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Scientific Name:

Hippopotamus Amphibius


The hippopotamus is typically a slate brown color to muddy brown, with purplish hues often visible. The eyes and nostrils protrude, allowing the animal to see and breathe while otherwise submerged in the water. The hippopotamus is recognizable for its barrel-shaped torso, enormous mouth and teeth, hairless body, stubby legs and tremendous size. It is similar in size to the White Rhinoceros; only elephants are consistently heavier. Despite its stocky shape and short legs, it can easily outrun a human. Hippos have been clocked at 30 mph (48 km/h) while running short distances, faster than an Olympic sprinter. The hippopotamus is among the most dangerous and aggressive of all animals, and are regarded to be Africa's most dangerous animal. There are an estimated 125,000 to 150,000 hippos remaining throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, of which Zambia (40,000) and Tanzania (20,000-30,000) have the largest populations. They are still threatened by poaching for their meat and ivory canine teeth, and by habitat loss.


The preferred habitat of this species is deep water with adjacent reed beds and grasslands. Rivers, swamps and protected areas. Formerly everywhere south of the Sahara where adequate water and grazing occur. Largely confined now to protected areas but still survives in many major rivers and swamps. Hippos need water deep enough to cover them, within commuting distance of pasture. They must submerge because their thin, naked skin is vulnerable to overheating and dehydration. They avoid rapids, preferring gently sloping, firm bottom where herds can rest half-submerged and calves can nurse without swimming.


Historically, hippos have been found throughout all of subsaharan Africa, but most populations have been reduced or exterminated. Currently, the only large populations of hippos occur in the Nile river valley of East Africa.


A massive animal, it measures 1500mm in height at the shoulder and has a length of 4310-5160 mm, of which about 560mm is tail.


The average weights for adult males ranged between 1500-1800 kg (3,300-4,000 lbs). Females are smaller than their male counterparts, with average weights measuring between 1300-1,500 kg (2,900-3,300 lbs).


A hippo's lifespan is typically 40 to 50 years.[

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