There are many large animals on our planet, but few are as interesting and scary, at the same time, as hippos. These huge animals attract a lot of attention and yet there’s still so many things that most people don’t know about them. So, let’s discuss these beasts. let’s discuss 15 Unbelievable Facts About Hippopotamus.
- Hippos are considered to be the second largest land animals (sometimes third if you count the white rhinoceros) on Earth, after elephants. On average, they can grow to be 3.5 meters or 11.5 feet long and 1.5 meters or 5 feet tall. They can also grow up to weigh 3200 kilograms or 7055 pounds.
- These huge mammals are native to Africa and they were once very commonly found throughout sub-saharan Africa, however, due to hunting and habitat destruction, their populations have significantly decreased over time and now they are mostly just found in confined East African countries.
- Hippos are mostly active in the night-time, that’s when they search for food. They are herbivores who mostly eat grass – tons of grass. In fact, an average hippo eats about 35 kilograms or 77 pounds of grass a day.
- The name Hippopotamus comes from an Ancient Greek “river horse”.
- Despite their huge size, hippos are great at swimming. They can actually hold their breath for up to 5 minutes underwater. When they are completely submerged, their ears and nostrils fold shut to make sure water doesn’t get in.
- Hippopotamuses are social animals who live in groups of about 10 to 20 members. These groups are led by a single alpha-male and other members are females, their offspring and a few young non-breeding males.
- These dominant alpha-male hippos are very protective of their groups. They often open their mouths, display their teeth, grunt and splash water with their legs to scare any threat off.
- The average life span of a hippo in the wild is about 40 years. In captivity – about 50 years.
- Female hippos (called cows) give birth once every two years, usually to a single baby hippo (called calf).
- Baby hippos are usually born weighing 45 kilograms or 100 pounds.
- During day-time, hippos tend to live in lakes, rivers or anywhere where there’s water so that they could cool off. Their eyes, nose and ears are on the tops of their heads, allowing them to breathe, see and hear while almost completely submerged underwater.
- Although most of our fear of animals aren’t very rational – that is not the case with hippos. The hippopotamus is considered to be the world’s deadliest large land mammal. Hippos are very aggressive and their size and strength makes them potentially deadly to humans. In fact, about 500 humans are killed every year by hippos, in Africa.
- Hippopotamuses give birth in water.
- Despite their large size, hippos are actually fast, which makes them even more dangerous. They can gallop for long distances at speeds of about 30 kilometers or 18.6 miles per hour. They can also sprint at speeds of 45 kilometers or 30 miles per hour.
- The infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar had his own personal zoo, where he had quite a few hippos, who aren’t native to Colombia. After he died and his residences were raided, many animals were transported to other zoos or somewhere else, but the hippos were just released because they were very dangerous and couldn’t go to zoos. So they were just released and now live and reproduce in the wild, in Colombia.
And that’s it. Hippos are truly incredibly large, powerful and interesting animals, but they are also dangerous, so, if you find yourself in an area with these beasts – be very careful. Even though they’re herbivores, they can still kill you, for whatever reason. That concludes this 15 Unbelievable Facts About Hippopotamus article.