The simple answer is no. The hippos do not have pink Mink. Although, it’s understandable if you might think they do, or at least where the pink milk idea comes from. We will explain to you everything you need to know about hippo’s milk and where does the idea of Pink Milk come from.
What’s the color of the Hippo’s Milk?
Similarly to all other mammals, the milk a female hippo produces to her calves is white or whitish.
So, Hippo’s Milk isn’t pink milk. A Hippo’s Milk is white.
Where does the rumor of Hippo’s Pink Milk come from?
Apparently, this hoax of Pink Milk has been online for quite a while but no one knows its exact origin. However, we may say that it gained traction after National Geographic posting it on its Facebook page… We love National Geographic, but this was bad… and it’s still online and with more than 17 000 likes, 4 100 shares, and 700 comments.
Fortunately, their hippos page on the official site doesn’t mention anything about pink milk.
What was this false claim of hippo’s Pink Milk based on?
The idea behind the pink milk is that the pure white milk of the hippo gets mixed with the “blood sweat” that the hippo produces naturally to protect himself from the sun.
So, we need to clarify two things. What is blood sweat exactly, and how could it be mixed with milk…
Despite its name, Blood sweat isn’t blood and isn’t sweat, it’s a blend of hipposudoric acid and norhipposudoric acid, which is very important for hippos’ health. Curiously, this secretion isn’t colored when the hippos produce it, but it turns orange/red when exposed to the sun. So, theoretically, if you would mix it with the milk, we would obtain a pinkish liquid… after all, white + red = pink. Yet, the question is, does this happen?
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to say for sure that it doesn’t, but it seems highly improbable. Baby hippos are very good at suckling; they get a tight grip and suck hard on the mom’s nipple. Baby hippos are so efficient that they can even suckle underwater. They take a deep breath, close their nostrils and ear and tightly wrap their tongue to the nipple and suckle. The mom’s milk is ejected directly into the mouth of the hippo, not leaving much of an opportunity to mix with anything else.
Furthermore, if it was possible for the blood sweat to get together with the milk, we don’t know if it’s possible to combine them. You see, apparently, no one has ever tried to do this, which is understandable as female hippos are incredibly aggressive when they have calves.
Baby hippos continue to be nursed for about 8 months (more if there’s a shortage of food), but they start eating grass after only a few weeks old.
Learn more about the Baby hippos and hippopotamus reproduction here