Meet the river horse!

The third largest mammals on land are the hippopotamus. These animals can weigh up to 2000 kg. The common hippopotamus lives near rivers, lakes and mangrove swamps. During the day, they remain cool by staying in the water or mud; reproduction and childbirth both occur in water. They come out at dusk to graze on grasses.

Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius)

While hippopotamuses rest near each other in the water, grazing is a solitary activity and hippos are not territorial on land. The hippopotamus is among the most dangerous animals in the world as it is highly aggressive and unpredictable. They are threatened by habitat loss and poaching for their meat and ivory canine teeth.

 

DISTRIBUTION Africa
HABITAT Rivers, swamps, and protected areas
HEIGHT Length: 13 feet long and 5 feet tall
WEIGHT Up to 3.5 tons
LIFESPAN 50 years
THREATS Hunted for teeth and meat

Hippos are generally aggressive animals - old scars and fresh, deep wounds are signs of daily fights.

Hippos move easily in water, either swimming by kicking their hind legs or walking on the bottom. They are well-adapted to their aquatic life, with small ears, eyes and nostrils set at the top of the head. These senses are so keen that even submerged in water, the hippo is alert to its surroundings. By closing its ears and nostrils, the adult can stay underwater for as long as six minutes.

Hippos are herbivorous. They graze on grass and can graze for 4 to 5 hours each night in loop patterns.

The hippo population is threatened by humans hunting for their fat, ivory tusks and meat, as well as being pushed out of their natural habitat.

African Wildlife Foundation has created protected spaces for the hippopotamus - they are now mostly confined to protected areas.

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Did You Know ?

Hippopotamuses spend a large amount of time in water such as rivers, lakes, and swamps.