The Common Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) can be uncovered in the lakes, swamps and also slow-flowing rivers of West, Central, East and South Africa. They can weigh as much as three and also a fifty percent tons and also their ‘hide’ (skin) can weigh increase to fifty percent a ton alone. The typical Hippopotamus have the right to measure up to 13 feet lengthy (twice as long as a an extremely tall human being) and 5 feet tall.

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Common Hippo Characteristics


The common Hippopotamus has a plump, bulky body which balances ~ above four quick stumpy legs. These ‘stumpy’ foot are fairly versatile. Every hippo foot has actually 4 toes and although they are webbed, because that water usage, they are evenly sprayed enough to support the hippo as soon as it is top top land.

A hippos skin is usually greyish-brown and is fully hairless, apart from a couple of bristles approximately its mouth and also tail-end. Back the hippo has no sweat glands in the skin (like a pig), they have actually special glands that develop a red fluid. This red fluid protects their skin indigenous the sun and from infections, return they perform rely heavily on cool water and also mud to avoid over-heating and dehydration. The manufacturing of this liquid increases rapidly as soon as the hippo is excited.

The hippo has a head shaped favor a vast muzzle (female heads are slightly smaller). A hippos small eyes, small ears and nostrils are put high upon their heads – this permits the hippo to smell, see and breath while most of its body is submerged under the water.


Although hippos can not swim due to the fact that their bodies room too thick to float, they spend many of the work in the water. Hippos deserve to stay underneath the water for about 6 minute at a time – to execute this they take it a deep breath and close off your ears and also nostrils. As hippos cannot swim, lock move about by pushing their feet turn off the riverbed and also gallop roughly the bottom that the river in a how amazing graceful format which can resemble a ballet dancer.

Hippo’s vast mouths consists lips that room 2 feet broad and teeth that have the right to bite a 10 foot crocodile in half. Hippos can open their mouths to a enormous 150 degrees or 4 feet wide which present their big tusk-like canines and razor-sharp incisors, capable of biting a little boat in half.


Common Hippopotamus Behaviour

Believe it or not, these large, docile looking pets are actually very aggressive. Despite their size, hippos can out-run a human and can reach speeds the 30 miles every hour. Hippos have emerged some well known rituals to present aggression – the large ‘yawn’ does not typical hippo is tired, it is just one of their many aggressive forms and also shows confrontation in the water. Basically, gift unpredictable, anything that gets in their means will be bitten or trampled.


Here space some an ext common wild rituals the the usual Hippo:

Dung showering – they usage their tails come paddle the dung to show dominance – commonly done by bulls (male hippos).

Rearing, lunging and also jaw-clashing.

Facing aggressor v mouth open – mostly done through a protective female once protecting she young.

Other sounds and actions displaying aggression are:

Water-scooping, head shaking, charging and chasing.

Grunting, roaring and also exhaling explosively above or below the water.

Male hippos likewise have a submissive action – here are some examples:

Approaching in a crouched position – head short – this is an act of a subordinate masculine (one who has less dominance) to a dominant male.

Lying prone (low, with confront down) on land – this usually occurs when the masculine hippo is a hazard of psychic a calf nursery – they deserve to escape the wrath that the woman by laying prone

Hippos are gregarious pets which method they move approximately in groups, enjoying agency of others. Hippos live in herds of 10 – 40 individuals, however, herds that 100 or more hippos have actually been observed. The leading male is the just one allowed to mate with the females the the herd, although periodically he will permit a subordinate male to mate.

The dominant hippo males are is well significant with his dung. The effective scent of the dung advises off other male hippos who might shot and invade his territory. Occasionally fights can ensue once the are is endangered by a rival hippo causing injury and sometimes death.


Hippos room not at risk to condition therefore in perfect habitats and conditions their numbers have the right to increase rapidly. A hippos just predators are other hippos and also unfortunately humans who hunting them for your hides, tusks and also for meat.

The bellowing that a bull hippo actions an ear-splitting 115 decibels and also sounds choose the roar of a lion.

Common Hippopotamus Diet

Although hippos have an extremely sharp teeth and are very big animals, they are in fact herbivores which means they do not eat meat, just plants. Hippos may stay in the waters all day, however, in ~ night they come out of the lakes, swamps and also ponds and head for the grass come graze.

They room amazingly agile animals and good climbers for their size. In ~ night they will climb steep financial institutions to graze top top grass. They can acquire through roughly 100 pounds that grass in one night. This grazing goes on for most of the night, then, prior to sunrise, castle head back into the waters and swamps to digest their food and also for an additional day of lazing beneath the waters surface.

Common Hippopotamus Reproduction

Male hippos are about 7 year old and also females around 9 years old once they end up being ready come mate. Hippo mating normally happens in ~ the dry periods when most of the hippos have congregated about water sources. Mating normally takes location under the water. The mrs hippo will bring her baby for around 240 days. As soon as the time concerns give birth, she will separate from the herd and isolate herself.


One single calf is born, typically underwater and mother and also calf will stay together far from the herd for in between 10 – 44 days. The mother hippo will nudge she calf to the surface of the water to record its an initial breath and also then the calf will certainly take a breath, nearby its nostrils, wrinkles its ears and submerge come nurse on its mother.

A mrs hippo will give birth come a single calf every 2 years. Calves room usually born in the merganser season and weigh around 93 pounds in ~ birth. Calves will start to eat grass at around 3 mainly old, however, the will continue to nurse from its mom for about a year. Severe grazing at night begins at around 5 month old. Calves remain close come their mothers for protection, not just from crocodiles and also lions, but from masculine hippos that oddly sufficient do not bother with the calves ~ above land yet can strike young males in the water.

On land, the calves can likewise be trampled on by the masculine hippos during chasing, fighting and also stampedes. If a masculine hippo comes close to the young, a mother hippo will certainly mob the male hippo who will then lay low and still come let her understand he expected no harm. It is unsure why the male hippos strike the young male hippos, maybe due to the fact that they room male and also are viewed as a threat. Most often, nurseries are developed containing many little calves who are safeguarded by 1 – 7 cows while the other mothers go and also graze.

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Common Hippopotamus conservation Status

Hippo populations across the continent are threatened by habitat loss and unregulated hunting. The hippopotamus has actually been moved on to the so-called Red List attracted up by the civilization Conservation Union (IUCN) in may 2006. This signifies the the typical hippopotamus is currently in serious hazard of extinction.