I am going to reveal my age by telling you I cannot help but think of Shirley Temple singing “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas” every time I hear the word hippo. The memory of the song makes me smile.
These massive creatures are familiar to just about everyone, but I realized that I really do not know a lot about them.
I want to know more about them, and I thought you might like to discover a few details yourself.
How Much Does A Hippo Weigh?
A large hippo can weigh as much as 3,200 kg. That is over 7000 pounds!
They pack all of that weight into a body that is about 3.5 meters in length. That is about 11 ½ feet!
These are not small animals. They are like water elephants.
They eat short grasses that grow near the water’s edge. They must consume about 88 pounds of grass each day to maintain their health and weight. If you do the math that is about 1.5% of their body weight.
The female hippo is pregnant for about 8 months. When she gives birth she will only have one child at a time.
The newborn is called a calf and it will weigh between 50 and 110 pounds when it is born.
The mother will feed the calf milk for the first year. Junior will not be considered full-grown until about 5 to 7 years. (Hippos usually live to be about 40 so they have some time to spend with mom and learn the ropes.)
Hippos Cannot Swim
You and I both know that these creatures spend a lot of time in the water. They spend most of their time in the water because the food they love to eat is found in the water.
When a hippo is born they have the ability to close their nose and ears so water does not enter them. They also have special membranes that cover their eyes and prevent water from hurting them.
The hippo goes underwater and if it needs to move around it simply w3alks on the bottom of the river to get from one place to another.
They will come to the surface in three to five minute intervals to get a breath of air.
They are Deadly
Hippos kill more than 500 people each year in Africa.
They are very aggressive creatures and if a small boat enters the water too close to where they are they will attack the boat.
They will also attack the people who fall out of the boat.
Hippo attacks also occur on land when the massive beast and humans cross paths while the animal is searching for food.
The majority of us see pictures of these huge mammals w3ith their mouths wide open like they are tired and yawning. The animal is not yawning it is warning that they are irritated with your presence.
The sound they make when they are really irritated at your presence may sound a lot like a laugh. They are not laughing and when you hear this sound you are in danger of an attack.
Did You know?
- Hippos have 36 teeth on average but some of them have 40 teeth. The extra teeth are actually their milk teeth that have not fallen out.
- They have enlarged canine teeth that help them in a fighting situation
- Their long canine teeth are ivory like the elephant tusk. President George Washington had a set of false teeth made from the ivory of hippo teeth.
- These animals are most active after dark
- They live in groups called herds. A large grouping of hippos is called a bloat.
- They live in groups of 10 to 30 with a mixture of adult males and females and the offspring. There are several males in the herd but only one of them is the dominant male.
- They are primarily inactive and do not spend much energy
- They live close to slow-moving rivers and lakes in Africa.
Some Interesting Questions & Answers About Hippo
What Is Another Name for A Hippo?
The name hippopotamus is derived from the Greek word that means “water horse” or “river horse”.
Are There More Than One Species of A Hippo?
Yes, there are two recognized species of hippos.
Is It True That A Hippo Cannot Swim?
It is true. The hippo cannot swim instead they run along the bottom of the river they are in.