A Hippopotamus may look cute and cuddly, but there’s far more to these majestic beasts than meets the eye. Take a look at these fun facts about Hippos and you’ll never look at them the same way again.
- Hippopotamuses dark brown skin fades to pink underneath.
- They get so hot that they spend most of their day cooling down in lakes and rivers with just their eyes and nose above the waterline.
- As they sweat they secrete a red oil which protects them from sunburn and blistering.
- A male hippo can measure 3.5 m long by 1.5 m tall and weigh anything up to 3,200 kg.
- This makes them the second largest land animal alive today, second only to the elephant.
- Whilst they used to be all over sub-saharan Africa, today they’re largely confined to a small number of protected areas in the East.
- They like to eat at night when it’s cooler and can easily chomp their way through 35 kg of grass in one sitting.
- Hippos are strong swimmers and can easily hold their breath for 5 minutes.
- When they’re underwater their ears and nostrils fold shut to keep every drop of water out.
- A single dominant male can command a herd of up to 20 other hippos.
- The other males in the group will typically be non breeding males, with the majority of the herd made up of the dominant male’s female mates and associated offspring.
- When the dominant male wants to warn off challengers he opens his mouth fully to display his sharp teeth and lets out a series of loud grunts. He will also splash violently in the water.
- Female hippos will typically give birth every 2 years.
- A wild hippopotamus will typically live for at least 40 years.
- When hippos defecate they swing their tails from side to side to scatter their droppings and mark their territory.
- Strangely, hippo remains were found underneath Trafalgar Square!
Do you know any interesting facts about the hippo that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!