Tikiri Animal Knowledge Series
We are continuing with the safari theme with the next star of our animal knowledge series - the Hippo!
A child once said to us - a hippo is like a fat donkey that lives in water! They weren't far wrong as the name 'hippopotamus' comes from the greek word for 'water horse'. The hippo isn't actually closely related to a horse though - it has closer connections to pigs, whales and dolphins!
What else can we learn about these interesting creatures?
Hippo Fun Facts
1. Hippos are the 3rd largest living land mammal. Elephants are the largest and then white rhinos. Hippos can grow up to 5 meters long and can weigh up to 4500kg. They are big beasties!
2. You can find hippos in Africa and they are classed as amphibians as they spend up to 16 hours per day in water.
Photo Credit: minka2507
3. A group of hippos is known as a school or a bloat. Hippos love to spend time around each other and you can see as many as 200 of them all together at once. That sounds like a very noisy gathering!
4. Although hippos spend such a lot of time under water they can't actually swim! They tend to push themselves off whatever is under the water and can spend up to 5 minutes under the water before needing to surface for air.
5. Hippos are very aggressive and need to be treated with respect. They use their extremely large teeth and tusks to see off any predators including humans. It is estimated that hippos kill as many as 500 people a year in Africa and they are considered to be one of the deadliest land mammals. Forget tigers and lions - it's the hippos you need to watch out for!
Photo Credit: ArtTower
6. Ever played the game hungry hippos? Well hippos eat an incredible amount - around 35kg of grass each night as it turns out! Hippos can however survive for up to 3 weeks if there isn't much to eat as they can store it in their stomachs.
7. It takes 8 months for a female hippo to grow a baby hippo. A baby hippo is a called a calf. They have ability to close their noses and ears whilst swimming to keep water out.
Photo Credit: Christel Sagniez
8. Hippos have a long life span and can live for around 40 years in the wild
9. Although the skin of a hippo looks incredibly tough it's actually really prone to getting sunburnt. This is why they spend so much time underwater.
10. Toilet talk....hippos are very territorial and use their tails to fling their own poo to mark their territory. Open mouths, loud groans and charging are signs they are defending their territory.
We hope you enjoyed our 10 hippo facts – keep an eye out for our next animal in the limelight in the next few weeks.