Gorongosa turns into a virtual water world during the rainy season and that is good for our hippos! Gorongosa was home to about 3,500 hippos in the 1970’s and they did a good job mowing the grasses of the Lake Urema floodplain. Today, Gorongosa has about 440 hippos but that is up from about 100 hippos in 2000.
Hippos weigh up to 3.5 tons, which makes them the third-largest land mammal in the world after elephants and white rhinos. Hippos are amphibious – they spend most of their day resting and socializing in the water, and most of the night eating grass on land. An adult hippo can walk up to 5 miles or more from the water looking for food and they eat 20-40 kg of grass every night. Their huge sharp canine teeth are used for self-defense and for fighting other hippos, not for eating. When they eat, they pull grass out of the ground with their lips and chew it with their large molars.