World Hippopotamus Day, also popularly known as World Hippo Day, is celebrated every year on February 15. The special day is dedicated to hippopotamus and encourages people to take action to prevent their extinction. After elephants and rhinos, the hippopotamus is the next largest land mammal. Despite their physical resemblance to pigs, the closest living relatives of the hippopotamids are whales, dolphins, porpoises, etc., from which they diverged about 55 million years ago. Hippos are semiaquatic mammals that are native to sub-Saharan Africa and are primarily found in rivers and mangrove swamps. As we celebrate World Hippopotamus Day, here’s all you need to know about World Hippopotamus Day 2023 Date and the history and significance of the day. Texas Couple Criticised For Hurling Watermelon Into Hippo's Mouth For Gender Reveal Party; Says The Animal Was Not Harmed (Watch Video).


Hippopotamus is a Latin word which is derived from the ancient Greek origin of which ‘híppos’ means 'horse' and potamós stands for 'river', together meaning 'horse of the river'. Until 1909, naturalists classified hippos together with pigs based on molar patterns. The common ancestor of hippos and whales branched off from Ruminantia. As per records, the most recent theory of the origins of Hippopotamidae suggests hippos and whales shared a common semiaquatic ancestor that branched off from other artiodactyls around 60 million years ago.

The hypothesized ancestral group likely split into two branches again around 54 million years ago. One branch evolved into cetaceans with the proto-whale Pakicetus and other early whale ancestors collectively known as Archaeoceti. This group eventually underwent aquatic adaptation into the completely aquatic cetaceans. The other branch became the anthracotheres, a large family of four-legged beasts. All branches of the anthracotheres, except that which evolved into Hippopotamidae, became extinct during the Pliocene, leaving no descendants.


Hippos are among the most dangerous animals due to their aggressive and unpredictable nature. There are many factors leading to the extinction of these mammals. Drought has led to habitat loss of hippos, while hunting and poaching have also resulted in other adversities. World Hippo Day is a perfect opportunity for all of us to educate people and raise awareness about protecting these mammals and preventing their extinction. The day calls for a collective effort of people across the world to come together and protect them as they are threatened by habitat loss and poaching.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 15, 2023 08:00 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website