Hippo Facts for Kids

Cartoon Hippopotamus | Alphabetimals.com

Hippopotamus

Join Albert as he explores amazing hippopotamus facts for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergartners. Click on the images to hear silly sounds and then read about fun hippo facts like what do hippos look like?, what sound do hippos make?, how big are hippos?, what do hippos eat?, where do hippos live?, and more fun facts about hippos for kids!

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What do hippos look like?

Hippos in water

Hippopotamus or hippos for short, are mammals. That means that they are warm-blooded, have fur and they feed milk to their babies.

They are large, round animals with relatively short legs. They have large heads with big nostrils and huge canine teeth.

Cute cartoon boy saying shhhh

What sound do hippos make?

Cartoon Hippopotamus | Alphabetimals.com
Microphone

Click the the image to hear the sound!

Hippos make a deep laughing sound. They also make snorts, grumbles and wheezes.

It’s hard not to chuckle when you hear a hippo laugh!

Cute cartoon boy measuring with a stick

How big are hippos?

Cartoon Hippopotamus | Alphabetimals.com
Medium-sized car

There are 2 types of hippo. 

The common river hippo can grow to 12 feet ( over 4 meters) long and weight up to 7,000 pounds (3,200 kg). That’s as big and heavy as car!

The pygmy hippo only grows to half that size. 

Cute cartoon boy opening a lunchbox

What do hippos eat?

Grass
Leaves
Roots
Berries

Hippos are herbivores. This means that they eat plants.

They graze on grass, leaves, roots and other vegetation on land for up to 6 hours each night. They also pick up fallen fruits from the ground.

They can eat up to 80 pounds (35 kilograms) of grass each night and travel up to 6 miles (10 kilometers) whilst grazing.

If food is scarce, hippos can go up to 3 weeks without eating.

Baby hippos drink their mother’s milk for the first 8 months of their lives. 

Cute cartoon boy looking at a map

Where do hippos live?

River stream background
Cartoon Hippopotamus | Alphabetimals.com

Hippos are called amphibious animals because they live both in water and on land.

Pygmy hippos spend more time on land in swamps and forests. Common hippos spend most of the day in the water and only come out onto land to feed at night. 

More fun facts about hippos for kids

  • Although they spend a lot of time in water, hippos can’t actually swim. Instead, they tip toe along the bottom of rivers, pushing off from the floor. This propels them through the water.
  • Hippos can move through the water at an incredible speed. If they are chasing something, you can see a bow-wave in front of them, a bit like a boat.
  • Hippos use their poo to mark their territory. This means other hippos know that this area belongs to another hippo. As they poo, they wag their tails which spreads the poo onto bushes and onto the ground. It can get a bit messy!
  • Hippos can hold their breath for up to 5 minutes underwater.
  • Although hippos are mammals, they only have very small hairs covering their body, just like us. This means that they can get sunburnt very easily. Therefore, hippos stay in the water during the day. They come out of the water, onto the land at night-time, when the sun has gone down. Their skin produces a liquid that protects their skin from drying out and helps keep the water out.
  • Common hippos are one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. People can stumble upon them at night-time when the hippos are out of the water. They can run very quickly at up to 19 mph (30 kph).
  • Baby hippos spend time in nurseries. Mother hippos take turns looking after each other’s babies in groups.
  • Hippos are super-watertight when they swim underwater. You might wear ear and nose plugs when you go swimming to stop water getting into your ears and nose. Hippos can automatically close their ears and nostrils. They also have built-in googles! A thin, see-through membrane covers their eyes so that they can see underwater.

Sources: Wikipedia, Live Science, Creative Commons, Britannica.com and Freesound.org

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Alphabetical list of animals that start with H

A full alphabetical list of popular animal names that begin with the letter H for toddlers and preschool kids.

  1. Hammerhead Shark
  2. Hamster
  3. Hare
  4. Harpy Eagle
  5. Hartebeest
  6. Hawk
  7. Hedgehog
  8. Hermit Crab
  9. Heron
  10. Hippopotamus
  11. Hornbill
  12. Horse
  13. Horseshoe Crab
  14. Howler Monkey
  15. Hummingbird
  16. Humpback Whale
  17. Hyena

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