Please input your name and e-mail to subscribe or unscubscribe our newsletter:
Scientific Name: Hippopotamus amphibius
Range & Habitat: Grasslands, wetlands and rivers throughout Africa
Size: Weighs 2½-5 tons; body length is up to 15 feet long. Hippos stand approximately five feet tall.
Life Span: Can live up to 49 years in captivity
Gestation: 210-255 days, usually single births; calf weighs about 100 lbs.
Wild Diet: Aquatic plants, grass and foliage
Zoo Diet: Hay, grain and produce (watermelons and cantaloupes as treats)
Habits: Hippopotamuses live in groups of females and their young, and the bulls live separately. Mating, birthing and nursing usually take place in the water. A hippopotamus can remain completely submerged for up to five minutes. Its eyes, ears and nostrils are situated on top of its head to remain above the water while the hippo stays underwater. When diving, its nostrils and ears close.
Hippos spend the day in the water and the night foraging on land. On land, they are good walkers and relatively fast runners.
The hippo's skin has glands which secrete a viscous reddish-pink fluid that moistens the skin during dry periods and provides protection from the sun. Before the purpose of the fluid was determined, it was once thought that hippos sweat blood.
Hippopotamus is a Greek name meaning "River Horse."