Why are Hippos so Big | Is Hippo Really Fat?

Nature is filled with humongous animals. The hippopotamus is undeniably one of them. But why are hippos so big? Are hippos the biggest living animal? What is the fattest animal on land The answer to these questions is not so straightforward.

Hippopotamuses are considered chubby creatures. But are they really? If so, then what makes them so fat? But in reality, hippopotamuses are not obese animals. Instead, their fat is in fact quite helpful for their bodies. Today we’re going to talk about this.

why are hippos so big

5 Reasons behind a hippo’s hugeness

There are a few reasons behind a hippo being so big.

  1. A hippo’s physique is built in a way to carry the huge weight of their bodies. As a result, they need strong muscles & dense bones. Their jaw muscles are so strong that they can eat up a watermelon with one bite.
  2. Hippos are herbivores meaning they eat grass. But they just don’t eat it, they devour it in a shocking quantity. So much eating adds so much weight to their bodies.
  3. To digest so much grass & vegetation hippos have a specialized stomach. It is like a biofactory for fermentation. This multi-chambered stomach requires a strong & huge body to sit in & operate.
  4. Hippopotami are not chubby. They are made up of extreme muscles. The fat layers they have are surprisingly thin. But their skin is very thick (about 2 inches).
  5. Being so huge also has its benefits. No predator would want to attack something of that mass.

Average hippo hugeness

A hippo has very little plump in it’s body. About 18% of it’s body weight is skin. And beneath that, there lies a thin blanket of fat. However, hippopotami do have a considerable amount of plump in it’s ribs.

People from the 19th century used to call it “sea-cow pork” & preserve it for further use. They used to make a sort of grease for households using it. Surprisingly hippo plump is quite similar to that of beef.

hippopotamus resting on sand

Are hippopotamuses the thickest animal?

Blue whales are considered to be the thickest living animal. They have a record-breaking amount of body fat that is 35%. Considering their monstrous weight, the amount of oil they carry is even more breathtaking. They have this fat in their body called Blubber. It is a delicate oil tissue that is carried by marine mammals.

Whales however have the thickest of blubbers. Seals also have blubbers. This rich Blubber tissue allows the marines to maintain their submersion, buoyancy & helps them in swimming.
Hippopotamuses however don’t have blubbers.

The necessity of fatty hippos

Being fatty is not always so bad. And for a hippopotamus, it truly helps them in many ways. Such as:

  1. A hippopotamus can store energy in its plumpy tissues.
  2. They can easily go without food for weeks with the help of the plump that is reserved in their bodies.
  3. The thick tissues also help them to maintain their body temperature in the scorching heat of Africa.
Hippo adores her baby


Hippos are incredibly fit creatures. They may seem dumpy but they are in no way obese animals. Rather they have tough muscles all over the body. They are very energetic, very hungry & lastly very angry beasts.

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Clay Traynor

Hello, I am Clay, a Zoophilist, Researcher, and Writer. I Write interesting and unknown facts about animal life, habitat, and health.

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