Do Hippos Live In The Jungle?

Did you know that the name hippo comes from the Greek word for “river horse?” Or that the hippo’s closest living relatives are pigs, dolphins, and whales? Or that they can live to be about 40 years old in the wild? Hippos are fascinating animals – read on to learn all about these amazing creatures! 

Do hippos live in the jungle? Hippos do not live in the jungle. Hippos need to live in a wet-dry tropical climate. An area that is jungle-like or rainforest-like has a consistent climate. In a jungle, precipitation levels will remain the same year-round, as opposed to where a hippo lives where there is an obvious wet season and an obvious dry season. The wet season may only last for three or so months, but during the wet season, a whopping eight feet of rain (or more!) can fall during this time.  

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So, where do hippos live? 

Where do Hippos Live
Where do Hippos Live?

Hippos can be found in sub-Saharan Africa. This part of the world has a tropical savanna climate. Here, they live in areas that have a lot of water. This is because they spend about 16 hours a day submerged in water to keep their skin cool and moist.

Even though hippos are mammals, they are considered “amphibious animals” since they spend so much of the time in the water. Country-wise, hippos can be found in the following countries in Africa: Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Kenya, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda.  

Hippos live in groups called schools and there can be up to 200 hippos in one school, although most of the time, there are usually 10 to 30 hippos in a school. 

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Can hippos breathe underwater?  

Since we just found out that hippos spend about 16 days in the water at a time, you may be wondering if they can breathe underwater. The answer to this is no, but they can hold their breath for five minutes at a time while they are underwater. When hippos completely submerge themselves underwater, their ears and their nostrils fold shut to keep any water out. 

Why do they spend this much time in the water, you ask? Hippos spend a lot of time in the water in order to stay cool in the blistering African heat. When they are not in the water, hippos will also “sweat” an oily red liquid that protects their skin from getting burnt and from drying out.  

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How big are hippos? 

Hippos are one of the largest mammals in the world (they are the second-largest land mammals behind only elephants)! Male hippos usually weigh about 3,500 pounds to 9,920 pounds, while females usually weigh around 3,000 pounds! Hippos can grow to be over five feet tall and up to sixteen feet long! 

What do hippos eat? 

Hippos are herbivores, meaning they only eat plants. In fact, they really only eat one plant- grass. So how can these creatures be so large if all they eat is grass? That is easy- hippos eat an average of 88 pounds of grass every night!

To put that in comparison, the average human only eats about three to five pounds of food every day- meaning it would take you about three weeks to eat the same amount of food that a hippo eats in one night. Hippos also have a very sedentary lifestyle, which helps them to keep the pounds on.  

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Are hippos dangerous? 

In 2016, the BBC compiled a list of the world’s most dangerous animals, and some of these creatures might be surprising. On this list are mosquitoes, snakes, dogs, tsetse flies, crocodiles, and hippos. Are you surprised that hippos are considered to be the 6th most dangerous animal in the world? 

This is because hippos kill around 500 people a year in their native Africa. Hippos are pretty aggressive animals and they have really sharp teeth. And don’t forget about their large size and weight. 

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Are hippos endangered? 

Sadly, hippos are endangered. This is due, in part, to the poaching of hippos (for meat or ivory) and from humans moving into the areas where hippos live.

The hippo population has declined about 7%-20% in the last 10 years and the hippo has already gone extinct in three African countries where they used to thrive. These animals need our help to protect them.