Hippo’s ears, eyes and nose

The hippopotamus can lie submerged in freshwater rivers or lakes for up to 16 hours a day.  

The Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) has its small ears, small eyes, and large nose at the top of its head and can submerge itself underwater, with only these parts of its body showing above the water.

Its eyes are in sockets that bulge upwards, which means that they sit above the surface of the water when the Hippopotamus is afloat. Its nostrils also face upwards and they close (seal) when it is underwater. Its ears also close shut to keep water out.

The Hippopotamus can sleep underwater and it can rise to the surface to breathe without waking. It cannot breathe underwater and can only hold its breathe for up to five minutes. It has to come to the surface to breathe.

It is semi-aquatic and can live in water and out of water. 

Location of photographs: Kenya

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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