Posted on February 15, 2015
I never saw a creature that looked less like a horse:
However, the word hippopotamus means “river horse” in Ancient Greek.
1) The hippopotamus (thankfully, there is a well-known short version of the animal's name: hippo) is the third largest land mammal alive today. (Do you know the two largest? Answers below.)
|You can see here why hippos|
are classed as "even-toed" creatures.
2) Hippos eat mostly plants. (Do you know what plant-eaters are called?)
3) In the past, hippos were judged closest to pigs and other even-toed creatures like camels, cattle, and deer. However, biologists now know that the semi-aquatic hippo is more closely related to fully aquatic mammals. (Aquatic means living in water. Can you guess which aquatic animals are most closely related to hippos?)
4) Hippos are heavy, pudgy-looking, short-legged creatures – but they can easily outrun a human. (Can you guess how fast they can run?)
5) Some of the most famous hippos in the world include some gaming hippos, some amusement park hippos, and some dancing hippos. (Can you guess what three hippos-in-pop-culture I am talking about?)
- Only elephants and rhinos are larger land mammals.
- Plant-eaters are called herbivores.
- The closest living relatives to hippos are the whales, dolphins, and porpoises!
- Over short distances, hippos can run up to 19 mph (30 km/h). The average person can only run 6 or 7 mph, and runners can get up to about 11 mph. The fastest man alive, Usain Bolt, is amazing at sprinting short distances and could probably outrun hippos, traveling at more than 23 mph for a few seconds!
- The game hippos are Hungry Hungry Hippos. The amusement park hippos are the hippos on Disney's Jungle Cruise – the ones who wiggle their ears to (supposedly) show that they are going to attack the boat. And the dancing hippos are also Disney creatures – they appear in the movie Fantasia.
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