Hippo Facts for kids

Fun Hippopotamus Facts for Kids

Hey Kids!  Did you know that hippopotamus are considered one of Africa’s most dangerous animals? 

Did you know that hippos kill hundreds of people every year?  They are large animals. Hippos are the 3rd largest land mammal in the world! Do you want to learn more about these amazing creatures?  Check out these fun hippopotamus facts for kids!

Hippopotamus Facts for Kids

What is a Hippopotamus?

Scientific Name is Hippopotamus Amphibius. In Ancient Greek, it means River Horse.  Hippopotamus are mammals.  Mammals breathe air, give birth to their babies, and have hair. The word hippopotamus is such a long word that many people give them a nickname.  They are often called hippos.

Hippos are the 3rd largest land mammal after the elephant and the rhino 

There are two types of Hippos.  The Common Hippo and the Pygmy Hippo.

A male hippo is called a Bull. Female hippos are called cows, and babies are called calves.

Hippo walking on the grass with its mouth wide open

What does Hippopotamus Look Like?

Hippos have large, barrel-shaped bodies. Their skin is shades of brown or grey.  They have short legs, a large head, and a tail.   A hippo can be 12 feet long and 5 feet tall.  They can weigh 3 1/2 tons! They are the second-largest land mammal.  Elephants are the largest land mammals.

Hippos have a really large mouths. A hippo can open its mouth wide enough to fit a 4-foot child inside!

Hippos spend most of their day in the water.  Their eyes and nose are located on the top of their head. This allows them to breathe while their body is underwater.  

Hippopotamus Habitat

two hippos laying down


Hippos live in East Africa, South of the Sahara.  The hippopotamus lives in a semi-aquatic habitat. 

Semi-aquatic means they spend a lot of time in the water.  To stay cool, they spend much of the day in the water. 

Hippos can hold their breath underwater for 5-6 minutes! They are also really great swimmers.

What does a Hippopotamus Eat?

Hippos are large land animals; many would think they are meat eaters, but they’re not.

They are herbivorous, meaning they don’t eat meat. A hippo’s main diet consists of grass, fruits, and roots.

Hippos are more active at night. They graze at night, not far from the water, and eat a lot to reach their large size.

 Hippos eat 80-150 pounds of grass every day!

Mommy and Baby Hippo together

Baby Hippopotamus 

A mother hippopotamus is pregnant for 324 days, about 10 1/2 months.  Mother hippos give birth to one baby during the months of October through April. 

A mother gives birth to her baby underwater. Babies weigh between 50-120 pounds. Baby hippos drink milk from their mother for about eight months. 

Hippos are full-grown at about seven years old.  Mother hippos give birth every two years.

Fun Hippopotamus Facts for Kids 

The lifespan for a hippo is 50 years.

They can run 30 miles per hour for short distances.

Hippos sweat a red liquid.  It works as a moisturizer and keeps their skin from drying out. 

Hippos live in groups called schools, pods, bloat, or sieges of 10-30 hippos.

Most Dangerous Species 

Hippos are considered the most dangerous land mammal in Africa.  They can be aggressive. Each year they kill 100s of people in Africa.  

Hippos can be very territorial and will fight with other hippos over territory.


Due to their size, adult hippos have few predators. Lions have been known to kill hippos, and humans are also a threat to hippos due to hunting. 

Baby hippos are killed by lions, hyenas, and crocodiles.

Endangered Species 

Populations of hippos have been declining due to loss of habitat and hunting.  Currently, they are not an endangered species but are considered vulnerable. 

Free Printable Hippo Coloring Pages and Printouts