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Hippopotamus - The Hippo's Teeth And Its Diet

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Heterodyne to Hydrazoic acidHippopotamus - The Common Hippo, The Hippo's Teeth And Its Diet, Hippo In Water, Reproduction

The hippo's teeth and its diet

Hippos have a huge mouth, measuring up to 4 ft (1.2 m) across, and a pair of huge incisors in each jaw. Only a few teeth are immediately visible, mainly the curved lower canine teeth (which are a source of ivory) on the outer part of the jaw. Like tusks, these teeth continue to grow and can reach a length of 3 ft (1 m). Hippos are herbivores, grinding up vegetation with their big, flat molars at the back and the mouth. Hippos die when their molars have worn down too much to grind food.

After sunset, hippos come onto land in search of succulent grasses and fruits. The path to an individual bull's foraging ground may be marked by a spray of excrement that warns other hippos away. The cows do not mark their paths. Individual animals may wander as far as 20 mi (32 km) during the night to find food. It takes almost 150 lb (68 kg) of food each night to satisfy a hippo's appetite.


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