Wildlife Wednesday - Hippos
Beauregard the Hippo is a little upset with me for not starting Wildlife Wednesday off what he considers the most wonderful animal ever. Hippos of course! Beauregard may be a little biased in his opinions.
There are 2 types of hippos. There is the common hippopotamus, the hippo most of us are familiar with, and the pygmy hippopotamus (pictured above).
Pygmy hippos are about 450-600 pounds and stand about 2 1/2 feet tall. They are usually found in pairs or solitary. These hippos are endangered.
Common Hippos average about 3,000 pounds, but have been known to weight much more. There are examples of older male hippos weighing 7,000 pounds. The heaviest known hippo weighed over 9000 pounds. These hippos are considered vulnerable.
Hippos are the 3rd largest land mammals. Only elephants and white rhinos are bigger.
Hippos live 30-50 years in the wild.
Hippopotamus comes from the Greek words for river and horse.
Hippos eat 50-80 pounds of vegetation a day. They don't eat much in comparison to their size due to their sedentary lifestyle.
Male hippos are called 'bulls', female hippos are 'cows', babies are 'calves' and groups are called 'herds’, ‘pods’, ‘dales’ or ‘bloats’.
Common Hippos have partially webbed feet. Pygmy hippos have almost no webbing
Hippos have no sweat glands. They have to spend a lot of time in water to prevent dehydration. They also secrete a thick red substance from their pores. This is often referred to as "blood sweat", but it is neither blood or sweat. It is a mucous that helps prevent sunburn. It may also help prevent infection.
Common hippos are one of the most dangerous and aggressive mammals. Their canines and incisors never stop growing. Male hippos can have canines up to 1.5 feet long. They usually save their aggression for the water. If threatened on land, they usually run for water.
Common hippos spend the majority of their day in the water. Pygmy hippos spend a lot of their day resting near wet places. At sunset they leave the water to graze. They eat very few aquatic plants.
Hippos can remain underwater for about 5 minutes.
Hippos don't really swim. They move along the bottom of rivers beds in a gait similar to a slow motion gallop, lightly touching the bottom with their toes.
Hippos are mostly hairless. They have a few bristles around their mouths and tails.
Recent DNA studies have show than hippos are closely related to dolphins and whales.