The name hippopotamus means “river horse” although they are most closely related to a family of animals that includes whales.

Adopt-an-Animal: Nile Hippoptamus

Did you know that hippos can run as fast as humans? Both aquatic and terrestrial, they spend most of the day in the water, but forage for food on land during the night, running to the water for safety if alarmed. They are poor swimmers but their massive weight allows them to walk on river bottoms. 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. Hippos maintain several symbiotic relationships; fish graze on algae growing on the hippo’s skin and birds like the oxpecker free them from parasites. 

Your Adopt-an-Animal donation will be used to support these gray giants and further the San Francisco Zoological Society’s mission to connect people to wildlife, inspire caring for nature, and advance conservation action. An adoption of a Nile hippopotamus makes a great gift for friends, coworkers, family or for yourself!

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