- The name hippopotamus means ‘river horse’ and is often shortened to hippo.
- Hippos bask on the shoreline and secrete an oily red substance, which gave rise to the myth that they sweat blood. The liquid is actually a skin moistener and sunblock that may also provide protection against germs.
- Hippopotamuses spend a large amount of time in water such as rivers, lakes and swamps.
- It is the second heaviest land animal after the elephant.
- Hippos give Birth to their babies under water to protect them from falling; as soon as the baby is born it swims upward to catch air.
- Their particular gravity enables them to walk and sink at the base of the water.
- Scientists believe this family of animals diverged in evolution around 55 million years ago.
- Hippos are threatened by habitat loss and poachers who hunt them for their meat and teeth.
- Despite its stocky shape and short legs, it can easily outrun most humans. Hippos have been clocked at 30 km/h over short distances.
- There have been reports of a few large hippo herds of close to 200 hippos.
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