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The hippopotamus is the next largest land mammal, following rhinos and elephants. Additionally, it is the largest known land artiodactyl. The closest living relatives of the hippopotamids are cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises, etc.), despite the fact that the hippopotamids look like pigs and other terrestrial even-toed ungulates. where they split roughly 55 million years ago. The barrel-shaped torso, wide mouths with large canine tusks, almost hairless bodies, pillar-like legs, and large size make hippos easy to identify: Bulls (males) average 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) and cows (females) 1,300 kg (2,900 lb) as adults. It can run 30 km/h (19 mph) over short distances despite its stocky shape and short legs.

Mangrove swamps, rivers, and lakes are home to hippos. Each territorial bull oversees a group of five to thirty cows and calves and a stretch of water. In the water, both mating and birth take place. Hippos stay in water or mud during the day to keep cool, then emerge at dusk to graze on grasses. While hippos rest close to one another in the water, grazing is a solitary activity, and on land, hippos rarely exhibit territorial behavior. Due to their aggressive and unpredictable nature, hippos rank among the world’s most dangerous animals. They face threats from habitat loss and ivory (canine teeth) poaching for their meat.