Types of Hippos

You already know that Hippopotamuses are large, semi-aquatic mammals native to sub-Saharan Africa and are known for their distinctive shape, powerful jaws, and aggressive behavior.

However, did you know that there are several species of hippos, both extant and extinct?

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the different types of hippos that have existed throughout history, from the common hippopotamus found in Africa today to the pygmy hippopotamus and the extinct species such as the Tethys hippopotamus.

We will explore each species’ characteristics, habitat, and behavior and learn about the scientific discoveries and findings that have helped us better understand these fascinating animals. Whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast or simply curious about the diverse history of hippos, this blog post is a must-read.

hipo species
The common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious) – Types of Hippos

Extant Hippo Species

Today Scientists recognize only two extant species of hippopotamuses: the common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) and the pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaprotodon liberiensis).

Common Hippopotamus

Weighing approximately three tons, the Common Hippo is the largest of two remaining species of Hippos worldwide. From the early times of Egyptian writings, the Hippo has been considered a symbol of strength and fertility in their culture.

The common hippopotamus, also known as the river hippopotamus, is the largest species of hippo and is found in sub-Saharan Africa. They are semi-aquatic and spend most of their time in the water, coming on land mainly to graze at night.

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Extant Hippo Species
Extant Hippo SpeciesThe common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious) in a group in the water

Pygmy Hippopotamus

The pygmy hippopotamus, also known as the dwarf hippopotamus, is a smaller species that is found in West Africa, specifically in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. They are less aquatic than the common hippo and spend most of their time on land.

The size of the Pygmy Hippo is substantially smaller than the Common Hippo. However, tipping the scales at about one ton is nothing small to bat an eye about.

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Extinct Hippo Species

In addition to these two extant species, several extinct species of hippos have been identified through fossil evidence. Some extinct species of hippos include Hippopotamus gorgops, Hippopotamus lemerlei, and Tethys hippopotamus. These extinct species of hippos were found in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and the extant species differ in size, shape, and behavior.

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