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Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in TellMeWhy |

How Hungry Are Hippos?

How Hungry Are Hippos?

Hippos really are hungry, but not as hungry as you might expect. They only eat about 1% of their total body weight each day. Other animals, such as cows, can eat up to 2.5% of their body weight each day.

The main source of food for the hippo is the short grass. They spend five or more hours grazing every single evening. They may walk up to five miles during that period of time. One hippo can also consume up to 150 pounds of food per day (almost 70 kg per day).

Like most herbivores, hippos consume other plants if presented with them, but their diet in nature consists almost entirely of grass, with only minimal consumption of aquatic plants. So now you know how hungry are hippos.

Hippos are born with sterile intestines, and require bacteria obtained from their mothers’ feces to digest vegetation.

On occasion, hippos have been filmed eating carrion, usually near the water. There are other reports of meat-eating, and cannibalism.

The stomach anatomy of a hippo is not suited to carnivore, and meat-eating is likely caused by aberrant behavior or nutritional stress. If carnivore is driven by dietary deficiencies in hippos then they may become more dangerous during droughts or other times when their access to food is restricted.

Hippos can hold their breath underwater for up to five minutes or more. Their eyes and nostrils are on the tops of their heads, which helps them stay mostly underwater while still being able to see and breathe.

Occasionally, you’ll see hippos sunbathing on the shoreline. Don’t be alarmed, though, if it looks like they’re sweating blood. Their thick skin actually secretes an oily red substance that moisturizes the skin and acts like antibacterial sunscreen to protect their skin from the sun and germs.

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