What is the hippopotamus diet?

In this article, we are going to discuss the “What is the hippopotamus diet?”. I will also discuss the types of hippos, what their calves eat, and the countries they live in. I will add some of the predators that hunt hippos, and the diet for zoo hippos as well.

What is the hippopotamus diet?

The hippopotamus diet or hippo diet is a herbivorous diet. Their diet consists of leaves, ferns, fruits, aquatic plants, and roots. Unless hippos are under stress or need food, they will not go for meat.

Hippos spend their day by rivers and lakes, being nocturnal animals they feed during the night. They sleep during the day and eat at night. 

Their eating time stretches over 5 to 6 hours at night to compensate for the size of the hippo. They eat between 1% to 1.5% of their body weight. Their stored food lasts them 3 weeks if they do not have any food. 

Hippos graze on land with little aquatic plant consumption. Hippos do not go far beyond 1 km to 3 km from their home. There are two types of hippos. The common hippo called Hippopotamus amphibius eats grass and leaves mostly; however, it is rare for this type of hippo to feed on meat. 

Hippos are enormous and their weight differs according to gender. Common hippos’ females weigh less than males.  Females weigh 1400 kg, while males weigh between 1600 kg to 4500 kg. They are 3.3 m to 5 meters, with an average of 1.6 meters.

The second type of hippopotamus is Pygmy Hippopotamus (Hexaprotodon liberiensis or Choeropsis liberiensis) whose diet includes leaves, ferns, and roots next to where they live. 

This type of hippo has rounder heads and longer necks than common hippos. They weigh between 160 kg to 279 kg which makes them lighter than the common hippos. Their height ranges from 1.5 m to 1.75 m, a close height to the common hippos.  

Hippos are mammals that give birth.  They gave purple and gray colors, with brown and pink colors for their eyes and ears. They are quite sedentary animals, during the day they sleep and at night they barely move when they eat.

What do hippos calves eat?

Hippo calves are young hippos of eight-month of age. The average weight for hippos is 45 kg. Since hippos are mammals, they feed their calves milk for eight months, it takes a long time to fully switch from milk to grass. These calves start eating grass with their milk at only 3 weeks old.

Hippo’s breast milk is rich and nutritious, containing 500 calories in only one cup. Calves can feed both on land and underwater. Mothers give birth to only one calf and nurse them for 8 months.

What countries do hippos live in?

Common hippos live in the following countries:

  • Kenya
  • Liberia
  • Ghana
  • Namibia
  • Guinea
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Mozambique
  • South Africa
  • Sierra Leone

Pygmy hippos most commonly live in Liberia, with a smaller number that can be found in Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

Where do hippos choose to live?

Hippos chose to live next to bodies of water including swamps, lakes, rivers, streams, and shallow lakes. Although shallow lakes should be at least 2 meters in depth so that hippos can fully submerge under them. 

What are some hippo predators?

The offspring of hippos are more in danger of predators than the adult hippos. Some animals that might hunt hippos are lions, crocodiles, and hyaenas. These animals are their natural enemies. 

Hippos are not as slow as you might think, they can run up to 48 km per hour. Hippos spend 18 hours in the water, which makes them unlikely to be haunted by predators. Only those who stray away and are alone are easier to be haunted by predators. 

What do zoo hippos eat?

Zoo hippos’ diet is close to that of wild hippos. They have mixed vegetables, like lettuce, hay, alfalfa, and some fruits. Zoo hippos are at higher risk of obesity because of the limited space they are in, and therefore should not be overfed to prevent obesity.


In this article, we discussed the “hippopotamus diet”. I also discussed the types of hippos, what their calves eat, and the countries they live in. I added some of the predators that hunt hippos, and the diet for zoo hippos as well.


What do Hippos Eat? Discover the Hippo Diet (with Photos) – WildlifeTrip


What Do Hippos Eat? | Hippos Diet By Types | What Eats Hippos? (bioexplorer.net)

What Do Hippos Eat? – AZ Animals (a-z-animals.com)

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