Did anyone else absolutely love the game hungry hippos when they were a kid? I know I did but I also got so frustrated and was a sore loser, so it probably wasn’t my best times as a child. Either way, hippos are amazing. They’ve got the cutest faces but they weigh an absolute ton. As I feel I mention in every post, me and my husband were lucky enough to see these animals on Safari in Kenya last year and honestly, it was such an amazing experience. I’ve always liked hippos, but after seeing them playing around in the water and just how kind natured they are to one another, I found a new love for them and they became one of my favourite animals overnight. So let’s find out more about them!
The water horse.
Hippopotamus actually comes from the greek word for water horse or river horse, which makes complete sense as they thrive off the water they spend a lot of their time in. Fun fact though is that they can’t actually swim, they will walk through the rivers and streams and if needed, can hold their breath for around 5 minutes. The horse part however isn’t so accurate. Did you know their closest relatives are pigs, dolphins and whales!
Your average hippo will be around 3.5 – 5 meters long when fully grown and around 1.5 meters tall. The average female weighs around 1,400kg and a male hippo can weigh up to 4,500kg – how mental is that?!
Are they hungry hippos?
I think it’s pretty common knowledge that hippos are particularly dangerous animals. They have very large teeth as well as tusks that they use to attack any threats to them, as well as humans when necessary.
They don’t feed off flesh though (unless absolutely needed), they have a plant based diet, eating around 35kg of grass each day and they’ll also eat fruit if they can find it! They can store food for up to 3 weeks in their stomach, meaning if they’re not able to find food they can survive during that time.
A hippo pod.
Hippos are very social animals, hanging out in pods of up to 30 members. The pod will always be led by one male and they’ll spend around 16 hours of their day in the water.
When a hippo is first born, they weigh around 40kg and they can swim underwater to suckle from their mother. The way it can do this is by diving and closing it’s nose and ears to block out water. They also have a coating on their eyes so they’re protected whilst underwater. All hippos have the ability to do this and it’s why they’re able to breathe so long under the water when needed.
A hippo becomes a fully fledged adult around the age of 6 and they’ll live up to around the age of 35!
Do they need protecting?
Like most animals on this planet, the hippo is vulnerable to extinction. There’s a hefty amount of hippos in the world (an estimated 145,000) but poaching and the reduction of their habitat is reducing their numbers, although this is now being improved thanks to law enforcement where they live in Africa.
In Colombia, there’s around 60 hippos as Pablo Escobar actually imported and kept these beautiful creatures on his estate. After he was killed, 4 of these hippos were left to fend for themselves and in turn, they multiplied. Due to them being a threat to the human community, wildlife officials in Columbia did sterilize some of the males to slow the growth of the population but it’s not stated that there’s no plan to sterilize more or relocate them – so hopefully they’ll be able to live there in peace.
I want to know what you think of hippos! Do you think they’re cute or are they a little scary?
Love, always – B
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