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Hippos in Africa



A hippo yawning.
Hippos are bulky, water loving animals that are native to wild Africa. The name hippopotamus comes from the Ancient Greek word meaning ‘river horse’. They are the third largest land animal after the elephant and rhino, living up to 50 years.

Even though a hippo has short stocky legs and cannot jump, it can outrun a human! They have been recorded running at 30 kph (19 mph). In water they are able to run at 8 kph (5mph). An average human only runs at 8 kph on land.

Hippos are social animals who live in large groups near bodies of water such as swamps, rivers and lakes. They remain cool by relaxing in the water during the day. A sleeping hippo under water can amazingly rise and breathe without waking up. Childbirth, reproduction and fighting also takes place in the water.

Hippos are herbivores, emerging at dusk to graze on grass privately for between four and five hours. They can keep food in their stomachs and go without eating up to 3 weeks.

Hippo relaxing in water.

A hippo must stay moist otherwise its’ skin will crack. They were once believed to sweat blood, but now it is thought that the red secretions are just a fluid used as sunblock.

They might look cute being fat, with tiny ears on top of their head but watch out for hippos as they are ranked as one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. They are known for their aggression and unpredictability.

 About Jessica the much loved hippo

On the 11 March 2000, a baby hippo was found on the banks of the Blyde River. She was only just a few hours old, with her umbilical cord still attached. 

Jessica the hippo.

Jessica is far from an ordinary hippo. She loves to interact with people, often appears to be smiling, is gentle and has never shown any signs of aggression. Jessica lives in a reservoir found in Limpopo, and is free to visit the neighbouring wild hippos. She shares her home with another cute orphan hippo, Richie, who is 2 years old.

You can visit Jessica the world famous hippo on an Epic Enabled tour to Kruger National Park.

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