Hippo Facts

Hippo Facts
Image Source: 
"Hippopotamus - 04" by Kabacchi - Hippopotamus - 04. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hippopotamus_-_04.jpg#/media/File:Hippopotamus_-_04.jpg

1. There are two species of hippos in the world today the Common Hippopotamus 
(Hippopotamus amphibius) and the Pygmy Hippopotamus (Hexaprotodon liberiensis).  Both are mammals that live in Africa, and each is a member of the family hippopotamidae.

2. The shape of a hippo is a huge oval for a body with legs. It almost could look like a shaved cow.

3. The mother lets the baby calf ride on the back until able to walk by them selves. The baby calf will stay with the same herd for it’s entire life.

4. Hippos have lived in Africa for thousands of years.  They are social creatures preferring to live in larger groups or “Pods” where they establish a hierarchy based on male dominance.

5. The eyes, ears, and nostrils of hippos are on top of their head, making it easy for them to hear, see, and breathe while most all of their body is under water.

6. The Hippopotamus, whose name means "river horse", is a plant-eating water loving giant.  

7. A relative of camels, pigs, and deer, the hippo has two lives in one! The centre of a hippo's day life is water. Like a hippo pool-party, sometimes hundreds of hippos, will share a territory of water during the day. Whether it's mating, playing, fighting or giving birth, hippos are nearly always wet. 

8. The hippo's night life begins a few hours after sunset, when all the hippos file out of the water to graze on land by the light of the moon. They wander up to 10 kms from water and can eat as much as 45 kgs of vegetation every night! 

9. Hippos have huge mouths and teeth, even though they eat grass. A bull hippo's canines can grow to 28 inches long, and their mouths can open four feet wide! 

10. Hippos make a of variety grunts, growls, screams and other sounds underwater to  communicate with each other! 
Image Source:  "Pygmy Hippopotamus (Hexaprotodon liberiensis) (cropped)" by Cliff from I now live in Arlington, VA (Outside Washington DC), USA - Pygmy Hippopotamus (Hexaprotodon liberiensis). Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pygmy_Hippopotamus_(Hexaprotodon_liberiensis)_(cropped).jpg#/media/File:Pygmy_Hippopotamus_(Hexaprotodon_liberiensis)_(cropped).jpg

11. Hippos don’t have true sweat glands.  Instead, they secrete a thick, red substance from their pores known as blood sweat.  This mucous layer protects the hippo’s skin from sunburn, helps keep it moist and potentially acts like an antibiotic.

12. Hippos can stay completely underwater for five to six minutes. Their body weight 
distribution and webbed feet allow them to move easily in water. Hippos cannot sweat, so submerging in water or covering themselves with mud helps keep their bodies cool during the heat of the day.

13. Hippos practice “muck-spreading” which occurs when the tail is vigorously wagged during defecation. This action scatters feces in a wide range and may serve to mark territory or mark trails from the water to their grazing areas.

14. Hippos aggressively defend their territories and are reported to kill more people in Africa than any other animal.

15. The average male Hippo will get into a fight 3 times a day.

16. For defense they fight with their mouths.

17. Large numbers of Hippo’s were found by the Nile river in Ancient Egypt.  Hippo’s would forage in the wetlands along the Nile river .  Egyptians feared Hippo’s due to their large bodies, large teeth, and aggressive nature.

18. An adult Hippo can run up to 14 miles per hour on land.

19. Can store up to two days worth of grass in its stomach.

20. Adult hippo’s can hold their breath up to 30 minutes.

21. Hippo’s vocalization is measured at 115 decibels, which is like standing 15 feet away from a speaker at a rock concert!


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