Hippopotamus

Hippopotamus Average weight of males 1600kgs (3520lbs) and females 1300kgs (2860lbs). Shoulder height averages at about 1.5m (60 inches). They have a life expectancy of about 40years.

Identification: Hippos are identified by their very large barrel-shape body, enormous mouth and short stubby legs. The skin is almost completely hairless and dark-grey in colour. The underside, throat and skin folds are orange-pink in colour.

Habits: Hippopotamus inhabits open water, riversand pools with sandbanks where they can rest. Source of water should be deep enough for submersion. They will return to the same pools after floods or dry periods. Groups normally consists out of a dominant bull and females with young that can number from 5 to 30. During the day they will cool themselves by staying in the water or resting on the sandbanks, if not too hot. Grazing takes place during the night and they will travel quite far from the water during dry periods in search of grass. Their main diet consists out of grass of which they can consume up to 130kgs a day. Despite their short legs they can run up to 30km/h (19mph).

Breeding: A single young gets born after a gestation period of about 8 months. Reproduction and birth both occur in the water.

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