45 interesting facts about hippos

African hippopotamus animals still amaze researchers to this day. No other living creature on Earth is like them, these unpredictable giants who spend half their lives in the water. Curious tourists from all over the world come on safari to Africa to see these amazing creatures with their own eyes, despite all the difficulties involved.

Interesting facts about hippos

  1. They are also called hippos, and both names are considered correct.
  2. The weight of an adult hippopotamus can exceed 4 tons.
  3. Oddly enough, scientists believe that whales are the closest biological relatives of hippos.
  4. The first written records of hippos were made about 2.5 thousand years ago by the Romans.
  5. Even crocodiles are afraid of these animals – an adult hippopotamus is able to have a bite this reptile in half (interesting facts about crocodiles).
  6. When diving under water, special valves in the nostrils of hippos block water from entering the nose, so they do not snort, floating back to the surface.
  7. They can hold their breath for 3-5 minutes, plunging under water.
  8. Hippos live only in fresh water. Some researchers have also seen them in the seas, near the mouths of rivers, but in such conditions these animals usually do not linger.
  9. They have very fine hearing, and they hear well both under water and on land. 
  10. Hippopotamuses usually spend most of the day in the water, getting out on land already at dusk.
  11. Sometimes female hippos give birth to cubs in the water, and not on land.
  12. Adult hippopotamus is able to open its mouth so wide that that the distance between its upper and lower jaws will be 1-1.5 meters.
  13. During their stay on land, their bodies dehydrate faster than any other mammals on Earth.
  14. Overnight hippos sometimes walk 10-12 kilometers, or even more, in search of food.
  15. Hippos grow and gain weight throughout their lives, which reach 40 years in the wild and up to 50 in captivity.
  16. Older hippos sometimes starve to death after their molars, needed for grinding food, are completely grind off.
  17. An adult animal consumes 50-60 kilograms of food per day.
  18. Hippos are indeed quite slow animals, both in water and on land, but for short distances they can run at speed up to 30 km/h
  19. The skin of these animals is one of the toughest among all living creatures.
  20. Because of its short legs, a well-fed hippo sometimes touches the ground with a sagging belly.
  21. Feeding mainly on plant foods, with the exception of algae, hippopotamuses, however, willingly include antelopes, young crocodiles and other animals in their diet.
  22. The skin of hippos is devoid of hair, and in thickness it reaches 4 centimeters.
  23. Despite the fact that the hunting of hippos is universally prohibited, some African tribes continue to do so, and with the use of primitive weapons such as spears and homemade harpoons.
  24. Hippo pupils are shaped like the letter «T».
  25. In the sun, they turn pink, like walruses (interesting facts about walruses). By the way, their sweat is completely red.
  26. Up to 1/8 of the weight of an adult hippopotamus (up to half a ton) falls on its skin.
  27. Hippos always protect their cubs, but at the same time they they can easily kill strangers.
  28. Some African tribes make dentures from hippo tusks.
  29. The teeth of these animals are much stronger than those of elephants due to their high dentin content (interesting facts about elephants).
  30. Hippos when needed able to go without food for up to 2-3 weeks.
  31. Up to 200 kg of food is placed in their three-meter stomach.
  32. After the birth of the cub, the female hippopotamus cannot become pregnant for another year and a half.
  33. A newborn hippopotamus weighs up to 50-55 kg.
  34. The ancient Egyptians considered the main destroyers of the fields not locusts, but hippos.
  35. In Africa, these animals, according to statistics, kill people more often than crocodiles.
  36. The skin of hippos produces a disinfecting enzyme. This helps them heal wounds quickly, despite the fact that they live mainly in dirty water and often fight among themselves.
  37. An adult hippopotamus has no natural enemies in nature, except for humans. But their cubs sometimes become victims of other predators.
  38. A person has no chance to escape from a hippopotamus.
  39. These creatures eat only grass growing on land, but they do not eat aquatic plants at all.
  40. Archaeological finds show that the ancestors of modern people ate hippopotamuses 2 million years ago.
  41. The skin of hippos is so tough and thick that people in Africa even learned to make special circles out of it for polishing diamonds, the hardest mineral in the world. True, the process of processing the skin for these purposes takes about 6 years (interesting facts about minerals).
  42. Hippo teeth are the hardest material of animal origin in the world.
  43. Pygmy hippos are 15 times smaller their full-sized counterparts, their weight is 180-280 kg.
  44. Once upon a time in the Mediterranean Sea, on the islands of Cyprus and Crete, pygmy hippos also lived, but they died out hundreds of thousands of years ago.
  45. In Sudan, locals consider hippos to be the embodiment of dark forces, and therefore they are afraid of them.
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