The hippopotamus, literally translated, means river horse. They spend their days in water as their skin is very susceptible to sun-burning. They are herbivores consuming between 1 and 1.5% of their body weight in vegetation every day!
A hippo can grow to 4.5 feet (1.4 metres) high and about 13 feet (4 metres) long. They can weigh as much as 8000 pounds (3650 kilos)! They are almost hairless, with a HUGE mouth that can open 4 feet (1.2 metres) wide!
They are mainly nocturnal (most active at night), and spend most of their days resting in water. They can stay completely submerged for up to half an hour, but generally come up to breathe every 5-6 minutes. At night they emerge from the water to feed. Herds comprise of 10 – 15 individuals with a dominant male, females and their offspring. Males become very territorial during the breeding season with fights often ending in death. After 8 months’ gestation, females give birth to a single calf, usually underwater. Calves stay with the herd for several years. Males will leave the family herd after 8-9 years while females will stay and join the herd.
Extinct In The Wild