The name Hippo originates from the Greek word ippop`otamos which means River Horse. Hippos are among the deadliest mammals both on land and on water. They are herbivorous in nature and they graze during the night hence nocturnal feeders. But what do we really know about these creatures that play an important role in Mother Nature’s ecosystem? Well, let me be the one to tell you a few fun facts about these beautiful gifts of nature. Here are a few facts you should know about them;
- Hippos can neither swim nor float in water
It is common knowledge that hippos spend a lot of their time in water. You would think that they swim right? Well, apparently, they basically just walk under water and can only hold their breath for a maximum of 7 minutes. That’s why they come up the surface every 3-5 minutes to breath. And now you know!
- They have very sharp canines that are used for fighting
Hippos are very territorial being. They have sharp and deadly canines that can kill a human in just one bite. However, their key existence is for fighting so as to mark their territories especially in water.
- They have a lifespan of up to 40years
Hippos have a very long life span and they can live to up to 40years. Isn’t that just amazing!
- They can Ingest up to 60kg in a nights grazing
How much food can you eat? Well studies show that humans ingest a maximum of 1.5kg of food per day. On the other hand however, hippos in just a night’s grazing ingest up to 60 kgs of grass. Isn’t that just amazing! And now you know!
- They are similar to Dolphins
People commonly refer to the hippo as a river horse. However, the behavioral characteristics of hippos are closely related to those of dolphins as compared to the horse. This is because they use the same mechanism as the dolphins in their communication. Isn’t that just interesting! Maybe we could call the land dolphins? But hey, I don’t really do animal nicknames!
- They Secrete a Bloody Substance
Hippos secrete a red substance that makes them look like they are bleeding. This substance acts as an antibiotic and moisturizer against the sun. The secretion also helps keep away insects. That is nature’s way of preventing their skins from drying up. How cool is that!
- They have Natural Contraception
Female hippos reach sexual maturity at five to six years and have a gestation period of eight months. After pregnancy, a female will not begin ovulation for 17 months. They are basically on natural birth control! How cool is that! Mating occurs in the water with the female submerged for most of the encounter her head emerging periodically to draw breath. Childbirth occurs in water, the weight of a new born is 25Kg to 50Kg. Well, imagine a toddler weighing 50kgs? That’s crazy right?