Animal Class >> Herbivores

Hippopotamus

Hippopotamus is a large, plant eating African mammal. A male hippopotamus is known as a bull, a female as a cow, and a baby as a calf. A hippo's lifespan is typically 40 to 50 years. Female hippos reach sexual maturity at 5 to 6 years and have a gestation period of 8 months. They are 3.5 meters (11 ft) long, 1.5 meters (5 ft) tall at the shoulder, and weigh from 1,500 to 3,200 kilograms. Male hippos appear to continue growing throughout their lives, whereas the females reach a maximum weight at around age 25. Females are smaller than their male counterparts and normally weigh no more than 1,500 kg. The eyes, ears, and nostrils of the hippo are placed high on the roof of the skull. This allows them to spend most of the day with the majority of their body submerged in the waters and mud of tropical rivers to stay cool and prevent sunburn.

Facts about Hippopotamus

  1. The hippo is the third biggest land animal. It is slightly smaller, but heavier than a white rhino. The biggest land animal is the elephant.
  2. A hippopotamus can run faster than a man.
  3. A hippopotamus can stay under water for up to 30 minutes.
  4. Did you know that baby hippos are born under-water!
  5. The group of hippos is led by one large male. The other members are females, their young, and a few young adult males. The leader of the group keeps control of his mating territory by fighting off rivals.
  6. The family group of hippos spends most of the day in the water. Staying submerged helps a hippo stay cool in the hot, tropical climate where it lives.
  7. The hippo's nose, ears, and eyes are on the top of its head, and they protrude from the water while the rest of its head and its body lie beneath the surface. That way a hippo can breathe, see, and hear even while its body is submerged. When a hippo sinks completely underwater, its nose and ears automatically close so that no water seeps in.
  8. It's an excellent swimmer and can hold its breath for about five minutes. Hippos can even walk along the bottoms of rivers and lakes. 
  9. At dusk, hippos leave their watery daytime spot, lumber onto land, and walk as far as 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the water to graze on short grasses, their main food.
  10. Grazing until dawn, a hippo may eat up to 150 pounds (68 kilograms) of grass a night. They avoid the heat of the sun by returning to a river or lake before sunrise.

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