Hippopotamus, A Dangerous Animal

Most people know that hippopotamus (hippos) are giant land animals that live in Africa. They are the third largest land animals, only smaller than the elephant and the rhinoceros. What most people don't know is that hippos spend most of their time in water and can be very dangerous animals. This report will tell you different facts about hippos and their special features that help them survive in their habitat.

The name hippopotamus means river horse because they spend most of the time in the water. Hippos live in and around lakes in Africa. They mainly eat grass and some small water plants. Hippos get out of the water at night and set out to go find grass. They can eat up to 150 pounds of food per night. Their mouths can open to three to four feet wide to help them eat that much food. At dawn they go back to the water. They stay in the water most of the day to protect themselves from heat and predators.

Since hippos stay under water for most of the time, their ears, eyes, and noses are on the top of their heads so they can breath and see underwater. They can stay underwater for five minuets. A hippo's nose and ears close automatically when it goes underwater. Hippos have webbed feet to help paddle in the water. These are all examples of adaptations that help them survive in their habitat.

Besides staying under water, hippos have another interesting feature that helps them stay cool in the hot African sun. A hippo makes a pinkish oil that keeps its body moist in the hot sun. People used to think that hippos sweet blood, but it was really just the special oil.

Hippos seem like gentle creatures. When hippos feel threatened, at first they simply hide in the mud. If they are not near water, or if another animal or hippo is not leaving them alone, a hippo will show its teeth to try to scare away the other animal or hippo. If that doesn't work, hippos will start a fight with their teeth. Hippos will slash other animals with their giant tusks. Often hippos don't stop fighting each other until the other one is almost dead.

I really enjoyed doing my report on the hippo. I learned a lot of things that I never knew before. I always thought that hippos were gentle animals, but it turns out that they are one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. I also think it's fun that they get to swim all day.

I wrote this many years ago when I was in grade school. I thought it was cute to see the kind of writing I did back then, so I posted it. I hope you liked it.