Hippo Facts for Kids

A Picture of a Hippo
  • Common Name: Hippo and Hippopotamus
  • Species: Hippopotamus amphibius
  • Genus: Hippopotamus
  • Diet: Vegetation and Fruit (herbivore)
  • Lifespan: Between 40 and 50 years
  • Range: sub-Saharan Africa
  • Weight: Between 2,870 and 3,310 pounds

19 Hippo Facts for Kids

  1. The hippopotamus is a large semiaquatic mammal that is native to sub-Saharan Africa.
  2. A hippopotamus is commonly just called a hippo.
  3. A hippopotamus has a barrel-shaped body, a big head with a long muzzle, short legs and a short tail.
  4. Modern-day hippos can only be found in the wild in the sub-Saharan Africa.
  5. A hippo has an average lifespan of between 40 and 50 years.
  6. Hippos are herbivores, they mostly eat grass and a few other types of vegetation.
  7. Hippos are the third largest living land mammals on our planet. The only two other land mammals that are bigger are elephants and some species of rhinoceroses.
  8. A male hippopotamus on average will weigh 3,310 pounds.
  9. A female hippopotamus on average will weigh 2,870 pounds.
  10. A newborn hippopotamus will weigh between 55 and 100 pounds.
  11. A hippo can run up to 19 miles per hour, which is surprisingly fast for their body shape and weight.
  12. A hippo spends most of the day in the water and at night will come out to eat.
  13. A male hippo is called a bull, a female is called a cow and a young one is called a calf.
  14. A group of hippos is called a herd.
  15. There are two living species of hippopotamuses, and five living subspecies.
  16. The two living hippo species are the common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) and the pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis).
  17. The five hippo subspecies are the Angola hippopotamus (H. a. constrictus), Cape hippopotamus (H. a. capensis), East African hippopotamus (H. a. kiboko), Great northern hippopotamus (H. a. amphibius) and the West African hippopotamus (H. a. tschadensis).
  18. The hippopotamus’s closest living relatives are members of the cetaceans infraorder. An example of a cetacean is a dolphin.
  19. Even though the hippopotamus isn’t a predator it’s very aggressive. It’s considered one of the most dangerous animals on the African continent.

Additional Resources about the Hippopotamus

  • Hippopotamus – Explore the National Geographic website to learn more about the Hippopotamus.
  • Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibious) – Discover more about the Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibious) on the San Diego Zoo website.
  • Hippo Facts – Find more awesome facts about hippos on the LiveScience website.