Hippopotamuses or Hippos (scientifically known as Hippopotamus amphibius) are large water-loving animals that are native to sub-Saharan Africa and the world’s third-largest land mammals. The word “hippopotamus” is originated from the Greek word “hippos ho potamios” which means “water horse” or “river horse”.
Although they are not closely related to horses rather they are related to pigs, whales, dolphins etc. There are two types of hippos available in the wild and they are “the common hippo” and “the pygmy hippo”.
Both of them feature webbed feet and are aquatic and terrestrial. Their legs are short and help them to maintain balance in the land as well as propel them in the water. Their tasks and teeth are used as a powerful weapon along with their body to remove any danger.
How Much Does A Hippo Weigh?
Hippos love to spend lots of time with their bodies submerged under the water and until they step onto the dry land you won’t realize how enormous these grass-eating animals are.
Usually, males are bigger and heavier than females and have e dominant position among the hippo pod. On average adult male hippos weigh around 3300 to 4000 pounds or 1497 kg to 1814 kg.
Sometimes male hippos can weigh around 9920 pounds or 4500 kg or more! Male hippos weigh around 2800 pounds to 3300 pounds or 1270 kg to 1495 kg.
What Do Hippos Look Like?
Hippos are large barrel-shaped bodied semi-aquatic mammals with short legs and short tails and enormous heads. Their skin is almost hairless with little hair near their mouth.
Their mouth is wide with nostrils that are used for breathing in the water. Their canine and incisor teeth grow regularly and can reach up to 20 inches in length.
Tusks and canine teeth are used for defense or fighting with others. They have tusks on both jaws made of ivory. And they have four toes in each foot. They don’t have any true sweat glands rather they have “blood sweat” which is thick and protects them from sunburn and keeps them moist.
How Much Do Baby Hippos Weigh At Birth?
Even when a baby hippo is born its size is big enough to strangle you. Baby hippos are known as calves and most of the time they are born underwater. When they are born they have pink skin that slowly converts to a normal color similar to matured hippos.
Female hippos give birth to one calf at a time that weighs around 50 pounds to 110 pounds or 22 kg to 49 kg at birth time.
Baby hippos stay with their mothers until they reach sexual maturity. Male hippos reach sexual maturity when they complete seven to eight years old and female hippos reach sexual maturity when they are complete five years old.
How Much Do Hippos Eat?
Hippos are omnivorous animals. So they can eat both plant and animal for their diet but the grass is their main dish among all menus. Their teeth are very strong and can easily tear up a crocodile or a human being into two pieces. Their diet consists of short grasses, leaves, shoots, plants, tender grass, roots etc.
Sometimes they hunt down buffalos and eat carcasses of other animals left by the other carnivores. Although sometimes they need to travel for miles to find the food. Their ears help them to hear the sound of falling fruits and their sense of smell helps them to detect the fruits.
A fully grown hippo can eat as much as 80 pounds to 88 pounds or 36 kg to 40 kg of foods each night by using their long teeth and largemouths. This is about 1 to 1.5 percent of their whole body weight.
How Long Does A Hippo Live?
Hippos are large African animals and sometimes they have violent personalities. Most of the time they chew leaves and plants for food. On average a hippo can live up to 40 to 50 years in the wild.
This figure is applicable for both wild and captivity and Donna was the oldest living hippo in captivity that lived in Mesker Park Zoo in Indiana, US, and died in 2012 at the age of 61. The oldest living hippo in the USA is Lucifer and it is 60 years old that lives in the park born in San Diego in 1960.
How Long Is A Full Grown Hippo?
The body length of an average adult hippo can be around 10.5 feet to 16.5 feet or 3.2 meters to 5 meters in length and their height can be up to 5.2 feet or 1.58 meters tall at their shoulders.
How Do Hippos Reproduce?
Hippos are polygamous and have more than one mate. Mame hippos forcibly submerge the females in the water and mate each other in the water.
Females lift their heads for breathing through the nostrils. Sometimes they do mate on the land but it is very rare. The gestation period lasts for 240 days or eight months and the females give birth only one baby at a time.
How Fast Can A Hippo Run?
Hippos are good runners and despite their heavyweight body, they can run fast. Although they are poor swimmers they are semi-aquatic. For a short distance, a hippo can run up to 19 mph or 30 km/h. An adult hippo can run 5 mph or 8 km/h in water and every three to five minutes interval it takes a breath in open water.
Where Does Hippo Live?
Common hippos live in their groups in swamps, lakes, wetlands and they are semi-aquatic and semi-terrestrial.
They are mainly found in East Africa and the South part of the Sahara. Pygmy hippos are largely terrestrial and smaller in size than common hippos and mainly restricted to West Africa ranges including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire.
They are mainly found in tropical forests that is close to streams and swamps and rarely found in wild areas.
Hippos spend almost 16 hours of their day in the water and keeping their skin moist in the high heat of Africa. They spend winter seasons resting on sandbanks and basking in the sun.
How Do Hippos Communicate?
Hippos communicate with each other by their body language and different sounds like whines, growls, howls, squeaks, croaks, honking etc both on the ground and water.
They create very noisy sounds. Noises like wheezing, roaring, grunting send a different signal to other hippos. Although the meaning of these sounds is not understood yet and recent studies found that they can laugh too.
How Much Does A Hippo Poop?
On average a hippo can poop around 400 pounds or 181 kg of waste each day.
How Many Hippos Are There In The World?
Due to habitat loss, water pollution, foods unavailability and lack of water resources the populations of hippos are declining over the last few years. Although the IUCN red list has not listed them as endangered yet.
But the pygmy hippos are considered endangered and common hippos are listed as vulnerable to extinction. According to IUCN, there are around 125000 to 148000 hippos remain in the world.
Hippo’s global populations decreased in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But since then their population has plateaued by strict law enforcement.
Who Do Hippos Live With?
Common African Hippos live with their species in the wild. Pygmy hippos live solitary life except for the mating period. A group of hippos is known as bloat, pod, siege etc. In one group around 20 to 200 common hippos live together which includes both males and females that mate during the breeding season.
How Much Does A Hippo Cost?
Hippo’s cost varies and they are not cheap rather they are very expensive and rare to buy. They are illegal as pets and most zoos do not have them. If you want to buy a hippo then you have to own zoom permits.
So if you already have zoo permits and own a zoo then you can a hippo within $100000 or more! They can not be good pets as they are very loud and need wide water areas to cool down their body temperature by dipping in the water for hours.
Are Hippos Dangerous?
Hippos are dangerous and as they are excellent runners they can easily kill a human being if they feel angry and irritated. They have a very aggressive temperament and often fights with other hippos in the pod.
Among all men, hippos are the most dangerous and can easily kill a man or crocodile. Studies show that each year around 500 people are killed by hippos across Africa. Although they rarely bother other animals they only attack when they feel they are in danger.
>>Altough hippos spend most of their time in the water they actually can not swim!
>>Then can not breathe underwater and need to resurface 3 to 5 minutes interval for breathing.
>>They mates with their partner in the water and give birth on the water!
>>They are not big eaters compared to their humungous size and eat only 1 to 1.5% of their body weight each day.
>>As they can’t bear the excessive heat they search for food at night! They can walk up to 5 miles in search of food.