Top Hippopotamus Facts
While no other animals in the world can be mistaken for the Hippopotamus, there are many facts about them that people aren’t aware of them. Here are facts that you will be quite impressed with. First, they are referred to as the Hippo because too many people can’t spell their real name correctly!
The word Hippopotamus is Greek and it means River Horse.
They are herbivores which means they only eat plant life. Due to their enormous size though many people assume that they are meat eaters.
There are two species of Hippos – Pygmy Hippos and Common Hippos.
They are the third largest land animal in the world – only elephants and rhinoceros are bigger. They are the third heaviest animal in the world with the elephant and the white rhinos weighing more. A full grown Hippo can weigh from 1 ½ to 3 tons!
Due to the fact that Hippos spend so much time in the water, they are classified as being semi-aquatic. They emerge from the water at dusk so that they can graze for food.
Both mating and giving birth occur while in the water for the Hippo. In pygmy hippos, mating and birth can be done in water or land.
While Hippos are very territorial in the water, they freely roam on land without such conflicts.
Many people assume that the Hippo is closely related to the pig due to their body design. However, they really aren’t related to them. Instead, they are closely related to whales and dolphins.
In spite of their large size, Hippos can run up to 19 miles per hour for short distances. They can run faster than humans do don’t think for an instant that you can tease one and get away!
They are considered to be one of the most dangerous animals in the world. This is because of how aggressive they are by nature.
There are approximately 125,000 to 150,000 Hippos in the wild around Africa. Smaller numbers of them remain in Tanzania and Zambia.
A group of Hippos can be referred to as either a pod or a herd.
Male Hippos are bulls, females are cows, and a baby is considered to be a calf.
There is evidence that several species of hippos have become extinct out there.
The hunting of Hippos for their ivory teeth and for meat continues to decrease their population. That along with their environment being taken away are prime reasons why they are at risk of survival in the wild, mainly the pygmy hippopotamus.
Only two land mammals in the world are larger than the Hippo – rhinoceros and elephants.
Hippos are able to run along the bottom of the water where they live due to the gravity of their body.
Hippos continue to grow in size until they are about 25 years of age. They can typically live 45 to 50 years in the wild, so they are growing for about half of their life. The oldest living Hippo is named Donna and she was 61 years old. She lived in a zoo in the state of Indiana in the United States. One named Tanga that lived in Germany is believed to have lived long time too as it was 61 years old when it died.
They range from 11 to 17 feet long and 5 ft. tall at the shoulder.
Sometimes you will see a reddish tint from the skin of the Hippo. This is the body’s way of producing a type of natural sunscreen for protection from the heat. When it is coming off the body it is often mistaken for blood or for sweat but it isn’t either of them.