It's 15 February and that means its World Hippo Day! We take this day (and every other day!) to celebrate our favourite Hippo, the star himself, Gerald! Commonly referred to as the 'River Horse' most hippos spend all their time in the water. However, our Gerald feels at home on the stage in his theatre! Just like Gerald, their big persoalities come out in their appearance, instantly recognisable by their dark brown skin, short legs and tale, large body and head, and in Gerald's case his orange tie! The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified hippos as vulnerable, which means they are susceptible to extinction, because its population is in decline.
Here are some fun facts about hippos
- They LOVE the water. To stay cool they spend most of their day in water. They keep their heads afloat to make sure they can breath, but spend most their days relaxing. All this time in water has made them great swimmers and they can breath underwater for up to five minutes.
- They are the second largest mamal on earth: Only second place to elephants, males hippos measure around 3.5m long and1.5m tall, and can weigh up 3,200kg. Considering they mainly eat grass, they are huge!
- They are called bulls, cows and calves: Male hippos are referred to as bulls whilst females are called cows, with baby hippo reffered to as calves. Together a group of hippos are called a 'herd', usually led by one 'dominant' male.
- They live to 40: In the wild, hippos usually live to the age of 40 years, but in captivity they can live longer , usually up to 50 years.
- They create their own sun protection. Hippos spend alot of their time out in the sun all day (which is why they love the water to cool down!). They have unique glands in their skin that sweat an oily red liquid to protect their skin from harmful rays and drying out.
If you would like to learn more about hippos, visit Hippopotamus | Species | WWF (worldwildlife.org) for more information.
Don't forget to pick up some art supplies from our shop so the kids can create their very own hippo drawings!
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