Hippopotamus amphibus

Once numerous in all African rivers and streams with deep water, the hippo is now largely restricted to natural parks and wildlife refuges. While hippos are found throughout the Okavango Delta their numbers are lower than popularly expected. This is attributed to previous hunting practices and the lack of grazing in the watery nothern sections of the Okavango Delta. This huge animal averages between 1,100-1,400 kg and can weigh as much as 3,200 kg. Its body is so sparsely covered by hair that it appears naked. On its skin are pores which exude droplets of moisture containing red pigment. As light is reflected through these droplets they appear red, giving rise to the statement that hippos "sweat blood." The hippopotamus is perfectly at home in the water, mating and giving birth there. Due to its specific gravity, it can submerge itself completely and walk on the bottom of the river. It comes up on land to feed on grasses and crops, mainly at night, and is most dangerous when it feels cut off from its watery environment.