Baby Hippopotamus & Reproduction
Baby Hippopotamus: Gestation lasts from 190-210 days, the hippopotamus baby birth occurrs during the rainy season. The female gives birth to her baby hippopotamus on land or in shallow water. In water, the mother helps the newborn to the surface, later teaching it to swim. Newborns weigh about 93 pounds (42 kg).
Baby Hippo Care: The mother and her baby hippo will stay separate from the herd for 10-14 days after birth. The newly born baby hippopotamus will weigh from 55 to 120 pounds.They are protected by their mothers, not only from crocodiles and lions but from male hippos that, oddly enough, do not bother them on land but attack them in water. The young hippo baby can suckle under water by taking a deep breath, closing their nostrils and ears and wrapping their tongue tightly around the teat to suck. This procedure must be instinctive, because newborns suckle the same way on land. She weans the offspring about 8 months after birth. Female hippos with offspring usually live in groups of 10-15 individuals, but can be as large as, groups of up to 150. Young hippos can only stay under water for about half a minute. A young hippo begins to eat grass at 3 weeks, but its mother continues to suckle it for about a year. Newborns often climb on their mothers’ backs to rest.
Hippopotamus Reproduction: Males become sexually mature between the ages of 4-11, but usually by age 7. Females become sexually mature between the ages of 7-15, but usually by the age of 9. Mating season coincides with the dry season when hippo populations are concentrated at water sources.
Hippos reproduce about every two years in the wild. Mating usually occurs in the water, and females are sometimes completely submerged. Females must push their heads above water to take occasional breaths of air.