Friday, February 18, 2011


Phylum : Chordata
Class : Mammalia
Order : Artiodactyla
Family : Hippopotamidae
Genus : Hippopotamus
Species : amphibius

Length : 10-16ft (3-5m)
Weight : Males 3,500-10,000lbs (1,600 to 4,5035 kgs); Females 3,000lbs (1,400 kgs)

IUCN Status : Vulnerable

The Hippopotamus is the third heaviest of all land animals, behind the Elephant and White Rhino. A large males can weight as much at 10,000lbs (4,535kg)! Even at birth they are huge; a newborn weighs around 100lbs (45kg).

Hippopotamuses are one of the most dangerous land mammals in Africa. Males are especially territorial and use their long tusks for fighting over land and harems of females. Threatened Hippos can attack and kill humans, and are able to run at speeds of up to 14mph (30kph).

Hippopotamus Teeth
Hippopotamuses have skin that needs to constantly stay moist. In order to accomplish this they remain in water for as long as possible, sometimes up to 16 hours a day. Adults can hold their breath for around 5 minutes (though longer times have also been observed in necessary situations), while newborns can last only about half a minute. Hippos also secrete a weird, reddish colored mucus that keeps the skin moist and helps to prevent sunburn. It is also thought that this mucus might help to prevent skin infections.

At night, the Hippos leave the water to graze. Interestingly, they eat very little compared to their body weight, only around 1-1.5%.

Illegal hunting and habitat loss have hurt Hippopotamus numbers, and overall their population is decreasing. They are protected in many areas, but coverage and enforcement is spotty.

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