Do People Eat Hippos?

It’s no surprise that people eat odd or interesting things all over the world. From bugs to sharks and even monkey brains, if a human can eat it, at least one person has tried it. This simple fact has me wondering what other animals have humans eaten previously or are still eating in the present day.

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Do People Eat Hippos?

People do eat hippos. Of course, this isn’t a common meal for many people throughout the world, but some people hunt and eat the meat from hippos. In most countries, you’re not going to be able to walk into your local grocery store and see hippo steaks behind the meat counter or on the refrigerated shelves.


What Are Hippos?

Hippos are one of the largest land mammals in the world. Of the living mammals, hippos are behind elephants and the white rhino in size. These large mammals have adapted to their surroundings. Not only are they fast on land, but they’re quick in the water too. Most hippos can reach a maximum speed of 30 miles per hour, meaning they can definitely outrun a human.

Hippos have four webbed toes that help to distribute their weight evenly. Their webbed toes give them support on land, while their short legs can propel them through the water. While you can see hippos in zoos around the world, they are native to the African continent.

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The majority of hippo populations live in east Africa in countries like Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Togo, to name a few. There are populations of hippo that live in west Africa as well. They can be found living in Rwanda, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, to name a few.

Where Do People Eat Hippos?

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering where on Earth do people eat hippos. Centuries ago, when hunters and gatherers roamed Africa, hippos were one of the primary food sources for them. Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine people eating hippos because they’re not commercially farmed for meat.

To this day, consuming hippos is considered a delicacy throughout many areas of Africa. For centuries, people would hunt hippos and prepare meals for their families with their meat. Nowadays, people still eat hippos, but it’s frowned upon, and selling hippos the meat of hippos is illegal. Just because it’s illegal doesn’t stop people. Once hippo meat hits the market, it’s gone quickly, and you can’t find any trace of it ever being there.

But hunting hippos is not unlawful in all African countries. In some countries, they encourage hunting hippos because they’re considered a dangerous game. For example, you can trophy hunt for hippos in South Africa, but in Uganda, it’s illegal to do so.

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How Do People Prepare Hippo Meat?

People usually prepare hippo meat similar to how they would like any other meat. Many people prepare hippo steaks. They’ll marinate the meat and then grill it or cook it another way. Some people grind it to make it seem more like hamburger meat.

What Does Hippo Taste Like?

Even if you don’t want to try hippo, I’m sure you’re wondering how this animal tastes. Lucky for us, many people have tasted this delicacy in Africa, so there are plenty of first-hand accounts.

Many people compare the taste of hippo to beef. The meat tends to be a little tougher than beef and fattier. This fat content sets it apart from other traditionally eaten meats. Once you marinate the meat, it supposedly tastes pretty good and not like you’re eating an exotic animal.

If you cook the meat in cumin, it resembles the taste of deer, whereas if you don’t season it with anything, it tastes more like pork.

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How Many Species of Hippo Are There?

There are two species of hippo in the world. Both are native to Africa. There’s the large hippo; This is the most common one and the one that probably comes to mind when you hear hippo. The other species is the pygmy hippo. The pygmy hippo is smaller but overall has the same characteristics and native land.

Are Hippos Endangered?

Where do Hippos Live
Are Hippos Endangered?

The estimated wild large hippo population is between 125,000 and 148,000. Pygmy hippo populations are sitting anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000. These numbers are not ideal for a wild species. The large hippo’s conservation status is vulnerable.

Being classified as vulnerable means that this species susceptible to extinction. Vulnerable is the conservation status before a species is considered endangered. The hunting and eating go hippo meat is putting hippo populations at risk for going extinct. Pygmy hippos are considered endangered.

In addition to people hunting these animals for their meat, their populations are dwindling due to people hunting them for their teeth. When poaching elephants became illegal due to the ivory trade, people began hunting hippos more often because their teeth are made of ivory.

In many countries in Africa, hunting hippos for their teeth is illegal. But, if you happen to come across a dead hippo, you’re technically allowed to take their teeth.

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What Do Hippos Eat?

These massive mammals are surprisingly herbivores. The hippos diet is comprised mainly of short grass that can be found throughout the savannah parks. Sometimes they will eat some wild fruit to balance out their diet, but short grass is their main food

Do Hippos Have Natural Predators?

Hippos do, in fact, have natural predators. Even though these large animals seem like they would be at the top of the food
chain, they have several natural predators. Lions commonly hunt hippos in the wild, as well as hyenas and crocodiles. They tend to go after young or sick hippos, but they have been known to attack healthy adult hippos too.

Are Hippos and Whales Related?

Want to impress your friends with some random knowledge? Hippos and whales are said to have had a common ancestor that died off over 50 million years ago. I know what you’re thinking. Hippos and whales look nothing alike, and they don’t even have the same habitat. But, I promise you it’s true.

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