How Long Do Hippopotamuses Live?

logo by Editorial Staff | Posted on October 22nd, 2022

Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious): The word “hippopotamus” is a Greek term that translates to “water horse” or “river horse.”

There are two types of hippos: the smaller pygmy hippos (Choeropsis liberiensis) and the common river hippos (Hippopotamus amphibious).

hippopotamus swimming

Hippopotamuses live relatively long lives. In particular, their lifespan is between 40 and 50 years, according to official data. Naturally, their habitat influences their longevity, just like other wild animals.

Life cycle

Hippos are big, semi-aquatic animals that are found in Africa. Since they must maintain a body temperature below 40 degrees Celsius, they spend most of their time in or near water.

They are among the biggest living terrestrial creatures in the world, and they also have a complex social structure, using vocalizations like bellows, snorts, and grunts to communicate.

Hippos’ ability to give birth underwater makes them more fascinating. The newborn hippopotamus is submerged and forced to float to the surface to take its first breath. For the baby to breathe, the mother pushes it to the surface. The newborn calf holds its breath for around 40 seconds.

They occasionally sleep on their mothers’ backs and swim beneath to drink when the water becomes too dense for them.

A baby hippopotamus is born with the ability to swim. They are between 55 and 120 pounds and 127 centimeters (1.717 ft) long when born. The baby of a hippopotamus is called a calf.

At three weeks old, the calf stops receiving breast milk from its mother and starts eating grass.

Hippopotamus females normally attain full maturity between the ages of five and six, while males do so between the ages of six and seven.

How long do hippos live?

Hippos frequently live to be 40 years old in the wild and are known to have a long lifespan. However, the average life expectancy is slightly lower, hovering around 36.

While the size, strength, and reputation of adults provide protection, it is difficult for smaller calves to achieve adulthood. This is so because hippopotamuses share their environment with several other huge predators.

On average, hippos in captivity live considerably longer, with many easily reaching 50. This is because they receive food, medical treatment, and protection from predators and poachers, hence the longer life span.

In captivity, a few hippos have even survived into their 60s; the oldest is thought to have been 65 when she died.

Hippo’s measurements and weight

They may reach lengths of 10.8 to 16.5 feet and a height of 5.2 feet simply by going from their hooves to their shoulders.

According to Animal Planet, after elephants and white rhinos, they are the third-largest living land animals. It weighs up to 9,920 lbs for males and roughly 3,000 lbs for females. These weight-related statistics are from the San Diego Zoo.

Hippo diet

Hippos frequently graze on areas of short grass that are near water. But occasionally, they have to go a long distance to get food. Their sense of smell aids them in detecting food, while their ears aid them in hearing the sound of fruit dropping.

Hippos typically consume 88 pounds of food per night or 1 to 1.5% of their total weight. Hippos live sedentary lives, which helps them keep their bulk. They lead essentially sedentary lives, only moving when feeding, which helps them save energy.

Hippo habitat

Hippopotamuses love grass and regular water that is not too crowded and doesn’t have a lot of stones at the bottom. In West Africa, the pygmy hippopotamus dwells in forests close to marshes. Hippos are social animals who gather in groups called bloats, pods, or sieges.

Hippos normally have 10 to 30 members in their schools, including males and females, while some classes have around 200. Because of its size, the school is typically led by a powerful male.

Hippos are notorious for their violence and danger. Hippopotami utilize their enormous teeth and tusks to protect themselves against predators.

Hippo predator

Among the biggest risks to hippos are habitat loss and the illegal ivory trade. Although hippos are not listed as in danger of extinction, their population has declined over the past 200 years.

Male hippos in charge of an area are known to defend violently against invaders. Unwary human boaters risk encountering an angry response when they go into hippo territory. Hippos have been known to stray into human settlements, including farms, and eat crops.

The hippo may be put to death in retaliation. As hippo and human settlements intersect more regularly, these clashes are becoming more frequent. Human activities may negatively impact hippos and their environment on the rivers, such as dam construction or water diverting for agricultural purposes.

The illicit ivory trade negatively impacts hippo populations. Elephant tusks and hippo canines are both made of the same substance, ivory. Because they are softer than elephant tusks, hippopotamus canines are simpler to cut. Ivory from hippos saw a huge rise in demand. Hippo populations are fast declining.


Editorial Staff

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