Amazing Facts About Hippopotamus
Along with the elephants, zebras, giraffes and lions, the Hippopotamuses are amongst the most popular animals of Africa. Hippos are semi-aquatic animals spending most of their time in the water. They can live in the water or on land.
Here are some of the most unusual and amazing facts about Hippos.
1.) How long can you hold your breath underwater? Hippopotamuses or Hippopotami can go underwater and hold its breath for as much as half hour.
2.) The masseter is the strongest muscle of human beings. The huge jaws of Hippos are studded with spike-like teeth. It can bite a crocodile in half.
3.) Believe it or not but these massive mammals can also swim underwater, walk and run on the river bottom. They are capable of doing these due to their specific gravity.
4.) This is really amazing, a Hippo can sleep underwater. While on sleep, the process of surfacing and breathing is automatic, it will rise and breathe without waking. It closes its nostrils when it submerges.
5.) Most mammals mate and give birth on land. For Hippos, reproduction and childbirth both occur in water.
6.) Hippos are herbivores. 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 68 kg of grass.
7.) People used to think that Hippos sweat blood. A Hippo’s natural skin oil is red. It keeps the skin from cracking in the heat.
8.) Hippos are territorial in waters but not territorial on land. A bull Hippo marks its territory by spinning its tail while defecating to distribute its excrement over the greatest possible area.
9.) Looking at the above and below photos of Hippos, what do you think is the closest relatives of these gigantic mammals? Although Hippos look like pig, their closest living relatives are Whales, Porpoises and other cetaceans.
10.) The Hippo is the third-largest land animal by weight. It can weigh as much as 3 tonnes. Only the Elephant and the Rhino are heavier than the Hippo. It is the heaviest extant artiodactyls (even-toed ungulate) although it is much shorter than the Giraffe.
11.) Although it is regarded as one of the largest animals in the world (only whales, elephants, and rhinos are larger – making it the world’s 4th largest) and despite having relatively short legs, a Hippo can easily outrun a human. It had been clocked at 30 km/h or 19 mph over short distances.
12.) Hippopotamuses are amongst the world’s most dangerous and aggressive creatures. They are often considered as one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. They often attack human beings without any reason or apparent provocation.
13.) Female Hippos or Cows reach a maximum weight at age 25 but male Hippos or Bulls appear to continue growing throughout their lives.
14.) When a Hippo opens its mouth, it is not yawning. An open mouth signals that the Hippo feels threatened.
15.) Along with Cetaceans (Whales, Porpoises, etc…) and Sirenians (Dugong, Manatees, etc…) Hippos are one of the few mammals that give birth under water. A baby hippo is born underwater at a weight between 25 and 45 kg and an average length of around 127 cm.
16.) 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.
17.) This is quite bizarre, although its occurrence is very rare, when hippos become overpopulated, male Hippos will sometimes attempt to kill baby Hippos or Calves.
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