Hippopotamus look really scary and creepy. However, they are portrayed in many children movies and cartoons as funny and playful. In fact, their roles have always been very sweet. Of course, who wouldn’t love hippos? Amidst their grizzly-looking figures many clothes company still choose to print them in children apparels. Surely, any person on earth would also dare to see and watch hippos for real. Now, before you know it, here are the 10 facts about hippos that will totally surprise you.
Fact #1: Hippos originally live in Sub-Saharan Africa but Greeks call them river horse, because they look like horses in waters. Smaller hippos known as the pygmy hippopotamus are found in West Africa. They are solitary dwellers in the forest but are now very rare.
Fact #2: Hippos love water and spend at least 16 hours a day being submerged in cold water. However, although they are aquatic animals, they don’t know how to swim. Their body is so thick and massive that they found it so difficult to float. Baby hippos can weigh nearly 100 pounds or 45 kilograms at birth. Full grown hippos can weight 5, 000 to 8, 000 lbs.
Fact #3: Hippos are very shy and timid. They easily get scared and when they are threatened on land, they run for refuge in the waters. Their speed is just as fast as human when they run. Most of all, they don’t eat humans because they are herbivores. They can travel for 6 miles during night and can eat 35 kilograms of grass a day.
Fact #4: Hippos are very slow movers. Since their body is made of massive weight, they can only travel 8 km/h (5 mph) in water and 30 km/h on land.
Fact #5: Hippos are mammals. They usually mate and give birth in the water. Every female hippo can only have one baby in every two years. Soon after they give birth, they join a group of other hippos to protect themselves from lions, hyenas, and crocodiles.
Fact #6: Baby hippos are known as calf. They travel in pack called herd, pod, bloat or dale.
Fact #7: Hippos can only live up to 45 years. Scientists believe that hippos already lived even 55 million years ago. They are often mistaken as rhinoceros but they are not the same. Rhinoceros have hair and bumpy legs. Most of them have two horns on the snout and are found in the parts of Java and India.
Fact #8: Hippos are known to be one of the most deadly animals in Africa but they don’t really kill people. They have no horns or humps and they eat grass. Their huge canines are used to defend themselves from other wild animals. However, they can really get so scared when threatened and fight back with their huge body. Hippos are now very rare and the government is pushing on a lot of programs to preserve them.
Fact #9: Hippos are the third largest mammal next to rhinoceros and elephant. Their head and body can be as huge as 9.5 to14 ft while their tail is just very small with a size almost equal to a rule (35 to 50 centimeters).
Fact #10: Hippos secrete a red fluid. Old folks call it blood sweat, which cause the water submerged with hippos to be a muddy and reddish. In the old times, people kill them for the belief that they are harmful or hunt them for food. However, hippos don’t really shed blood. The liquid is a skin moistener and sun block that protects hippos from the stinging sun rays of the South African borders.