The hippopotamus or hippo is a large animal, mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa. It is a plant-eating mammal and one of the only two species in the family of Hippopotamtdae.
The hippopotamus is semi-aquatic in that, it resides in rivers and lakes. They live and stay in a group of about five to 30 animals including the young and females.
It is rare to find these animals out of water or mud during the day; they move out at night and stay on land eating grass.
However, reproduction and childbirth is strictly in the water.
Despite their physical resemblance to pigs and other terrestrial animals, their closest living relatives are cetaceans like whales and porpoises from which they deviated about 55 years.
The earliest known hippopotamus fossils, belonging to the genus Kenyapotamus in Africa, are recorded to have existed as far back as 16 million years ago.
The hippopotamus is recognizable by its barrel-shaped stomach, enormous mouth and teeth, nearly-hairless body, stubby legs and tremendous size.
Hippos are the third-largest land mammal after the white rhinoceros (the second largest) and the largest being the elephants. Despite its stocky shape and short legs, it can easily outrun a human being.
These animals are one of the most aggressive creatures in the world and are often regarded as the most ferocious animal in Africa.
There are an estimated 125,000 to 150,000 hippos throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. 40,000 live in Zambia and 20,000–30,000 live in Tanzania which has the largest populations.
Despite being aggressive, hippos are affected by habitat loss and poaching.