Hippo Fun Facts
Did you know the following facts about hippos?:
- The name HIPPOPOTAMUS literally means "River Horse" from the Greek terms hippos - horse and potamus - river... but there is very little horse-like about the animal.
- Despite their intimidating size and teeth, hippos are herbivores. They spend a greater part of the night grazing. During the day, they rest by gently wallowing in the river and sometimes sleeping in the water with their head on a rock.
- Groups of hippos are referred to as "schools."
- Each school consists of a group of females and bachelors under the control of a territorial bull that is easily recognised from its confident and aggressive behaviour.
- Despite its enormous size and disproportionately short legs, the hippo can run at fast speed on land. It would be futile for a human to try to outpace one that was in an aggressive mood.
- Though they spend a lot of time in water, hippos are rather bad swimmers. When in deep water they progress by a series of porpoise-like leaps off the bottom in a curiously graceful manner reminiscent of an overweight ballet dancer filmed in slow motion.
- Hippos follow regular paths to graze, and over time distinct trails are formed. These paths may be so eroded by generations of hippo feet that they become almost like trenches.
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