Hippopotamus

Hippopotamus

Dobhareach

  • Scientific name: Hippopotamus amphibius
  • IUCN status: Vulnerable
  • Habitat: West, Central, East and Southern Africa – rivers, lakes and short grasslands
  • Diet: Herbivore – mainly grasses

Graceful swimmers and fast runners, hippos graze during the night and spend most of the day in water to prevent their skin from drying out. Their eyes, ears and nostrils are positioned on top of the head so they can see, hear and smell when the rest of the body is submerged. Their reddish skin secretion acts as a sunscreen and may prevent any cuts and grazes from becoming infected in dirty water.

Keeper’s Secret

A hippo can open its mouth over a metre wide and a male's teeth can grow up to 70cm long. They can hold their breath for up to five minutes.

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