- Hippos are primarily herbivorous, but they have been observed to engage in omnivorous behavior.
- Hippos are the third largest living land mammal.
- Hippos, residing in East and sub-Saharan Africa, cannot swim.
The hippopotamus, also known as a hippo, is a massive amphibious mammal that spends most of its time near “lakes, pools, mudholes, or in the preferred moving waters of rivers,” according to the San Diego Zoo.
While cute looking, hippos are powerful animals whose canine teeth, used for fighting off predators or other hippos, can reach 20 inches in length. With their African wildlife predators, these defensive traits are often necessary.
What do hippos eat? Are they pure herbivores or do their huge strength and size allow them to be more of an omnivore?
What is bigger than a hippo?:Here’s what is the biggest animal in the world
Just Curious?:We’re here to help with life’s everyday questions.
What do hippos eat?
Hippos are primarily herbivorous, meaning they eat only plants, but they have been observed to engage in omnivorous behavior. Live Science says hippos have a “mostly herbivorous appetite,” made up of about 80 pounds of grass each night, as well as fruits found during nightly scavenges.
However, a 2015 study by the Mammal Review shows hippos “occasionally” feed on animal carcasses, a more omnivorous behavior. Hippos are known to attack and eat animals like wildebeests, zebras and kudus, as well as other hippos in cases of cannibalism, according to AZ Animals. They also steal meat from other predators.
Hippos are the third-largest living land mammal, Live Science says, growing to over 10 feet long and five feet tall while weighing between 3,000 and nearly 10,000 pounds. The National Library of Medicine explains hippos are aggressive and dangerous and, when paired with their size and hunger, this makes them a formidable threat to other animals.
Can hippos swim?
Contrary to popular belief, the San Diego Zoo explains hippos cannot swim. The zoo says hippo bodies are too dense to even float. To maneuver in the water, hippos push themselves off the bottom of rivers or just walk around on the floor of the river by a unique gallop.
Are hippos the most dangerous animal?:What is the most dangerous animal in the world? The surprising animal you’ve already met.
Where do hippos rank in speed?:A look at the quickest creatures on land, air and sea.
Where do hippos live?
The common hippo is found in East Africa and sub-Saharan African regions, according to the African Wildlife Foundation. The other, smaller species is the pygmy hippopotamus, which is found in West Africa. The forest-dwelling pygmy hippopotamus is endangered.
Common hippos make their habitats near water sources as they are amphibious mammals that spend “up to 16 hours per day in the water,” says National Geographic.
Growing hippo numbers:Cincinnati Zoo adds a new baby hippo to family
Do hippos eat humans?
Hippos do attack humans, causing 500 human deaths annually in Africa. Hippos are incredibly strong, weighing thousands of pounds, and they use this strength to kill intruders, AZ Animals says.
Hippos also attack other African wildlife, such as lions, hyenas and crocodiles.
What’s a group of hippos?:What is a group of pandas called? It’s actually a bit of an embarrassment.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism