Hippopotamus Amazing Facts 4u

40 Amazing Facts about Hippopotamus | Amazing Facts 4U

  1. The name Hippopotamus comes from the Ancient Greek ‘River Horse’. Hippos mostly live in sub-Saharan Africa. They can only survive in areas with abundant water.
  2. Their closest living relatives are whales and porpoises etc. from which they diverged about 55 million years ago.
  3. The hippopotamus is generally considered the fourth largest animal after Whales , elephant and  the White rhinoceros.
  4. Two species are found in Africa called the Common Hippopotamus and the solitary and forest dwelling endangered Pygmy Hippopotamus which is only found in western Africa.
  5. A male hippopotamus is called a ‘bull’. A female hippopotamus is called a ‘cow’. A baby hippo is called a ‘calf’. A group of hippos in known as a ‘herd’, ‘pod’, ‘dale’ or ‘bloat’.
  6. Herd of hippos usually consist of 10 to 30 members of both females and males lead by dominant male.
  7. Hippopotamuses have short legs, a huge mouth and a body shaped like a barrel. Adult hippos measure about 15 feet (4.6 meters) long and 5 feet (1.5 m) tall.
  8. The average female weighs around 1400 Kg while males weigh 1,600 to 3,600 kg. Female Hippos or Cows reach a maximum weight at age 25 but male Hippos or Bulls appear to continue growing throughout their lives.
  9. They grow to 10.8 to 16.5 feet (3.3 to 5 meters) long and up to 5.2 feet (1.6 m) tall from hooves to shoulders. The tail adds another 13.75 to 19.75 inches (35 to 50 centimeters) to its length.
  10. Hippos typically live for around 45 years.
  11. The Hippopotamus has an enormous head which makes up around a third of it’s total body weight, with it’s vast mouth being able to open up to amazing 150 degrees, a record among all vertebrates and revealing it’s large tusks which can weigh up to 3 kg each.
  12. It is amazing that a hippo can open its mouth wide enough to fit a 4 foot tall child inside. When a Hippo opens its mouth, it is not yawning. An open mouth signals that the Hippo feels threatened.
  13. The bellowing of a bull hippo measures an ear splitting 115 decibels, sounding like the roar of a lion compared to the blue whale which can call at up to 188 decibels.
  14. They spend all day almost 16 hours in the water and then hunt for food at night.
  15. Hippopotamuses spend a large amount of time in water to keep it’s temperature down.
  16. Fact is hippos are herbivores. Hippos eat mostly grass . They do not graze in group. Instead, each Hippo eats alone because eating is private for them. Each night, a Hippo spends 4 to 5 hours grazing and consumes 40 to 50 kg of grass.
  17. They have two long canine teeth (tusks) which can grow up to 50 cm long and are used for fighting.
  18. The huge jaws of Hippos are studded with spike-like teeth. Amazingly it can bite a crocodile in half or split a boat in two.
  19. The tusk-like incisors and canines grow continuously. They are ivory, valued even more highly than an elephant’s because they do not turn yellow with age.
  20. Since the ban on trading Elephant ivory, the number of Hippos killed for their teeth has risen dramatically.
  21. George Washington’s false teeth were carved from the tusks of a hippopotamus.
  22. Hippo has practically no hair, and its smooth skin is quite delicate.
  23. Amazingly in spite of heavy body , a hippopotamus can run faster than a man can.
  24. Their eyes and nostrils are located high on their heads, which allows them to see and breathe while mostly submerged.
  25. A clear membrane covers and protects their eyes while allowing them to see underwater.
  26. An adult Hippo resurfaces every 3 – 5mins to breathe. Amazing fact is the process of surfacing and breathing is automatic, and even a hippo sleeping underwater will rise and breathe without waking. It closes its nostrils when it submerges in water.
  27. Hippopotamuses can go underwater and hold its breath for as much as half hour.
  28. During the dry season, the dominant male chooses a partner, and then the other males fight each other for the remaining females.
  29. Eight months after conception, at the height of the wet season, female hippos give birth to only one calf every two years.
  30. Amazingly both reproduction and birth occur in the water.
  31. A baby hippo is born underwater at a weight between 25 and 45 kg and an average length of around 4.25 Ft.
  32. A newly born Hippo must swim to the surface to take their first breath. The young often rest on its mother’s back when in water and swim underwater to suckle.
  33. Young hippos might be attacked by adult male hippos . Amazing is that this attack occurs only in water. Young hippos are safe if on land.
  34. Hippos bask on the shoreline and secrete an oily red substance, which gave rise to the myth that they sweat blood. The liquid is actually a skin moistener also providing sun protection and also provide protection against germs.
  35. The color of Hippo’s milk is bright pink. The reason is that hippo secretes two kind of unique acids called “Hipposudoric acid” and “Norhipposudoric acid“.The Hipposudoric acid is reddish in color and often known as, “Blood Sweat”. Norhipposudoric acid is bright orange. Both these acids are strong enough to minimize the growth of the bacteria on the Hippo’s skin. These acids also act as a sunscreen for the Hippo’s skin as they absorb the UV rays that destroy the skin cells. In a milking Hippo the two acids get combined with the white milk and thus pink colored milk is ejected. Thus Hippo milk is pink.
  36. Amazingly the milk of a Hippo can also be ejected below the surface of the water, unlike other mammals. The baby hippos take a deep breath, close their ears and nostrils and then tightly wrap up their tongue around the teat and suckle their mother’s milk underwater.
  37. Hippopotamuses break wind through their mouths.
  38. The hippopotamus is one of the most aggressive creatures. They often attack human beings without any reason or apparent provocation. Don’t take chances.
  39. It’s estimated that Hippos are responsible for about 3,000 human deaths per year. Amazing fact is that hippos kill more people each year than lions, elephants, leopards, buffaloes and rhinos combined.
  40. Nearly all of the famous African explorers and hunters – Livingstone, Stanley, Burton, Selous, Speke, DuChaillu had boating mishaps with hippos.

 By Amazing Facts 4U Team

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