Tuesday, November 23, 2010

20 Things about Hippos

1. The word hippopotamus comes from the Greek words meaning "river horse".

2. Hippos are megafauna(large animals), more closely related to whales than any other terrestrial animal.

3. Hippo fossils have been found that date back to Africa 16 million years ago.

3. Hippos are artiodactyls, even-toed ungulates. They have 4 toes in which toes 3 and 4 bear most of their weight. Other artiodactlys include pigs, cattle, camels, and deer.

4. Adult hippos do not swim because of their low specific gravity. They propel themselves through the water by pushing off of the bottom.

5. Males continue to grow throughout their lives that range 40-50 years.

6. The oldest known hippo was a female named Tanga who lived to 61 years old at the Munich, Germany zoo.

7. Boom chicka wow wow! Hippos are one of the few mammals to mate underwater. The female stays submerged during the, um, process, only emerging to breathe.

8. Hippos surface for breath every 3-4 minutes and will automatically surface even while sleeping.

9. Hippos rarely eat aquatic plants, instead they emerge from their watery homes to forage on land for short grasses up to five miles away from their water territories.

9.5. That sentence above contains 6 prepositional phrases.

10. Male hippos fight for dominance over pods of females, young, and submissive younger males. Hippos are not territorial on land.

11. Hippo legend states that after God created all of the animals the hippos pleaded to God to let them live on the bottom of rivers to hide from the other animals who laughed at their ugliness. Afraid they would eat all of the fishes, God said no. The hippos counter-offered God, promising to become vegetarians, only eat on land, open their mouths wide to the sky when they are done to show there are no fish in their mouths, and allowing fish to clean the inside of their mouths after they are done eating to show how gentle they are. God agreed and that's why hippos are river horses.

12. Fish really do clean the inside of a hippos mouth after eating. The fish also nibble parasites and fungi off of the hides of the hippos as do some birds when they are on land.

13. Hippos are relatively high in numbers but land encroachment and poaching is a constant threat.

14. Hippo canine tusks are made of ivory.

15. Hippos are the most dangerous animal in Africa. They can run up to 30 mph and unlike other animals they are highly aggressive.

16. The Ancient Egyptians had a hippo-headed Goddess named Tawaret who protected pregnancy and childbirth owning to the intense bond between mother hippo and her calves.

17. Hippos at the San Antonio Zoo are so fun to watch!

18. If you can see them through all of the smeared fingerprints, dried boogers, and lick marks on the glass of their tank.

19. Hippos poop in the water. They are gross.

20. Humans are grosser.