Despite their bulky and heavy appearance, hippos’ subcutaneous fat layers are quite thin. The 2,000-kg giant is mostly made up of muscles, and 6-cm thick skin. This anatomical model by Jun Huang visualizes its muscular structure.
Hippos may eat meat.
Hippos are mostly herbivores, but they have been filmed eating carrion, usually close to the water. There are also other reports of meat-eating, even a hippo eating another hippo’s dead body.
The hippo is one of the most dangerous animals in Africa.
The hippo is among the most dangerous animals in the world as it is highly aggressive and unpredictable. Adult males are fiercely territorial, they are not afraid of attacking other animals, even humans in boats, to protect their territories and wives. Small boats can be capsized by hippos and passengers can be injured or killed. In one 2014 case in Niger, a boat was capsized by a hippo and 13 people died.
You may not be able to outrun a hippo.
Despite its stocky shape and short legs, it is capable of running 30 kilometers an hour over short distances. Comparatively, a normal person can sprint an 32 kilometers per hour.
Hippos have a stronger bite than big cats.
The bite of an adult hippo has been measured as 8,100 newtons, or 2000 psi. Even the biting champion in the feline family, the jaguar, can only reach 1500 psi, while a lion can only do 650 psi.
When you see a hippo “yawning,” run!
A hippo can open its mouth to almost 180 degree without tearing any muscles apart. When you see a hippo opening wide its mouth like it is “yawning”, it’s not a sign of fatigue, but a threat showing that it’s angry and ready to attack.