Animals of the world, Hippo

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  • Hippos live in eastern, central and southern sub-Saharan Africa
  • The Hippopotamus is Greek for “river horse,” and the animal has been known since ancient times. The common hippopotamus inhabits rivers, lakes and mangrove swamps
  • The hippo has a bulky body with stumpy legs, an enormous head, a short tail, and four toes on each foot
  • Despite its stocky shape and short legs, it is capable of running 30 km/h (19 mph) over short distances
  • Males stand about 1.5 metres (5 feet) tall, and weigh 3,200 kg (3.5 tons)
  • Colour is greyish brown, with pinkish underparts
  • Their skin secretes a natural sunscreen substance which is red-coloured
  • Hippos spend up to 16 hours a day submerged in rivers and lakes to keep their massive bodies cool – hippos don’t sweat –  under the hot African sun
  • At sunset, hippopotamuses leave the water and travel overland to graze. They may travel 10 km (6 miles) at night, along familiar paths, to consume some 35 kg (80 pounds) of grass.
  • The bite force of an adult female has been measured as 8,100 newtons (1,800 lbs)
  • Although hippos lie close to each other, they do not seem to form social bonds except between mothers and daughters, and they are not social animals
  • Longevity is up to 61 years in captivity, but rarely more than 40 in the wild.

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