In this article, we should read deeply about What Do Hippos Eat? The hippopotamus generally invoked to simply as the hippo, is a giant animal that is endemic to the sub-Saharan region of Africa. The hippo is usually held to be the third-largest land animal, smaller than only the rhinoceros and the elephant. The word hippo is evolved from the Ancient Greek term for “river horse.”
Hippos have several specific features such as massive barrel-like torsos, the absence of hair on their body, and huge canine tusks. Despite a fascinating comparison to pigs, similar evolutionary relatives to hippos are mammals such as dolphins, porpoises, and whales. Hippos generally live near lakes, rivers, and swamps, where they lead a semi-aquatic life that significantly impacts their diet.
What Do Hippos Eat?
Hippos are herbivores and primarily feed on short grass. This is the prevalent shortgrass gotten in the savannah game parks. Hippos feed on the same shortgrass that other herbivores like Uganda mobs, zebras, zebras, and buffaloes can feed on. But we can explain it better by partitioning it into these sections-
Diet of Hippos in the Wild
In the wild, hippos spend most of their time in the water, coming out at around sunset to feed primarily on the short grass that surrounds their territory. In order to find a sufficient amount of food, hippos may travel long distances, which can exceed 6 miles.
Hippos consume large amounts of grass on a daily basis, with some estimates indicating that they can eat up to 150 pounds in a single night. Although hippos reside in the water, they consume small amounts of aquatic plants. In the wild, hippos may also feed on available fruits.
Diet of Hippos in Captivity
Hippos are kept in detention all over the world in zoos such as the Toledo Zoo, the San Diego Zoo, and the London Zoo.
In most instances, these zoos reside far from the hippo’s native habitat, which dramatically impacts the food that the hippos can feed. Some of the things that hippos in captivity feed on include lettuce, hay, and vegetables. Captive hippos may be given feasts such as melons and other fruits in exclusive instances.
Zoos also often feed hippos vegetarian pellets to supplement their nutritional requirements.
Feeding Adaptations of the Hippo
Since they initially feed on grass, hippos have developed many exclusive evolutionary adaptations to develop their feeding. Some adaptations include well-developed lips, which they use to pull up the grass and huge teeth mainly used to cut the grass before they swallowing.
Another big adaptation of the hippo is a long alimentary canal to lower the speed of digestion, which raises the time that the hippo has to absorb vital nutrients. Hippos can keep food in their stomach for long spans of time, but do not chew the cud.
Hippos also have highly-developed senses, particularly their hearing which permits them to hear fruits falling, and their sense of smell, which bolsters them to find food.
How do baby hippos feed?
Baby hippos are born estimating an average of 40 kilograms. This is a heavy size that needs great varieties of food.
Baby hippos (calves) are capable to suckle on their mothers for milk underwater. They shutter their eyes and nostrils and enjoy feeding while submerged.
Baby hippos introduce to feed on grass at the of 3 weeks. Calves go on to suckle for up to 8 months old when they can initiate to graze at a secure distance from their mother.
Do Hippos eat meat?
Hippos are essentially known for feeding on grass, but the recent study seems to contravene this.
Ph.D. student Leejiah Dorward, in a paper he delivered in the African Journal of Ecology contributed a detailed account of watching two hippos feeding on a carcass of a dead crocodile. The first authenticated account goes back as far as 1995 when Dr. Joseph Dudley from the University of Alaska while on his visit to Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
Dr. Keith Eltringham certified that hippos can eat meat because of deficient nutrients especially in instances when there are limited sources of food.
There are many other situations where it is disclosed that they violently chop down on the meat as a path of ‘killing’ the animal that has disturbed them. As a way of securing that death is reached and the animal is left in many parts.
Besides these cases, it is still broadly accepted that hippos are herbivores because of their ‘herbivore like’ digestive system. Don’t raise your prospects of seeing a carnivorous hippo yet.
Their capability to crack apart most animals – including lions or crocodiles is why the hippo is actually the most deadly wild animal in the African savannah. Yes, the hippo is more deadly than a lion.
You can check out our article about some attractive facts about hippos – which will give you more insight about hippos, and why they aren’t to be messed with.
And there you have it. The information about what hippos eat, and the related habits. Hippos are not just interesting in appreciations of what they eat, they are so much more.
Here is our beloved article that lists more than 37 interesting facts about hippos. Learn facts about their vigor, their protection status, where they can be seen, and how they are the most dangerous animal in the African Savannah.
In Uganda, Hippos can be seen in the following national parks.
- Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Murchison Falls National Park
- Semuliki National Park
- Kidepo Valley National Park
- Lake Mburo National Park
You can see hippos and many more in these national Parks. Here are some related Uganda Safari paths to give you revelation for how you could go about your tour.
- 21 Days around Uganda Safari
- 4 Days Murchison Falls Wildlife Safari
- 3 days Murchison Falls Safari
- 5 Day Budget Game and Gorilla Tour of Uganda