Hippo at the zoo


In the waters of sub-Saharan Africa lives the world’s third-largest mammal. We are home to two hippopotamuses, male ‘Lobi’ and his grandmother ‘Sparky’.

Water lovers with powerful bodies

Barrel-shaped and muscular, hippos spend most of their time in water to protect their delicate skin from drying and burning in the hot sun. While they are too dense to float, hippos use their short legs to walk and run along the bottom of riverbeds. These herbivores are known for their huge mouths, with 20-inch-long canines that are used for fighting and a bite that is nearly three times stronger than that of a lion.


  • IUCN Red List Status: Vulnerable (at high risk of extinction in the wild)
  • Type: Mammal
  • Habitat: Wetlands, rivers, lakes, and swamps of sub-Saharan Africa
  • Diet: Herbivore – grasses, plants, and fruit
  • Size: Up to 16.5 feet long and 5.2 feet tall
  • Weight: Up to 4.5 tons
Hippo Hippo Hippo

Care & Conservation

Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary

Our work in hippo conservation doesn’t stop at the zoo. We work with the Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary (WCHS) to protect one of the last remaining hippo populations in Ghana.
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Facts about our animals

Fun Facts about Hippos

Hippos can open their jaws 180 degrees.

They can eat up to 88 pounds of food each night.

Hippos cannot sweat, but secrete a red, viscous liquid to protect their skin.

A hippo can hold its breath for up to five minutes.

Hippos are most active at night when they go to forage for food.

They run at an average speed of 35 kilometres an hour.



How you can help

Your donation makes a world of difference. With support for animal care, conservation programs, and education, you’re making the world wilder.

Meet our Animals

Destination Africa


Destination Africa


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Western Lowland Gorilla

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Western Lowland Gorillas

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African lion, Baruti

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African Lions

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Wild Boar

Plan your visit

Get close to wildlife

It’s time to make some memories. Here’s everything you need to know to plan an unforgettable day at the zoo.