Impressive and often misunderstood, the hippo is a natural wonder in its own right. With 15th February marking World Hippo Day, we thought we’d share a few interesting facts about this incredible creature forms part of the unique ecosystem in Zambia.
- Hippos are the second-largest land animal on the planet. First place, of course, goes to the African elephant. Male hippos can get to 3.5m long and 1.5m tall. Where weight is concerned, they can tip the scales at 3 200kg.
- A group of hippos can be between 10 and 20 individuals and are commonly known as a raft of hippos. These are usually led by a single dominant male hippo. The rest of the herd are females, offspring and young non-breeding males.
- To cope with intense heat in Africa, hippos wallow in bodies of water. Thanks to the position of their eyes and nose on top of their heads, they’re able to stay in the water for longer periods of time.
- Another interesting cooling mechanism is the secretion of an oily red liquid from sebaceous glands all over their bodies. This prevents their skin from drying out almost like an all-natural sunscreen.
- Hippos are the most active at night. This is the time of day when they venture out to forage for food, usually suitable short grass a few kilometres away from the water’s edge.
- The average hippo can consume around 35kg of grass in a single evening.
- Hippos can hold their breath for up to five minutes underwater. During this time spent submerged, their ears and nostrils fold shut.
- When you see a male hippo opening its mouth this is to show dominance and protect their herd. This is usually when you see their huge canines.
Get a closer look at this species
Whether on land or in water, hippos are always a wonderful sighting for our guests at Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience. Ready to enjoy a hippo encounter of your own? Contact us today to book your adventure when you email firstname.lastname@example.org.