People with this spirit animal are tough when it comes to dealing with what would be harmful words and attacks.

Creative Balance

Hippos are made for a semi aquatic life and have the ability to hold their breath underwater for up to 5 minutes before coming up for air.  Hippo totem people have a unique ability among artists.  And that ability is balance!  People with this spirit animal are able to devote themselves to their artisits expressions while coming up consistently to the real world.  They are able to balance their passion and their self care well.


Anyone with this totem will be able to speak from experience that others find them trustworthy.  Which should not come as a surprise since one of this totems traits is trust.  Hippo symbolism teaches us to trust ourselves, trust our emotions and trust our instinct.  Because hippo totem people live honestly with their emotions this translates into them being considered trustworthy.  Because of this their influence within groups is considerable!


An odd fact about wild hippos is that they are not very susceptible to disease.  As a hippo totem person you will find that this spirit animal helps you maintain good health.  When you consider how it values self care which includes a healthy diet, adequate sleep, and plenty of self care it’s no wonder!  People with this spirit animal will have extra help keeping healthy.



In the wild hippos can be expected to retreat to the water when they are in real danger.  Likewise hippo totem people we often make the same retreat when they are being threatened.  When things aren’t going their way and they come under attack they will retreat to whatever makes them feel safe and familiar.  Unfortunately this can mean negative vices or habits or unhealthy relationships.


When a hippo totem person is unbalanced it is easy for them to fall into the role of the bully.  It can be at work, in a friendship or even in their relationship.  When they start using their weight and voice to push others around and get what they want it’s not pretty!  In the wild hippos will roar when charging opponents.  Likewise when someone with this spirit animal begins making a lot of noise look out!


Another weakness of an unbalanced hippo spirit animal person is that they can become unmotivated, lazy, moody and lethargic.  Suddenly they lose interest in their hobbies or creative pursuits and lack the energy to do anything about it.  When this starts to happen something is terribly wrong.  The hippo totem person needs to spend time in meditation to be sure that they are not holding back or avoiding dealing with their emotional self.


For centuries people believed that hippos would sweat blood.  This is because their skin naturally secretes a red substance that helps protect their skin for the sun while keeping in moisturized.  Similarly people with this totem animal will often be misunderstood.  Especially when it comes to their self care habits and rituals.  Don’t be surprised when people begin labeling you or talking negatively about your routines.  It is simply because you are being misunderstood.

Learn about: Hippo Meaning
What is Hippo Meaning?

The Hippopotamus in Dreams: What it Means

Hippo symbolism in dreams is a call to reconnect with your emotional energy and realign anything that has become unbalanced.  Take careful time consider your emotions and evaluate whether or not their are any emotions that you are holding back.  Allow the hippo totem to open up the areas that are blocked and allow for your emotions to flow freely once more.

Another meaning of hippo symbolism in your dreams is to pursue artistic endeavors.  Look for inspiration in the world around you and begin developing your creative process.  Try experimenting with something new and seek out different avenues for self expression!

A hippo is a sign of healing and protection. It’s important to consider this when interpreting dreams.
animal symbolism in dreams

Cultural and Spiritual Symbolism of the Hippo

animal meaning in your life

Ancient Egypt – the Hippo was revered as the female deity of pregnancy and protection of children.

The name Hippopotamus comes from the ancient Greek which means, “Water Horse”.  There are Greek depictions of the hippo dating back over 5,000 years

The Red Hippo – is said to be a sacred symbol of the gods according to ancient Egyptians.

Historical Facts

In the 1850’s Hippopotamus Polka was a popular tune – what sparked this popularity and the origin of the song?  Take a look.

Animal Quotes

Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.
Edward de Bono
When you take care of yourself, you’re a better person for others. When you feel good about yourself, you treat others better.
Solange Knowles

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About The Author

We love you! The Totem Team is dedicated to expanding knowledge of, and connection to, the natural and spiritual world of animals. Whether you call it an animal spirit, totem, or guide, we aim to be THE definitive resource online for all animal dreams, meanings, and symbolism. Thank you for being a part of our wonderful community and sharing in our work!

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