December 26, 2023
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Everyone knows the iconic holiday tune, “I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” but many don’t know much about these massive mammals. While they are adored by many for their goofy nature and cute faces, it’s safe to say that you would not be pleased if a hippo had actually ended up under your Christmas tree. Read on below to learn why a hippo is the luckiest gift you didn’t get this holiday season!
Hippos are considered the second largest land mammal after elephants, weighing up to 8,000 lbs. On average, hippos measure about 10-16 feet long and more than 5 feet tall at the shoulder. With this in mind, it’s easy to see that a hippo would make a less-than-ideal roommate. Not only would they take up the entire couch (and then some), but your landlord will definitely take notice when your new “dog” weighs more than 50 lbs.
Hippos are a semi-aquatic species that spend up to 16 hours daily in the water. When submerged, the hippo’s nostrils seal up, allowing the animal to hold its breath for up to five minutes. Hippos can even sleep underwater thanks to a subconscious reflex that allows them to surface for a breath without ever stirring from their slumber. What we’re getting at here is….your bathtub won’t cut it for a hippo.
While hippos spend most of their days underwater, they also have to eat. In their native range, hippos spend their nights foraging for food, eating up to 100 lbs. of grass every night. To put it in perspective, that would be like eating more than 160 Big Macs. Needless to say, you’d be clearing the produce aisles twice a day to keep a hippo appropriately fed.
You may need to sit down for this following factoid. A single hippo can generate up to 400 lbs. of waste DAILY. That’s more poop than the average human produces in an entire year. In fact, in their native range, bloats of hippos have been known to produce so much waste in the pools they occupy that it creates a contaminated environment devoid of oxygen that can kill off fish in mass quantities – it must stink to be those fish. Hippos also love to “muck spread,” which is when they use their tails to spray their dung around, marking their territory and letting outside hippos know that the area belongs to them. Not even Costco has enough toilet paper to deal with all of that poo!
Hippos are beloved for their goofy personalities, but did you know that they are considered one of the deadliest land animals on earth, killing upwards of 500 humans a year? This may surprise you, considering hippos are herbivores, but despite their plant-based diet, hippos are highly territorial. Pair their territorial nature with their impressive weight and massive tusks, and you have a combination you do NOT want to mess with. Hippos have even been known to attack and capsize boats that enter their territories. In summary, you do NOT want to intrude on a hippo’s (or any wild animal’s) space.
While we do NOT recommend a live hippo as a gift, Adventure Aquarium can offer you the next best thing, ALL YEAR LONG! As the only Aquarium in the United States to exhibit hippos, we offer a unique viewing experience that allows you to get SAFELY up close and see our pair of Nile hippopotamuses, Button and Genny, as they bounce around underwater, eat hay, and showcase their natural behaviors. Consider purchasing an annual Membership so you can see our hippos 364 days a year!
If seeing the hippos isn’t enough, you can also purchase our up-close Hippo Encounter, which takes you behind the scenes to meet our hippos and toss them leafy greens (no touching!). And if you really insist on having a hippo in your home, you can check out our Gift Shop, which offers an array of hippo-themed souvenirs, including t-shirts, plushies, mugs, and more!
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