Published May 11, 2018 | Activities, Animals, Endangered, Wildlife

This week, we’ll tell you some interesting information about the extraordinary hippopotamus or a.k.a hippos. We love our animals, we do. It excites us to introduce the animals at Bali Safari Park to you personally, and give you the chance to get to know them before meeting and greeting them at our park.

The magnificent African animal (Hippopotamus – ancient Greek for river horse) is commonly found submerged beneath the water with only his nostrils peeking out.

hippopotamus in the river

Here are 12 fascinating facts about the hippopotamus.

  1. Despite residing in the water for a large portion of their lives, hippos can’t swim or float! They walk or stand on surfaces, like sandbanks, below the water. Hippopotamus go about their day in the water to protect their skin from the sun.
  2. They secrete an oily red substance that acts as a moisturizer, sunblock, and protects them from germs. Don’t let it fool you – some may suspect them to be sweating blood.
  3. They can put their breathing on auto mode! Although they can hold their breath up to seven minutes, most adult hippos resurface every three to five minutes for oxygen. Even sleeping hippo surface without waking.
  4. Hippos are able to close their nostrils and ears to prevent water from entering.
  5. An open mouth can be misconstrued as a yawn, while it’s much more serious than that. This means they are marking their territory and warning you off. You can hear ‘honking’ and ‘grunting’ as well.
  6. A hippo’s life span is up to 40 years.hippopotamus
  7. The hippo’s closest relatives are whales and porpoises!
  8. Due to their big size, the hippopotamus is the third largest land mammal after the elephant and white rhinoceros.
  9. Hippos come out of the water at night for four to five hours to graze and can cover up to 10km in this time. They mainly feed on grass and they graze using their muscular lips!
  10. The hippopotamus is one of the most dangerous animals in Africa, as it is highly territorial and aggressive. So you wouldn’t want to get between it and the water! They using their canine (sharp) teeth for fighting.
  11. These majestic mammals were once found throughout all sub-saharan Africa. However, populations have declined due to habitat loss and hunting. They are predominantly confined to protected areas in East African countries.
  12. Hippos live in groups (herds) of around ten to 20 individuals or even more, led by one dominant male.

Learn more about the animals at Bali Safari Park and keep your eyes peeled for more animal profiles!