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Saturday, 11 July 2015

Hippopotamus

The term, “Hippopotamus” has been derived from two Greek words, Hippo meaning horse and potamos meaning river.

Oxford dictionaries accept either hippopotami or hippopotamuses as the plural of hippopotamus but suggest the former is “... now generally taken to be either funny or absurdly pedantic”.

Hippopotamus has been an English word since the 1300s. The abbreviation hippo arrived in 1872.

A group of hippos is called a bloat.

There was a species of hippopotamus living in Europe up until the last Ice Age.

Obaysch, the first hippopotamus seen in Europe since the days of the Roman Empire, arrived at London Zoo on May 25, 1850. He was captured on an island on the White Nile when he was less than one year old. His name is derived from the name of the island. Obaysch was an instant sensation in London, attracting up to 10,000 visitors each day, and spawning a trade in hippo memorabilia . The number of visitors to the Zoo in 1850 was double of that the previous year.

Crowds look on as Obaysch rests in the London Zoo in this 1852 photograph 

Louisiana senator Robert Broussard proposed the "American Hippo Bill" in 1910 which would have brought Hippos from Africa to get rid of a invasive species and solve a meat shortage in the United States. The bill nearly passed.

When Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar's grand estate was raided, the military released the dangerous hippos of his personal zoo, not knowing what to do with them. They now thrive in the Colombian rivers. This means Colombia now has the largest wild hippo population outside of Africa.

Israel is reported to be the world’s largest exporter of hippos to zoos. They are bred outside Tel Aviv and carried in crates after being sedated and lifted by bulldozers.

The closest living relatives to the hippopotamus are the dolphin and whale.

Hippos are born underwater.


Hippos cannot swim. Their bodies are far too dense to float. Instead, the water loving creatures walk underwater along a riverbed or use their feet to push off it in order to move about.

Hippos sleep underwater and rise to breathe every few minutes without waking.

When hippos are upset, their sweat turns red.

Hippo milk is bright pink.

An average male hippo weighs 3,300lb. Of all land mammals only elephants or rhinos are bigger.

The pygmy hippopotamus is only half as tall as a normal hippo and weighs less than a quarter as much as its larger cousin.

Hippos are not vegetarians, as was once believed. They have been known to eat impala, baby elephants and their own kind.

A river hippopotamus can open its mouth a full 180 degrees to leave an opening wide enough to fit a four foot tall child inside.

More people get killed by hippos each year than sharks, bears and lions combined.

Source Daily Express

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