What is a hippopotamus

The hippopotamus has a plump body and a large head. It is about 3-4 m long, the males (hippopotamus bulls) slightly larger than the females. Hippos have short and thick legs with webbed feet between the four toes. They have large canine teeth in their huge mouth.

The animals can dive very well (often stay under water for 5 minutes), in the water most of the body is below the surface, sometimes you can only see the eyes, ears and nostrils. They don't swim very well, but they can also go into deep water. At normal water depth, they stand and walk on the bottom of the water. If they can no longer get their nostrils to the surface while walking, they can do this by standing on their back legs. In even deeper water, they push themselves off the ground and, so to speak, jump to the surface of the water, take in air and then sink back down again. Hippos can probably swim in sea water.

In the water they are often accompanied by "fringed lips", which are small carp fish.

Hippos eat grass and other plants, including fallen fruit. They can eat up to 40 kg of plants in one night. They eat the bank vegetation (plants on the bank) and fertilize the water with their excrement (manure).

When a hippopotamus gives off feces in the water, it looks funny because it stirs the water with its short (35-40 cm) tail like a whisk.

Hippos have a cub every two years and the gestation period lasts approximately 240 days. The calf is suckled for a year.

Hippos live in small herds (groups) of around 15 animals, led by an adult hippo bull.

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Last update of this page: August 20, 2015

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