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Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in TellMeWhy |

How Did the Hippopotamus Get Its Name?

How Did the Hippopotamus Get Its Name?

The name hippopotamus is derived from the Greek word meaning river horse. Hippopotamus got this name partly because it spends much of its time in rivers and lakes. And it may have been called a horse because of its large size.

Actually, the hippopotamus is related to the pigs, whales and dolphins, according to the San Diego Zoo. A male hippopotamus is known as a bull, a female as a cow and a baby as a calf.

Hippopotamuses never wander far from the water’s edge because their skins would dry out and crack, if they could not soak in water or mud in the daytime. At night, they graze on land. Hippos are found wild in Africa, but almost every zoo has at least one.

Hippos have a healthy and mostly herbivorous appetite. Adults eat about 80 lbs. (35 kg) of grass each night,traveling up to 6 miles (10 kilometres) in a night to get their fill. They also eat fruit that they find during their nightly scavenging, according to National Geographic. If food is scarce, hippos can store food in their stomachs and go up to three weeks without eating.

The species is also known as the Common Hippopotamus or the Nile Hippopotamus. Hippopotamuses are gregarious, living in groups of about 30 animals, and these groups are called pods, herds, dale or bloats.

Hippopotamuses are the third largest mammals in the world after whales and elephants. The most recent theory suggests that the hippopotamus evolved from whales and the group likely split into two separate branches around 54 million years ago.

Content for this question contributed by Megan Freitas, resident of Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County, California, USA