Order Artiodactyla
Family Hippopotamidae
Genus Hippopotamidae
Species Amphibius
Height 1.3–1.6 metres
Weight 1500 kgs average
Lifespan 25-30 years
Habitat Rivers and swamps of East Africa


Despite the slow, lethargic appearance of the hippopotamus they can move very fast. Living in the rivers and swamps across East Africa they take after their name which means “river horse”. They spend most of the day partially submerged in the water, protecting themselves from the heat and sunburn. The ears, eyes and nostrils are situated on on the head so they are clear of the water when mostly submerged.

On average they live in herds of between 5-15 animals, ususally consisting of dominant bull that defends the territory. The characteristic yawning is a dominance signal and warning to intruders.

Hippos are nocturnal animals and at night they will leave the water to eat. Even though they have big incisor teeth they play little part in feeding as hippos are grazers and 90% of their diet is grass. If needed, they will travel several miles to reach fresh grass.

They can swim well and walk along the bottom of the river-beds while submerged.

Along with the Pgymy Hippopotamus they make up the Hippopotamidae family.

Hippos can run upto 30 miles an hour

They can remain under water for up to six minutes

In deep water young hippos will ride on their mothers back.

Hippos jaws can open up to 150 degrees wide.

Baby hippos weigh about 45kgs when born.


BOOKS ON HIPPOS Amazon.co.uk

The Hippopotamus

Author: S Keith Eltringham
Hippos are unusual in being genuinely amphibious. This has a fundamental effect on their physiology and way of life. Following a general introduction, there is a detailed description of hippo anatomy and physiology, including facts about their skin structure and physiology.

The Hippopotamus (Animal Close-Ups)

Author: Christine Denis-Huot, Michel Denis-Hout,
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback - 27 pages (August 1994)
Charlesbridge Publishing Inc; ISBN: 0881064335


Hippos (Nature Watch)

Author: Sally M. Walker, Gerry Ellis,
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Library Binding - 48 pages (December 1997)
Carolrhoda Books Inc.; ISBN: 1575050781


Hippos (Giant Animals Series)

Author: Marianne Johnston
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Library Binding (August 1998)
Powerkids Pr; ISBN: 0823951456


Freshwater Giants : Hippopotamus, River Dolphins, and Manatees (Watts Library: Animals)

Author: Phyllis J. Perry
Reading level: Ages 9-12
School & Library Binding - 64 pages (September 1999)
Franklin Watts; ISBN: 0531116816


Hippopotamus Links

Hippo Kisses
A home page created for Hippo lovers with hippo facts and photos.

Hippo World
All things Hippo.

Honolulu Zoo - Hippopotamus
Hippopotamus Fact Sheet



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