Hippopotamuses, or “hippos” for short, are only found in the wild on the African continent. Their name literally means “river horse” from the Ancient Greek. Because they tend to “sweat” out a substance that is oily and red, ancient traditions said that hippos would sweat blood.
In reality, this substance acts like a sunscreen and prevents the skin of the hippo from becoming too dry.
Interesting Facts About Hippos
#1. Adult hippos may submerge themselves in water for long periods of time. Their lung capacity is not large, however, so this means a hippo will need to surface in order to take a breath about once every 3 minutes. On the average day, a hippo might spend up to 16 hours being submerged in water.
#2. Hippos tend to be aggressive when they are around a source of water. This is because rivers, streams, and small lakes are the places where they tend to raise families. Mothers and their young will join together into “schools” so they can protect themselves more effectively against predators like lions or crocodiles.
#3. The hippo might seem like a large, slow animal, but it is surprisingly fast. Scientists have observed hippos running as fast as 30mph over a short distance.
#4. Hippos will typically stay near a water source, but may travel upwards of 10 kilometers in order to find food. Hippos are considered to be herbivores, but they have been observed attacking other animals and acting like carnivores as well. Yet if a hippo eats too much meat, it will also become sick.
#5. The most dangerous predator of the hippo is one that you can’t see with your eyes. Hippos are particularly sensitive to Anthrax, which is a rod-shaped bacterium that spreads by growing spores – sort of like a fungus. A hippo spends up to 6 hours per day grazing and this makes them susceptible to exposure since Anthrax occurs naturally in the soil.
#6. The closest animal relatives to the hippo are cetaceans. This means a hippo has more in common with dolphins and whales than they do other land animals.
#7. A group of hippos is called a “herd.” It is always led by the most dominant male in the territory. All other members of the herd are either juveniles or female hippos.
#8. Hippos are known to live for a long time. In the wild, hippos have a lifespan of about 40 years. In captivity, hippos have been known to live for up to 50 years.
Live Hippo Cams
Hippos prefer to be fairly sedentary, which makes it a lot easier to watch them on webcams than many other animals. For hippos in captivity, underwater webcams are a possibility as well. Here are the top streaming locations which show hippos right now.
View Toledo Zoo Hippo Cam.
View Mpala Hippo Live Cam.
Hippos will protect their water territories with a ferocious clash.