It is incredibly common for people to believe that hippos are herbivores. Individuals commonly take this belief as fact, even though there is very little evidence to support the idea that hippos are herbivores. One of the most common pieces of evidence used to support the idea that hippos eat primarily plants is their diet in zoos and parks, where they predominantly graze on grasses or other vegetation, But in reality, hippos are Omnivores, we will go into detail in this article.
In short, Hippos are omnivores, that is to say, they are not exclusively herbivores or carnivores. Their diet changes depending on the availability of food but they eat both meat and plants
What is an Omnivore?
In biology, an omnivore is a species that eats both other animals and plants. In other words, an omnivore has both carnivorous and herbivorous adaptations. This makes them different from carnivores and herbivores.
Omnivores have been found to have a longer life span than herbivorous animals, although not always. The longest-living terrestrial vertebrate species is the Bowhead Whale, which can live to be over 200 years old.
A hippopotamus is said to live for an average of 45 years in the wild. Hippos are incredibly difficult to classify because they combine features from both plant-eaters and meat-eaters, but it seems clear that they are primarily omnivorous. They are not exclusive herbivores or carnivores.
Although hippos are primarily herbivorous, they have been known to eat meat on occasion, especially when their usual foods are scarce. Hippos have even been observed attacking humans. They have strong jaws and large incisors that they use to chop grasses before swallowing them whole.
Do Hippos Eat Meat?
Yes, Hippos are meat-eaters. Their carnivorous adaptation includes long, sharp canine teeth that are used to kill prey. Hippos have been observed to kill other animals by biting them and drowning them in water.
What Do Hippopotamus Like to Eat?
Hippos are known for preferring to eat grasses, but they will also eat aquatic plants. Hippo grass is no different than other grass. It has blades bent downward at the tip and densely packed roots that enable it to form dense clumps. It is green in color and grows up to 1 meter (3 feet) tall, with leaves that grow up to 10 cm (4 inches) long.
Although hippos are omnivore, one of their favorite foods are leaves. Leaves make up most of the diet of the Hippo. Hippos love eating leaves and is found to eat up to 100 pounds of them per day. Although they spend most of the time in and around the water, if their habitat lacks sufficient amounts of aquatic vegetation, Hippos are known to forage for land vegetation
Hippos are herbivores but they do eat fruits occasionally. But since they are herbivores, where do you think the fruits come from? That’s right, trees. Since hippos can go out of the water , they forage for fruits on land. It is reported that hippo love to eat fruit and this has been confirmed by scientists.
Unlike most Carnivores, hippos will also eat seeds. They also sometimes eat fruit and insects, but they are more likely to be preyed upon by carnivores than they are to prey on other herbivores due to their bulk and powerful jaws.
Hippopotamus has been known to eat crocodile eggs. Hippos have been observed killing and eating crocodiles. However, most of the time when hippos have been seen attacking crocodiles, they have been baby crocs, so it is unlikely that an adult will be a viable target for a hungry hippo.
Hippopotamus will eat zebras, during the night they will come out of their hiding spot and will eat any animal that can’t run fast enough. This usually happens on rare occasions but zebras often times find themselves, victims when coming to drink water. Zebras are escape artists. Hippos would often stay around to eat the Zebras, as they were no longer an impediment to them drinking water.
Hippopotamus has also been known to eat their young. When the mother hippo gives birth, they won’t stay there long after they are born. A new born hippo, is just as vulnerable as any other animal that is newly born. This includes their unguarded teeth and tusks that are still developing. Hippos don’t care about killing their young or themselves for that matter, for food.
Although Hippos are not heavy meat eaters, they have been known to eat other animals, especially if their preferred food sources are not readily available. Hippos will also kill and eat small animals, insects, and even other hippos, especially during times of drought.
In conclusion, Hippos are omnivores. They eat both vegetation and animals. Due to their great bulk, they are easy prey for both larger animals and predators. They are herbivores but they will eat meat from time to time.
Lydia King is a huge animal lover and has always been fascinated with learning about the animal kingdom. She enjoys writing about anything animal related from scientific information about rare species to animal references in pop culture.