Hippos are herbivores, meaning they fuel their bodies with plants! Hippos eat, on average, 80 pounds of grass each night.
On this World Hippo Day, learn some fun facts about these beautiful animals!
1. Hippos are the third largest mammals on Earth
Native to Africa, hippos are the third largest land mammals. Elephants and White Rhinos are the two largest land mammals.
2. There are two species of hippopotamids
The most widely-known species of hippopotamus is the common hippopotamus, or Hippopotamus amphibius. These hippos can measure 6 to 16 feet long. The pygmy hippo, or Choeropsis liberiensis, a smaller species of hippopotamus, is an average 5 feet long.
While not considered nocturnal, most of the hippos’ foraging and activity happen during the night. They leave their resting waters near dusk and return in the morning.
8. They produce their own sunblock!
Hippos live in sub-Saharan Africa, where the sun’s UV rays are incredibly strong. Hippos have adapted an ability to produce a red, oily liquid which acts as a natural sunblock.
9. Hippos can identify friends from enemies
Fascinatingly, hippos can identify a friend from foe by smelling their dung – or poop! Hippos use middens, or outdoor areas where they repeatedly go to the bathroom. Hippos can then sniff the area to find out who’s been there, and if they’re considered a friend.
10. Hippos serve an integral role in their ecosystems
Hippos are not listed as endangered, but are considered vulnerable to extinction. Hippos are facing poaching and habitat fragmentation at a staggering rate. The leading causes of habitat fragmentation are natural disasters driven by human activity and climate change. Factory farming is a major culprit in greenhouse gas emissions and a primary driver of climate change. You can help hippos, and other animals, by lessening your meat consumption and carbon footprint on Earth. Check out the Meating Halfway 21-Day Journey guide to find out how you can make a difference.