You won’t find too many useful hippo facts for kids elsewhere as are here. These insights include hippopotamus diet, habitat, reproduction, behavior and species. The hippopotamus (Hippopotamous amphibious), also called hippo are the large herbivorous mammals and they are known to reside in Sub-Sahara Africa. These mammals belong to the family of Hippopotamidae. Hippos are the third largest and heaviest living mammals on the planet earth come after elephant and rhinoceros. Although they bear a physical resemblance with pigs, hippos are the closest relatives of whales, porpoises, and cetaceans and are believed to have evolved some 55 million years ago. One of the most primitive known hippos fossils was found which dates back to 16 million years ago.
These large mammals are considered to be semi-aquatic and they usually inhabit in mangrove swamps, rivers, and lakes. During the daytime especially in the summer season they tend to spend most of their time in water or mud to keep themselves cool; besides the reproduction and the child birth also takes place in water. Hippos commonly come out at dusk to graze on grass. They are not thought to be territorial mammals and they mainly graze alone. However in water you won’t find them alone as they prefer to stay closer to each other. With their familiar barrel-shaped torso they can be recognized without any doubt. They have got a huge mouth which can be observed especially when they open it may to display some kind of aggression. You won’t find a single hair across their bodies. They can run faster even more than the humans despite of its mammoth size and they are also listed as one of the most aggressive mammals in the world. The speed of hippos has been recorded at 30 km/h (19 mph) but in short bursts. On the negative side, hippos are being forced to leave their habitats due to the excessive poaching for their ivory canine teeth.
- Hippos are by far among the largest living mammals come only after rhinoceros, whales and elephants.
- They are capable to live on land as well as in water.
- Their particular gravity enables them to walk and sink at the base of the water.
- Although most of their time is spent in freshwater lakes or rivers, they cannot be regarded as aquatic species rather they’re known as semi-aquatic creatures.
- The average lifespan of these animals is about 40 – 50 years, with the oldest hippo ever lived was named as Donna (female) the Hippo which lived up to 60 years in captivity. She died on August 1, 2012 in Mesker Park Zoo (Indiana) USA.
- The average weight of the hippopotamus male measures around 1.500 – 1.800 kg (3,300 – 4,000 lb). Males are slightly heavier as compared to females. However, females weigh around 1,300 – 1,500 kg (2,900 – 3,300 lb). Older males are known to reach a weight of 3,200 kg (7,100 lb), with rarely weigh beyond 3,600 kg (7,900 lb).
- The length of these animals measure around 3.3 to 5.2 meters (11 to 17 feet), with a tail measuring at 56 cm (22 inches), with the average shoulder height is 1.5 m (5 feet).
- The range of hippos is often known to coincide with the white rhinoceros range.
- The average running speed of these bulky mammals reaches out to 30 kmh (18 mph) and 40 km/h (25 mph), with the maximum speed recorded at 50 km/h (30 mph). They are competent enough to maintain these speeds for even hundreds of metres.
- They are not considered to be great swimmers.
- When threatened, they used to open their large mouths.
- The thickness of the hippos skin measures around 15 cm (6 inches) thereby shielding it from the potential predators.
- For the reason that eyes, nostrils and ears are affixed at the top of the skull, hippos are allowed to submerge most of their body in mud water or in freshwater.
- The length of the hippos incisors measure around 40 cm (16 inches), with the canines measuring at 50 cm (20 inches).
Interesting facts about the hippopotamus habitat show that these mammals were once very common in Europe and North Africa. They also inhabited in most parts of the Egypt including Nile. However, they are also found in Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Gambia, Kenya, Congo, Southern Africa, Ethiopia, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Botswana.
What Do Hippos Eat | Hippo Facts For Kids
Hippos spend 4 – 5 hours in grazing in which they consume 68 kg (150 lb) of grass every night. They are predominantly herbivores and are regarded as opportunistic feeders. Hippos feed on variety of grass and also they eat carrion. Although they consume most of their time in water, they often feed on territorial grasses. Most of their defecation takes place in water. Hippos come to the surface after every 3 – 5 minutes to breathe.
Reproduction | Hippo Facts For Kids
- Female reach the maturity at the age of 6.
- The gestation period lasts for about 8 months.
- Males become mature after 7.5 years.
- Baby hippos weigh around 25 – 45 kg (60 – 110 lb), with the average length measuring at 127 cm (50 inches).
- The baby hippos are usually born in water.
- The period of weaning lasts for about 6 – 8 months.
- H. a. amphibius
- H. a. kiboko
- H. a. capensis
- H. a. tschadensis
- H. a. constrictus