The Call of Nature: Some interesting facts about the beautiful hippopotamus

Oct 18, 2021

Introduction to the Hippopotamus

The hippopotamus, or "hippo" for short, is a large, semi-aquatic mammal native to sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of the most iconic animals found in the continent's diverse wildlife. Known for its massive size, unique appearance, and intriguing behavior, the hippopotamus never fails to captivate both animal enthusiasts and avid travelers alike.

The Hippopotamus: Size and Appearance

The hippopotamus is the third-largest land mammal, with only elephants and rhinoceroses surpassing its sheer size. Adult hippos can weigh up to 3,500 kilograms (7,700 pounds) and measure around 4.5 meters (15 feet) in length. Their barrel-shaped bodies are covered in thick, hairless skin that appears grayish-brown when exposed to the sun.

One of the most distinctive features of a hippo is its massive mouth, which boasts an impressive set of teeth. Their canine tusks can grow up to 51 centimeters (20 inches) long, making them a fearsome sight that serves both defensive and territorial purposes.

Habitat and Adaptations

Hippos are semi-aquatic creatures that primarily inhabit rivers, lakes, and swamps. They rely on bodies of water to regulate their body temperature, stay hydrated, and protect their sensitive skin from the harsh African sun. Remarkably, these creatures have several adaptations that allow them to live both on land and in water.

For instance, hippos possess webbed feet and buoyant bodies, enabling them to move through water with ease. Their eyes, ears, and nostrils are positioned high on their heads, enabling them to remain mostly submerged while keeping an eye out for potential threats. With their efficient adaptations, hippos have become remarkably nimble despite their size.

Social Structure and Behavior

Hippos are known for their complex social structure. They typically live in groups of 10 to 30 individuals, led by a dominant male. These groups consist of several females, their offspring, and a few subordinate males. Each group defends its own territory, which can extend several kilometers along the riverbanks.

When it comes to behavior, hippos display fascinating traits. While they may seem docile while submerged in water, they can be extremely territorial and aggressive, especially towards intruders or potential threats. Hippos are known to charge at high speeds, relying on their powerful jaws and teeth to deter any opposition. Additionally, they communicate through a combination of vocalizations, body language, and scent marking.

Diet and Feeding Habits

Despite their herbivorous nature, hippos are renowned for their voracious appetite. They predominantly graze on grass, consuming vast quantities in a single day. Adult hippos can devour up to 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of vegetation each night, providing them with the necessary nutrients to sustain their enormous size.

Interestingly, these impressive herbivores are also known to exhibit opportunistic feeding behavior. Although their primary focus is on plants, hippos have been observed consuming small amounts of meat on occasion. This behavior, although limited, indicates their adaptability and ability to take advantage of available food sources.

Conservation Status and Conservation Efforts

Despite their formidable presence, hippos face numerous threats in the wild. Habitat loss, hunting, and illegal poaching contribute to their declining population. As a result, they are classified as "Vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Fortunately, conservation efforts and awareness campaigns have been instrumental in safeguarding these magnificent creatures. Organizations like Jet Set Tour Packages actively support conservation projects that focus on protecting and preserving hippopotamus habitats, promoting sustainable tourism practices, and combating illegal wildlife trade.


The hippopotamus is undoubtedly a mesmerizing creature, gracing the rivers and lakes of Africa with its grandeur. Jet Set Tour Packages invites you to immerse yourself in the call of nature and discover the fascinating world of these beautiful creatures. By appreciating and conserving the hippopotamus and its habitat, we play a vital role in ensuring the survival of one of Africa's most remarkable animals.