Interesting facts about Hippos

Interesting facts about hippos, Weighing between 1,300 and 3,200 kg, Hippos inhabit the lower reaches of Uganda’s rivers and small lakes and spend the day in water emerging at night to feed on short grass.

They seldom move more than 3 km from water and visit previously-grazed floodplain sites where their feeding activities maintain ‘hippo lawns.’

Hippos have a marked preference for deep backwaters rather than for fast-flowing reaches. They are gregarious during the day and form unstable groups of females and bachelors; mating takes place in water, and males fight fiercely over access to females.

The massive aquatic mammals have thick skin devoid of sweat glands, and thus they depend on water to cool their bodies. They appear physiologically adapted to minimize energy expenditure and accumulate large amounts of fat.

5interesting facts about hippos and these include;
Hippos are amphibious and herbivorous!
Common hippos spend the majority of their days in water within rivers, lakes, muddy wallows and wetlands, waiting until sunset to emerge onto land and feed.

Their skin needs to stay moist at all times during sunlight hours, otherwise it would crack and break. They also secrete an oily red liquid that is thought to act as a sunscreen, insect repellent and antibiotic!

When eating in the evening, they munch on foliage and grass. In one evening they can eat up to 35kg! In contrast, pygmy hippos are more solitary, land-based, and mostly nocturnal individuals, who tend to reside in West African forests, and spend less time in the water as a result.

Hippos are the third largest land mammal on earth.
There are two species of hippo under the family Hippopotamidae; the pygmy hippopotamus and the common hippopotamus. After elephants and white rhinos, with males weighing up to 1360 kilograms (kg).

They are typically around 11ft long and 5ft tall. Despite their incredible size, they can fully submerge and hold their breath for 5 minutes. Their ears and nostrils actually fold shut to keep the water out. This allows them to sleep underwater, and come up for a breath when they need to. Pygmy hippos are much smaller at 3ft tall and less than 1/5th of the weight of the common hippos.

Hippos love to spend time with family and friends
Hippos are highly sociable animals that live in herds ranging from 10 to 100 individuals. Females typically give birth to young once a year, or every two years, and the lactation period can even extend over 18 months.

The herd protects the young from predators such as crocodiles, hyenas and lions. Females do not reach sexual maturity until nine or ten years old, and their long gestation period of eight months makes the species especially vulnerable to exploitation and the threat of extinction.

Fights for territory are very dangerous
Males can cause serious injury to other individuals when fighting over possession of territory, due to their large canine teeth. Minor spats can happen more regularly in the herd, but these complaints are usually settled with a large yawn to ward off anyone looking for trouble.

One large, dominant male will typically rule a herd; which will be made up of females, their young ones, and a few young, non-breeding males.

How do Hippos survive?
Despite residing in the water for a large portion of their lives, hippos can’t swim or float! They walk or stand on surfaces, like sandbanks, below the water. Hippopotamus go about their day in the water to protect their skin from the sun.

Hippos are a must see usually during boat cruises.

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