Information On The Hippopotamus


Hippopotamus Information
planet hippopotamus

The hippopotamus stands five feet tall at the shoulders and weighs from three to five tons.

Habitat and Range: Their preferred habitat is rivers with adjacent marshes of reeds, and grasslands. They range from central and southern Africa to western Africa.

Even though the hippo is large, it moves easily through the water, walking on the bottom of rivers with the grace of a swan. The word hippopotamus means "river horse" in greek. The hippo is well adapted to water. With ears, eyes, and nostrils on top of its head, it can hear, see, and breathe when most of its body is underwater. It stays in the water most of the day. It may stay underwater for as much as 5 minutes.


The skin of the hippo is thick and almost hairless. Oily red drops ooze from its pores leading people to once believe that it was sweating blood. This oily substance helps to keep the skin moist, and possibly kill germs and heal wounds.

After the sun goes down hippos leave the water to feed on grazing grounds, grass being their main staple. They have been known to eat water plants. An adult hippo will consume as much as one hundred and fifty pounds of grass a day. If danger threatens, hippos head back to the water. A strong male will control his territory, in and out of the water.

In a few places as many as 2,000 hippos may be found in a 20 mile stretch of a river.


Hippos mate in shallow water. Young are born in the water or on land. The gestation period is eight months after which one young is born. The young may weigh up to as much as one hundred pounds. Nursing the calf is done both on land and under the water. A young hippo will lie on its mothers's back while she lies in the water. All of the mothers and calves form a nursery herd. When the young are old enough, they accompany the mother to the grazing fields.

Young hippos first year is a dangerous time. Crocodiles, leopards, lions, hyenas, and wild dogs prey on the young hippos. Adults are rarely attacked by other kinds of animals. Hippos may live for 40 years in the wild.


Another kind of hippo lives in the swampy forests of western Africa. Hog size pygmy hippos isn't a copy of its larger relative. Its eyes are on the side of its heard and it skin oozes a clear liquid instead of a red one. It spends most of its time on land searching for food. They feed on leaves, grasses, plant shoots, and fruit. They are believed to live in pairs or alone. Their young only weighs ten pounds at birth.



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