Hippopotamus, the river horse

   The hippopotamus is found wild only in Africa, but almost every zoo has at least one. It stands captivity well. Many baby hippopotamuses have been born in captivity.
   "Hippopotamus" comes from Greek words meaning "river horse." Half of the name is a good one, for the hippopotamus spends much time in streams. But a hippopotamus is not much like a horse. It is a much closer relative of the pig.
   The hippopotamus is bigger than any land animal except the elephant. A big hippopotamus may weigh four tons. With its little beady eyes, tiny ears, and enormous mouth it is not a beautiful animal.
   This big animal often lies with only its flat face above water. It can then see, hear, and breathe, and still be well hidden by the muddy water of the river. It can also close its nose and stay under water for a few minutes at a time.
   The hippopotamus is a plant eater. It needs several bushels of food a day. In its big mouth it has some tusks which help it dig up plants by their roots.
   When a hippopotamus is excited its perspiration is red. The animal seems to be, but is not really, sweating blood.