The common hippopotamus, Hippopotamus amphibius, resides throughout sub-Saharan Africa wherever there is water deep enough for it to submerge during the day.
Hippos graze on land; they do not eat while in the water and aren’t known to graze on aquatic plants. They prefer short, creeping grass and small green shoots and reeds.
A Hippo’s stomach is multi-chambered and can store food for a long period of time which explains why they spend a lot of time in water and can only feed for longer periods in the evening.
In the evening hippos go out of the water for serious feeding. They can move long distances of up to 8 kilometers in search for food. During this nocturnal feeding activity, an adult hippo can eat an average of 40 kilograms of grass. The Hippo uses its lips to pull grass and its 20-inch long teeth to chew before swallowing.
In Uganda, Hippos can be found in the following national parks;
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Hutchison Falls National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park
Lake Mburo National Park
Semuliki National Park
Hippos feed during the night because they need protection from the hot savannah sun. Hippos have no sweat glands and therefore the hot sun is bad for their skin. This is why they hide in water for much of the day.
Hippos take the same path for grazing in the evenings. The feeding area can expand to as far as 2 miles from the water, they feed in a circle pattern and this pattern keeps getting wider and wider.
Even though the hippos stay together in groups, they prefer feeding individually. They follow these feeding trails every day to feeding and trace back when the sun comes up high.