Today we're taking a step back to admire one of our favourite semi-aquatic animals! The Hippopotamus (or hippopotamus amphibious for you geeks!) is not only one of the largest land animals (coming third to the Elephant and Rhino), but is also a pretty great "swimmer" despite its enormous size.
The hippo currently holds a vulnerable status – this means that unless certain conditions improve, the hippo could become an endangered species. In the hippo's case, it is threatened by hunting and human population growth, the latter causing them to be pushed out of their habitat. Currently, the hippo is now mostly living in protected areas.
We know there may be some hippo-related things that may be unfamiliar to you, so we’ve compiled a list of our favourite hippo facts!
- A hippo's lifespan is around 40 years
- Hippos LOVE water, hence their nickname "river horse". They love water so much, they can spend up to 16 hours a day submerged in water!
- Hippos can hold their breath underwater for up to 5 minutes
- Hippos secrete an oily red substance from their pores which serves as a sunblock, skin moistener and protection against certain germs. This gave birth to the myth that hippos sweat blood…spooky!
- Hippos are fast runners, believe it or not! They can run about 18 miles per hour over a short distance
- Hippos are not only very aggressive, but they are considered one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. That said, no matter how cute they may be, do not approach them!
Happy National Hippo Day, folks!
Facts from nationalgeographic.com and onekindplanet.org