Known for being large and sometimes in charge of the water the hippo is one animal whose presence is felt at all times. The Greeks gave them the name “river horse” and when you think about it well it makes sense. We all know that hippos spend hours submerged in water but what most people don’t know is that hippos spend up to 16 hours immersed in water. Staying in the water is the best way to keep their large bodies cool since the African sun isn’t that kind.
When it comes to swimming, hippos happen to be the best of swimmers. Hippos can hold their breath underwater for five minutes and that’s a long time. Due to their large bodies hippos can stand or walk on the lake floor, sometimes they also lay in the shallows. Hippo’s nostrils and eyes are perfectly situated high on their heads, this makes it easy for them to breathe and see whilst immersed in water.
Basking on the shoreline is one of the things hippos love to do. Their skin secretes an oily red substance which acts as a sunblock and skin moistener. This also helps to protect against germs. Hippos graze at sunset so they leave the water and travel 10km in a single night. They consume about 35 kilograms of grass which is very little considering their large size. Whenever hippos come under attack or threat they run for their safety net, the water.
At birth hippo calves weigh 45 kilograms. The calves can suckle on land and underwater this they do by closing their nostrils and ears. The female hippo only has one calf every two years. Shortly after birth, both the mother and calf join schools that provide protection against lions, crocodiles and hyenas. Some hippos can be found in eastern central and southern sub-Saharan Africa.
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