This animal is considered the third heaviest in the world behind the rhinoceros and the elephant (Shutterstock)

As each February 15 is celebrated on international hippo dayhe third heaviest extant mammal At present, this “party” aims to raise awareness and awareness of this species that has aroused great admiration in the scientific world since ancient times, due to its size, behavior and the activities carried out in its environment.

This herbivore is native to Africa. Rhinos and elephants are the only land animals that exceed it in size.. In the scientific world, only two species are known: hippopotamus amphibius there Choeropsis libiensis. The former measure between 1.8 and 4.8 meters in height, while the latter measure an average of 1.5 metres.

According to information from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), this mammal It weighs up to 3,628 kilograms. Their instinct makes them “run away” from the heat, so it is common to see them in the water day and night. come ashore to feed on the grasslands and fallen fruit.

On the occasion of this day, we will tell you some curious facts about this mammal also called “river horse”.

Hippos are able to hold their breath underwater for up to 5 minutes (File)
Hippos are able to hold their breath underwater for up to 5 minutes (File)

Although being one of the heaviest animals in the world, this species is able to run at high speed to escape its predators. According to information from the magazine National geographic, They are strong swimmers and can hold their breath underwater for up to 5 minutes..

“If hippos feel threatened, they can match speed on land over short distances,” they described in the animal’s fact sheet published in the digital magazine.

World Animal Protectionan organization in favor of animals, detailed on its website which Due to their great ability to hold their breath underwater, they can take long walks in lakes. and rivers, it is thanks to this ability that he is known as the river horse.

Male hippos in general "they misunderstand" of their young, so all care remains in the hands of the female (Reuters)
Male hippos usually ‘ignore’ their young, so all care is left to the female (Reuters)

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has detailed on its page that the the hippopotamus is regionally extinct in the Mediterranean. In Algeria, Egypt and Mauritania it was rare to see them even during the expansion of the Roman Empire and gradually records of sightings of this mammal in the region dwindled.

Currently some specimens are found in central and southern African countrieswhich are considered a stronghold for their conservation.

“Although common hippos are found in many West African countries, overall population size tends to be much smaller“, detailed the organization in the description of the population of the mammal. The IUCN has warned that in recent years the number of hippos has declined and currently it is estimated that there are between 125,000 and 148,000 specimens.

This mammal emerges from the water at night to feed on grasses and fallen fruits (File)
This mammal emerges from the water at night to feed on grasses and fallen fruits (File)

During the female courtship season, male hippos display a high level of aggression. According to biologist Cristina Simon in her blog post animal specialistthese animals engage in a discussion in which they use their heads to show their power.

“To do this, they open their mouths, show their teeth to the opponent and strike each other with their jaws,” Cristina explained of how they demonstrate their superiority over other males. Even if It seems like a very violent attitude, they usually don’t hurt each other since the weaker surrenders as soon as he recognizes his disadvantage compared to the other.

Clarina Simon explained that a newborn hippo weighs between 35 and 62 kilos. Two days after birth, the mothers of the herd gather to protect their young from predators, since the males are not involved in the care of the young.

These Mammals reach sexual maturity between 6 and 9 years oldHowever, they are able to reproduce for up to 45 years, which is their average lifespan. Females generally have a young every two years, explains the biologist.


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