Nile Hippopotamus

Size: Up to 5.5 feet tall
Habitat/Range: Rivers and lakes with surrounding grasslands of sub-saharan Africa
IUCN Status: Vulnerable


Head to Adventure Aquarium's Hippo Haven to meet and witness Button and Genny, two massive Nile hippos (3,000 lbs each). Adventure Aquarium is the only Aquarium in the world with hippos on exhibit, and guests are provided a very unique view of these magnificent creatures, via our underwater viewing window where they frolic (really!), jump out of the water and press their snouts against the glass, going eye-to-eye with even our smallest visitors.

#AAQFeaturedCreature Facts

  • Did you know that hippos don't swim? Really! They use their powerful legs and webbed feet to run and leap underwater.
  • Hippopotamus may be Greek for #RiverHorse but their DNA tells us their closest relatives are actually cetaceans aka whales and dolphins.
  • Did you know an adult hippo can close her nostrils and hold her breath for about 5 minutes?
  • Hippos are herbivores, which means their diet consists of grasses and plant life.
  • Hippos are the third largest land mammal. Like the giraffe, they have few natural predators due to their size.
  • Button + Genny enjoy enrichment like underwater target training. The girls touch their nose to a target + get a treat!
  • Hippos can sleep underwater using a reflex that allows them to bob up, take a breath and sink back down without waking up!
  • Hippo skin is hairless and sensitive, so it needs to stay wet. They can't actually sweat, but their skin will secrete a red substance that is a skin-moistening sunblock.
  • In the African wild, the mid-day sun is hot and all animals need to protect themselves. The hippo will cover its skin in mud in order to stay cool, especially when water levels are low.


Are you a hippo fan? Show Button and Genny your #HippoLove this Presidents’ Day Weekend! Back by popular demand, join us for our 3rd annual Hippo Awareness Weekend on Saturday, February 18 through Monday, February 20.


 Hippo Infographic