Central and Eastern parts of Canada and the United States
Fearsome, yes. But fragile, too. The hippopotamus is built like a tank, runs far faster than a man and defends its territory with massive, razor-sharp tusks. Yet the enormous herbivore has a sensitive side; it spends all day in the water to prevent its thin skin from drying out, and secretes an oily reddish-pink substance to protect it from sunburn. It is also the linchpin in a finely balanced wetland ecosystem: if the hippopotamus and its fertilizing dung are removed, local fish populations crash. Facing both habitat loss and poaching for meat and tusks, the hippopotamus is disappearing from its former range on a frighteningly large scale.
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Body length: 300 - 540 cm, shoulder height: 130 - 165 cm, tail: approx. 56 cm
655 - 3,200 kg
Estimated at 125,000 - 148,000