Hippopotamus, Nile.jpg

Nile hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius amphibius) is a huge, heavy animal with short legs and an enormous head, extremely broad muzzle and a short neck. The body is barrel shaped and the belly hangs low, just above the ground. As the third biggest land animal -smaller but heavier than a white rhino- hippos weigh over 4,000 pounds and are 12 feet in length and up to five feet tall at the shoulder. The mouth itself measures two feet across, with long tusk-like incisors and canines that grow continuously. Ears, eyes and nostrils are located at the top of their head, allowing them to stay alert and breathe while almost completely submerged. Their ears and nostrils close automatically when the animal is under water for up to 5 minutes at a time. They have practically no hair, and their smooth skin is quite delicate. It exudes a red, oily liquid that keeps the skin moist and protected when the animal is out of the water. Lifespan is about 40 years in the wild, and over 50 in captivity.

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