You don’t want to mess with a hippopotamus! They’re big, and they are one strong animal. You will recognize the hippo due to its large, barrel-shaped body. It has short legs and a short tail. This is finished off with an enormous head. They are mostly gray to a muddy-brown. These colors fade to pink underneath their huge body.
The Size Of The Hippo
The elephant is the largest land animal on earth. Second is the hippo. The male hippo has an average length of 11.5 feet, and their height is nearly 5 feet. Their weight is an amazing 7,050 pounds. A wild hippo lives for about 40 years. Those in captivity live longer, up to 50 years. Dominant males are very protective of their group. They open their huge mouths to warn off rival males. Additionally, they make loud grunts and aggressive splashes in the water.
The Female Hippo
The female hippo is called a cow. She usually gives birth every two years. She normally has one single calf. Shortly after the birth, she and her calf join up with other cows and calves for protection against predators. The predators include hyenas, lions, and crocodiles.
Hippos usually live in “herds.” These are groups of around ten to 20 individual hippos. One large dominant male leads the group. Females, their calf, and a few young non-breeding males usually make up the group.
Hippos enjoy the water, and they spend a major part of the day splashing about. Even though they are massive creatures, they are still great swimmers. They have the amazing ability to be able to hold their breath for up to five minutes when underwater. When they are totally submerged, their ears and nostrils fold shut to keep the water out.
Hippos prefer to be more active during the night. During this time, they search for food. Hippos are herbivores and eat mostly grass. In one night, it is typical for a single hippo to eat 77 pounds of grass.
Populations Have Declined
In times past, the hippo was found throughout all sub-Saharan Africa. Due to hunters and the loss of habitat, their population has declined. Today they are mostly found in protected areas mostly in East-African countries. Their location in the hot African heat, causes these huge animals to spend most of their day in rivers and lakes. Since their eyes, nose, and ears are located on top of their head, they are capable of seeing and breathing while underwater. The hippo also has a built-in sunblock. This is due to their sweating an oily red liquid. This helps to protect their skin from drying out.
I prefer to see a hippo at the zoo – with their mouth closed!