What do hippos eat?

Answer
Hippos are primarily herbivores and their diet consists mainly of grasses. Here are the key points about what hippos eat based on the provided search results:

Hippo Diet

  • Hippos are herbivores and their diet is dominated by short grasses found in the savannah regions of Africa123. Grass makes up the largest portion of their diet.
  • They feed mostly at night, consuming around 40 kg (80 lbs) of grass per adult hippo during their nightly grazing sessions35.
  • To supplement their grass diet, hippos also eat some fruits, young shoots, and reeds when available35.
  • During the day, hippos may briefly come out of the water to graze on grasses near rivers/lakes, known as "hippo lawns"5.

Meat Consumption

  • While fundamentally herbivores, there have been rare instances observed of hippos eating meat from animal carcasses or even cannibalism234.
  • However, these occurrences are very infrequent and considered anomalies, likely driven by scarcity of certain nutrients3.
  • The scientific consensus still maintains that hippos are herbivores based on their digestive system and predominant feeding habits35.

Feeding Adaptations

  • Hippos have a multi-chambered stomach and a long digestive tract that allows efficient absorption of nutrients from the grasses they consume5.
  • Unlike other herbivores, hippos do not chew cud and their digestive system is adapted to extract maximum nutrition from their nightly grass intake5.
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