Among Africa’s unusual creatures is a barrel-shaped gigantic animal, the hippopotamus (plural hippopotami). The hippo is the 3rd largest land pet after the elephant and the rhino. Contempt smaller yet heavier 보다 a white rhino, a hippo have the right to weigh practically 1,800 kg. The animal is vast and barrel shaped almost 12 feet long and also five feet at its shoulder, with a brief thick neck and tiny ears.

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River steeds <Illustration through Anup Singh>River horses

Hippos, or to usage their biological name, hippopotamus amphibious literally means ‘river horse’. Recent DNA (a test because that genes) has revealed the the hippo is more closely concerned cetaceans (whales and also dolphins) than to any kind of other artiodactyls (even-toed hoofed mammal).

Hippos room hoofed vegetarians, feeding on grass, please fruit, and occasionally on cultivated plants such together sugar cane or corn throughout the night.

Hippos like rivers through deep water and nearby reed beds and also grasslands, yet are likewise found in salt-water locations near flow mouths. They are well- adapted to remain in water and also are wonderful swimmers. Your ears and also nostrils located at the height of the head – close automatically when the pet is under water.

Why is a hippopotamus called a flow horse?Why is a hippopotamus called a flow horse?

These pets prefer to continue to be in water v the day comes out only at night come forage because that food. This find for food might take them five miles inland and also so castle liberally note the course with their dung and also urine to help them uncover their way back home prior to dawn.

Adults may consume about 100 pounds the grass cut the grass off through their wide lips and not through their this like many grazers.

Hippo hide has virtually no hair, and also its smooth skin is quite vulnerable exuding a red, oily liquid that keeps the skin moist and protected when it is the end of water. This has frequently led first-time explorers to arrive at the mistaken presumption that hippos sweat blood.

Hippos have huge tusk-like incisors and also canines that thrive continuously. This tusks space of ivory, and also even an ext valuable than an elephant’s due to the fact that they do not turn yellow v age. It is a fact that us President George Washington’s false this were sculpted from the tusks the a hippopotamus and also not made of wood, together is generally believed!

A hippo has the widest jaws on any type of land mammal and when it opens up its mouth to yawn the mouth steps two feet across! however despite its size and bulk, a hippopotamus can conveniently outrun a human.

A hippo herd usually contains ten to fifteen animals consisting of a leading male, a few subordinate males, and also several females and also their young.

One calf is born at a time, after a gestation of about 230 days. Births usually take place in months of heavy rainfall, yet can take place year-round. Young hippos will also bask on their mother’s back. Young males often type separate “bachelor” teams along the outskirts of the key herd.

The hippo’s present-day selection is confined come sub-Saharan Africa. In old times, hippos were uncovered as much north together the Nile delta. In fact, pictures of the hippopotamus are reasonably common in ancient Egyptian art. Today, its selection is minimal to the lakes, rivers, and swamps of east and central Africa.

Most claim that hippos room docile creatures when others preserve that hippos space aggressive, short-tempered beasts. Nearly all african explorers and hunters – Dr Livingston, Stanley, Burton, and Selous, etc – have had actually boating accidents with hippos, despite it is not known if castle provoked the hippo.

Hippos are likewise extremely safety of their young and also there is no animal much more dangerous than a hippo if you happen to come between it and their young.

However, the hippo does offer ample warning v an ear-splitting bellow favor the roar of a lion and by opening its mouth in a huge yawn. The hippo’s yawn is no a sign of sleepiness or boredom but is actually a threatening gesture. A single bite deserve to snap a tiny boat in half.

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Unfortunately the hippo is poached both because that its ivory tusks and for the skin. Rawhide whips are made that its skin if the tusks bring a hefty sum in the black color market.