Hippo

SPECIES PROFILE

Name: the common hippo or hippotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) is a large, semi-aquatic mammal native to sub-Saharan Africa. It is closely related to the pygmy hippo (Choeropsis liberiensis).

Appearance: hippos are easily recognised by their large, barrel-shaped bodies, wide mouths, long tusks, and nearly hairless bodies.

Size: after the rhino and African and Asian elephant, the hippo is the largest land mammal in the world. Males continue growing throughout their lives, typically weighing around 1.5 tonnes but sometimes even reaching 3 tonnes.

Diet: hippos feed almost entirely on grass although they have been filmed eating carrion, and there are even reports of them predating on other animals. Hippos are born with sterile intestines and have to eat their mother’s faeces to get the bacteria needed to break down their food.

Did you know: while large, heavy animals, hippos are surprisingly sprightly and are capable of running over 30 km per hour. The name ‘hippopotamus’ comes from the ancient Greek for ‘river horse’. Hippos secrete a natural, red-coloured sunblock which also helps to kill bacteria on their skin.

Location: hippos were once widespread in rivers, lakes, and swamps across Africa and Europe. Nowadays they are only found in Africa – from Ethiopia down to South Africa.

Where TO SEE hippos

According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see hippos in the following places:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Amboseli
Kenya
100%
very high
5.0
very good
2
reports
Kruger
South Africa
100%
very high
5.0
very good
1
reports
Lake Naivasha
Kenya
100%
very high
4.3
very good
4
reports
Maasai Mara
Kenya
40%
average
5.0
very good
5
reports

Photo credit: ArtTower under a Creative Commons Licence from Pixabay

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