The hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), or hippo, from the ancient Greek for "river horse" is a large, mostly herbivorous mammal in sub-Saharan Africa and one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae (the other is the Pygmy Hippopotamus.)
The hippo is semi-aquatic, inhabiting rivers and lakes where territorial bulls preside over a stretch of river and groups of 5 to 30 females and young. During the day they remain cool by staying in the water or mud and reproduction and childbirth both occur in water.
They emerge at dusk to graze on grass. While hippopotamuses rest near each other in the water, grazing is a solitary activity and hippos are not territorial on land.
Despite their physical resemblance to pigs and other terrestrial even-toed ungulates, their closest living relatives are cetaceans (whales, porpoises, etc.) from which they diverged about 55 million years ago.
The hippopotamus is recognizable by its barrel shaped torso, enormous mouth and teeth, nearly hairless body, stubby legs and tremendous size. It is the third-largest land mammal by weight (between 1½ and 3 tons), behind the white rhinoceros (1½ to 3½ tons) and the three species of elephant (3 to 9 tons).
Despite its stocky shape and short legs, it can easily outrun a human. Hippos have been clocked at 30 km/h over short distances. The hippopotamus is one of the most aggressive creatures in the world and is often regarded as one of the most dangerous animals in Africa.