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GAIA Case Study Zimbabwe: Hippo Color Icon

Zimbabwe: Landuse in Dry Tropical Savannas

Hippopotamus amphibious

Hippopotamus This animal is a graceful swimmer even though it may look big and sluggish on land. It's ears and nostrils can be closed off when it submerges into water. It leads a semi-acquatic existence and is often seen on land.

Even though it has no sweat glands it has a very low capacity for retaining body water as it has a thin epidemis over a thick dermis, hence has to resort to a deep underwater existence to avoid being dehydrated on a hot day.

The bull can exceed 1500kg in mass. It has special skin glands which secrets a red viscous fluid which has led to the myth that the hippo 'sweats blood'.

DeGraaff (1992)
Animals of the Kruger National Park. Struik Publishers, Cape Town. 10 pp.

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