The hippopotamus, also known as Hippo, is the third-largest land mammal after elephants and rhinoceros. The hippo is a big semiaquatic animal found in Sub-Saharan Africa. Because they spend so much time in the water, their name is derived from the Greek word for “water horse” or “river horse”.
Hippos have enormous barrel-shaped torsos, wide-opening mouths with large canine tusks, and virtually hairless bodies. Mature male hippopotamuses can weigh up to 1,500 kg, whereas adult female hippopotamuses can weigh up to 1,300 kg.
There are many misconceptions about this unique, yet lethal megaherbivore. Let’s take a closer look at a few of them.
Hippo is a Great Swimmer?
Hippos spend the majority of their time in rivers, lakes, and mangrove swamps. As a result, most of us believe they are excellent swimmers. It is the exact opposite. They can’t swim. Instead, they lie in the shallows, stand on the lake floor, balance on their tippy-toes, or trot across it.
Hippo can Breathe Underwater?
Hippos dive and stay underwater frequently. They cannot, however, breathe underwater. They can only hold their breath for about 7 minutes. They usually resurface every 3 to 5 minutes to breathe. The resurfacing and breathing motions are automatic. Even if a hippo is in deep sleep underwater, it will rise to the surface to take a breath without waking up.
Hippo does not like Hot Weather?
Hippos are frequently spotted in the water. But it’s not because of the oppressive heat. Its purpose is to shield their extremely sensitive skin from direct sunlight. When a hippo is exposed to direct sunlight, their skin secretes a reddish oily fluid. Because of its reddish colour, this secretion was dubbed “blood sweat.” It is not, however, sweat or blood because the hippo has no sweat glands on its skin.
The two main components of “blood sweat” are hipposudoric acid, which is red, and norhipposudoric acid, which is orange. This secretion has sunscreen and anti-bacterial properties.
Hippo is a Territorial Animal?
Hippos do exhibit territorial behaviour, but only in the water and not on land. Water is a safer environment for hippos, possibly due to fewer predators. As a result, the most important events in their lives, such as mating and giving birth, take place in water. To mark their territory, hippos make honking or grunting sounds in the water.
Hippo is a Big Eaters?
Hippos are commonly thought to eat a lot due to their massive body size. In reality, they only consumed 1 to 1.5% of their body weight daily. It is a small eater in comparison to other herbivores. Cows, for example, consume 2% of their body weight daily, whereas goats consume 3 to 4% of their body weight daily.