HIPPOPOTAMUSES WELL KNOWN AS HIPPOS
Common Hippopotamuses are the third large mammals in Africa coming before African elephants and rhinos. They are semi-aquatic spending up to 16hours a day submerged in rivers and lakes to keep their massive bodies cool under the hot African sun and that’s why the Greeks named them the ‘River Horse’.
Many travelers ask (where do hippos live), hippos mainly live in water especially during the day in hot sunshine to protect themselves from losing fat.
The hippo’s nose, ears, and eyes are on top of its head protruding from water while the rest of the body is submerged which helps hippos to breathe, see and hear even while the body is submerged.
When underwater the nose and ears automatically close with the help of a clear membrane so that no water seeps in holding their breath for about five minutes underwater.
Most interestingly, despite the most time spent in water, Hippopotamuses are not good swimmers but rather use their webbed feet to move around the bottom. The skin has sweat glands a reddish fluid that acts as lubricant and moisturizer to protect against the sun.
Hippos on land – What do Hippos eat
At sunset, hippos leave the water, lumber onto land covering six miles while grazing on short-grass which is their main food and at least in some areas a small amount of browse is also included in the diet.
Hippos are herbivorous, they only feed on vegetables, hippos do not eat meat at all. Considering the hippo’s enormous size, they can outrun humans covering 19mph. Hippos usually ran to water when attacked on land.
Mating takes place in water and each female hippo has only one calf (Hippo Baby) every two years and the gestation period goes to 225 and 257 days.
Cows leave the group to undergo the process and to bond with her newborn baby, soon mother and the young join schools that provide protection against crocodiles, lions, and hyenas.
Calves can suckle on land or underwater by closing their ears and nostrils. When a male hippo is born, the mother hides it from the group because the dominant male will try hard to kill it fearing challenge in the future. It brings calf to the group only when the dominant male is off until it’s ready for the challenge.
- Behaviors – Are Hippos Dangerous
Hippos are extremely territorial and will aggressively attack trespassers. 500 human deaths are recorded every year in the world making hippos extremely dangerous.
Males have tendencies of fighting for dominance and will use their canine long teeth to fight. It also involves fighting over females or hierarchy over and groups are led by one male which has a right to mate with every adult female in the group and sometimes allows another subordinate male to mate. Serious battles erupt when strange bulls invade territories in the mating season.
Hippos are so good at swimming that’s why they are well known as aquatic animals. Being aquatic, they live in water especially during day times to protect themselves from the hot sunshine. This greatly helps them to keep their fat and always maintain their weight as the third largest mammal in the world and account for the big five animals.
- Life span
Common hippos will live 40-50 years in the wild and 61 years in captivity.
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