Hippopotamus Facts/Characteristics

Hippopotamus Facts

There is much hippopotamus information that has been gathered because of the hippopotamus’s ability to acclimate to zoo life. In the wild, the hippopotamus facts have been collected within the hippopotamus reserves.

The hippo’s proportions reflect its sedentary, amphibious existence. Its plump and bulky body is set on short, stumpy legs, with each foot having four toes. Although webbed, the toes splay enough to distribute the weight evenly over each toe and therefore adequately support the hippo on land.

The hippopotamus, whose hide alone can weigh half a ton, is the third-largest living land mammal, after elephants and white rhinos.

With very thick skin, especially over the back and rump, the grayish-brown body is almost completely hairless, with only a few bristles around the mouth and the tip of the tail. The hippo relies on water or mud to keep it cool, and the red fluid may have a similar function, but it is often produced in copious amounts when the animal is excited.

The Hippopotamus red liquid excretion from their pores, protects their skin from sun and infection Hippos can open their mouths up to 150 degrees wide! The hippo has neither sweat nor sebaceous glands but does have unique glands that produce a viscous red fluid, leading to the myth that hippos “sweat blood.”

Hippos are the third largest animal on land. Only elephants and some rhinos are bigger. An adult male hippopotamus can weigh as much as 3200 kg (7000 lbs), but are usually around 2300 kg (5000 lbs). Adult females only weigh about 1800 kg (4000 lbs).

Hippopotamus are the closest living land mammals to whales and dolphins. Perhaps this is why a hippo can hold it’s breath for about 5 minutes. They spend much of their day in the water or snoozing on the beach.