Fun Fact Friday: Hippo

Four months ago a premature baby hippo from Cincinnati Zoo became a global star. Thanks to the cutest and most adorable hippo updates from her carers in the zoo, Fiona the hippo has stolen all our hearts.

It is well known that a hippopotamus can be a little hostile and violent at times, they’re even classed as one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. But with the sweetest hippo mascot about we had to find out some fun facts about this wonderful species.

  1. There is a myth that hippos sweat blood. False, the oily red substance covering a hippo actually acts as moisturiser and sunblock.
  2. Hippos cant breath underwater in fact they have to resurface every three to five minutes. The process of resurfacing and breathing is automatic and even a sleeping hippo can rise for breath without waking up.
  3. Hippo’s cant actually swim, or float, they just bob about in the water.
  4. Known for being angry and dangerous this is only when hippos are in the water. Hippos are very territorial in the water because that’s where reproduction and birth takes place.
  5. Baby hippos weigh around 45kg at birth and can feed on land and in water simply by closing their ears and nostrils.
  6. A couple in South Africa, Tonie and Shirley Joubert became the adoptive parents of a baby hippo after she was washed away from her mother during the floods. Jessica lives as a wild hippo as an adult and regularly returns home for a visit.
  7. Hippos are very social and can usually be found in mixed groups, called a herd, of about 15 – despite the large number in a group there is a hierarchy amongst the hippos.
  8. Hippopotamus comes from the Ancient Greek for river horse.
  9. Despite their size hippos can run very fast even with their short, stubby legs that can reach speeds of 40kmph.
  10. The average age for a hippo to live to is 45 years old.


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