What do hippos eat?
Hippopotamus are large mammals that live in Africa.
They are vegetarians, meaning they don’t eat meat.
Hippos are very large animals; the average adult is about 6.5 feet tall, weighs 7000-9000 pounds, and can be up to 16 feet long.
A full-grown hippo may not seem like an animal that would eat water plants.
However, they are herbivores and subsist mainly on aquatic vegetation in their natural habitat.
Over 60 different kinds of water plants have been found in the stomachs of hippos, but their favorites seem to be the various types of grasses that they can find near the surface of the water.
They also eat some types of flowers that grow on land.
Hippos have chambered stomachs that are similar to those found in cattle, who are also herbivores.
The chambers allow the vegetation to ferment so it is not hard for them to digest.
They get their energy from the sugar and starches in these plants.
Some of the fibers are broken down in the stomach by anaerobic bacteria.
Once these compounds are broken down, they can be absorbed through the intestinal walls and into the bloodstream.
Hippos’ Dietary Habits
Hippos like to eat alone, but not when it comes to mating.
While hippos mostly like to spend their days in the water (more than 4 hours per day), they like to spend their evenings on land.
During this time, the male and female hippos will meet up and mate for an hour or two.
Afterward, the male returns to the water and leaves the female to look after her young.
Scientists don’t know a lot about how herbivorous animals like the hippopotamus behave in the wild, but they can make some observations about what hippos eat based on their behavior.
When hippos are in the water, their most likely food source is submerged grasses.
Hippos like to roll around in vegetation that has grown along the banks of rivers and lakes.
This behavior may not be related to how they get their food; it could be a form of protection from biting insects, or it could just be a way to remove dead skin cells.
No matter the reason for this behavior, it does give scientists an opportunity to see what kinds of plants and vegetation they like to eat.
They also can determine how much grass is on the land within their territory because there will be much less grass in the area where they have been rolling.
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