About This Project

The river horse…

The hippopotamus has an amphibious lifestyle: it spends the daytime in the water, protecting itself from the sun, and comes back onto land at night to feed. This lifestyle has brought a variety of adaptations, principally its eyes and nostrils, which are on top of its head, and its webbed toes… Its barrel-shaped body helps it to move gracefully underwater along the riverbed.

Although it is a herbivore, the hippopotamus is a very dangerous animal, liable to charge whenever it is disturbed.
There is a pair of hippos at La Barben zoo, but if you want to see them, you might have to be patient, since they can easily stay underwater without breathing for up to 5 minutes! Though you might be lucky enough to hear the loud grunts they make, both under and out of the water…

Latin name: Hippopotamus amphibius
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetartiodactyla
Family: Hippopotamidae
Size: 1.3 – 1.6 m tall, 3.5 – 5 m long
Weight: 1 – 4.5 tonnes
Lifespan: 45 years
Gestation: 7.5 – 8 months
Number of young: 1
Habitat: part fresh water, part savannah
Diet: herbivorous
Distribution: sub-Saharan Africa
Conservation status: vulnerable