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Posted by on Jun 24, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

How Did the Hippopotamus Get Its Name?

How Did the Hippopotamus Get Its Name?

Hippopotamus is derived from the Greek word meaning river horse. The animal 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 pig. 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.

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