WORLD HIPPO DAY
Each year, World Hippo Day on February 15th provides a special day to celebrate the world’s third-largest mammal. It’s also a day to learn more about the hippopotamus.
The blue whale and the African elephant are the only two mammals in the world that are larger than the hippopotamus. The word hippo translates to river horse in ancient Greek. The giant animal weighs a whopping 8,000 pounds. There is only one continent in the world you can find a hippo. That continent is Africa. Hippos are native to over 30 countries in Africa. These herbivores live up to 50 years in the wild. There are only two species of hippos on the planet. These include the common hippopotamus and the pygmy hippo.
Here are some more interesting facts about the hippopotamus:
- They secrete an oily red substance on their skin, which acts as sunblock and a moisturizer.
- Hippos spend up to 16 hours a day submerged in water but have to come up every 5 minutes for air.
- Mother hippos give birth to their babies in the water.
- Baby hippos weigh about 100 pounds.
- Female hippos give birth to one calf every two years.
- Even though hippos don’t look fast, they can run up to 19 mph.
- Hippos consume nearly 150 pounds of grass in a 4 to 5 hour grazing period.
- Hippos are the most aggressive animals in the world and kill 500 humans a year.
Predators of the hippo include hyenas, lions, and crocodiles. Unfortunately, humans have also become a primary predator. While some hunt hippos for their meat, others hunt them for ivory canine teeth. The demand for hippo teeth escalated after the ban on the international trade of elephant ivory in 1989. Despite recent efforts to ban the trade of hippo teeth, the animal is classified as vulnerable. Through the years, the most significant decline in the hippo population has occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
HOW TO OBSERVE #WorldHippoDay
Many zoos, wildlife organizations, and conservation groups hold events to celebrate the hippo and educate the public on this amazing mammal. To participate:
- Learn more about the hippo.
- Donate to an organization, such as the African Wildlife Foundation that is trying to preserve the hippo.
- Find pictures and fun facts about hippos on the internet and share them on social media.
- If your zoo has a hippo exhibit, go check it out.
- Watch videos or a documentary about hippos.
- Play the board game, Hungry Hungry Hippos.
Whatever you do, use #WorldHippoDay when sharing on social media.
WORLD HIPPO DAY HISTORY
Our research team is still trying to find the exact origin of this day.