The East African Common Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious kiboko) is a large African even-toed ungulate (hoofed) mammal found in Kenya and Somalia. Hippopotamus means river horse, and amphibious means adapted to land and water. The hippo from East Africa has a broader nose and more hollowed eye sockets than other hippos.
The East African Common Hippo has a grey-brown hairless skin, with pink patches in creases. It has a barrel-shaped body with a short tail. Its head is large, with a wide mouth and canine ivory tusks. It has short legs with four webbed toes, but it can run for short distances at 30 kilometres per hour (19 miles per hour). It cannot jump.
It can grow to 1.65 metres (66 inches) tall and 3.7 metres (148 inches) long. It is the third largest land mammal (the elephant is the largest, and the rhinoceros is the second largest).
The East African Common Hippo lives half in the water and half out – this is called semi-aquatic. Therefore, it lives in freshwater rivers, lakes, and swamps. It does not like deep water. When it is in water, its body can remain underwater with only it eyes, ears, and nostrils above the water – and visible. It closes its nostrils when it is underwater. It can sleep underwater.
It lives in a group of about 30 individuals, which is called a pod, herd, or bloat.
The hippo is a herbivorous grazer, which means that it eats grass. It emerges from the water at dusk to feed alone along the river bank, where it grazes for 4-5 hours before returning to the water.
Females are pregnant for eight months before giving birth to a live young, called a calf. Baby hippos are born underwater, but swim quickly to the surface to take a breath of air.
Hippos live for about 40-50 years.
They are not related to pigs or other ungulates. They are related to cetaceans, which are whales, dolphins, and porpoises.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM