Fun Facts About Hippos

Many have come to discover the world anew. Through geocaching or simply traveling, many have come to find out new things. Just like any other thing, you might not know some things about hippos, too. Hippos are fun and gentle creatures.

It is common knowledge that hippos love water. One interesting fact about hippos is that the Greeks called them ‘water horses.’ The name was derived from the animal’s love for the water. They enjoy soaking in the water for up to 16 hours a day.


Then again, these are already common knowledge. There are a lot of interesting things that you don’t know about hippos yet. So here are some fun facts about hippos that you should know.


Hippos are graceful dancers

Despite their big bodies, hippos can dance gracefully in the water. Since they love water so much, they became good swimmers. Another interesting fact about hippos is that they can stay underwater for 5 minutes. Their vast bodies allow them to walk or waddle in shallow rivers. Their eyes and nostrils’ position also allows them to see and breathe while a majority of their body is submerged.

Natural sunblock

What would you give to have your body secrete its own sunblock? Hippos have this special feature. Hippos secrete oily red substances that often get mistaken for blood. These red oily substances are natural skin moistener and sunblock. This could also help them protect their skin against germs. So, by now, you should be well aware that hippos don’t sweat blood. It is only a myth.


Hippos eat grass

This might be one of the things that you don’t know about hippos. Just like horses, hippos feed on grass. When the sun sets, hippos leave the water and travel for 6 miles to graze 80 pounds of grass.

They are the second-largest land animal

If you must know, whales are the largest mammals on earth. But for land animals, the title goes to the elephants, and hippos come second. Male hippos are measured 3.5 meters long and 1.5 meters tall. In that scale, they weigh up to 3,200 kilograms.

Most active during the night

Often, you see hippos in televisions lazing on water, just waddling or simply soaking themselves. You might even think, as a kid, that that must be the reason why they are heavily set. But what you might not know is that hippos travel up to 6 miles during the night to forage for food.

Hippos are coordinated

Have you seen ducks walking down the road? They travel in groups. Just like them, hippos travel in groups, too. However, they are a bit more organized than ducks. Hippos walk along in a single-file. They are pretty intelligent and organized.

Just like lions

You might be thinking, ‘how can a huge, gentle, and idle animal-like hippo be like a lion?’. They live in groups called herds. Just like lion herds, male hippos lead the herd. Male hippos are protective of their herd. They open their mouth to reveal their long curved canines to warn off any potential rivals. They might even show aggression, such as: making loud grunts and aggressively splashing water.

Female hippos

Female hippos are called cows since their young ones are called calves. Female hippos are able to give birth to, usually, a single calf every two years. After the calf is born, both the mother and the calf join a group to protect themselves against predators, such as crocodiles, hyenas, and lions

40 – 50-year life span

Interestingly, hippos live longer in captivity than in the wild. In the wild, hippos live up to 40 years, while they live for up to 50 years in captivity. Still, many factors consider the difference in their life span, including their protection against predators and natural disasters.

A hippo’s yawn

You have probably seen hippos opening and closing their mouth. This may look like a yawn considering their idle behavior. In reality, when hippos open their mouth, note that it is a warning sign.


Hippos also yawn as an act of marking their territory. When hippos mark their territory, you would hear them honking and grunting.

Not as gentle as you think

You would think that hippos are gentle because you see them idling in water. However, hippos are considered highly aggressive and the most dangerous animal in Africa. They mainly show aggression when you approach them in the water or stop them from going in. Their canines are not only used to warn rivals but are used for fighting.

Not all things are what they seem to be. Remember that before you read this, you’ve thought that hippos are gentle and idle. But after reading this, you might have changed your thoughts.