Remember the ballerina hippos in the Disney movie, “Fantasia?” They were agile and adorable. In real life, though, hippos are slow, lumbering animals. They can run fast for short distances, but they prefer to spend most of the day floating in rivers and lakes.
In fact, if hippos spend too much time out of the water, their skin gets burned and they become dehydrated. You can probably hold your breath for only a few seconds, but hippos can stay underwater for up to 30 minutes. Hippos love the water, but they can’t swim. They’re much too heavy. After all, a male hippo can weigh up to 10,000 pounds! Instead, hippos float around, kicking off from the bottom of the river to move themselves.
Fun Facts about Hippos for Kids
- Hippos usually have one baby. When the baby is born, it weighs 50 to 110 pounds. That’s as much as your average fourth grader.
- Hippo babies can nurse underwater.
- Hippos look cute, but they are one of the most dangerous mammals on earth. They have teeth that can be 20 inches long and they are aggressive.
- These big animals don’t have sweat glands. A red liquid comes out of their skin. It looks like blood, but it’s not. It coats their bodies and keeps them cool.
- Agile: quick, flexible
- Adorable: cute
- Lumbering: awkward
- Dehydrated: not enough water in the body
- Aggressive: likes to fight
Learn More All About Hippos
Watch this maternal video about hippos:
A short documentary about a mother hippo caring for her young.
Hippo Questions & Answers
Question 1: How do Hippos see underwater?
Answer 1: Hippos have a clear film that protects their eyes – sort of like their very own hippo goggles.
Question 2: Do Hippos live in groups?
Answer 2: Yes, Hippos live in groups with a male, or bull, which is in charge and several females and babies.
Question 3: How long do Hippopotamus live?
Answer 3: Hippos can live up to 50 years old.
Question 4: What do Hippopotamus like to eat?
Answer 4: Hippos eat (graze) on land, they eat creeping grass. They prefer short grass that is found close to water as it’s easier for them to digest. Hippos also eat fruit if available. Hippos sometimes eat meat, generally if grass is hard to find, meat wouldn’t be their first choice.
Question 5: Are Hippopotamus Dangerous?
Answer 5: Hippos are very dangerous animals and should never be approached. They attack humans on a regular basis and are one of Africa’s most feared animal. Hippos are responsible for hundreds of deaths every year. They are very territorial animal with a highly aggressive manner.
Question 6: Are Hippos fast runners on land?
Answer 6: Surprisingly enough, Hippos over a short distance are extremely fast. They can run at speeds at up to 50kp/h. You will not outrun a hippo.