Hippos live in rivers and lakes.
The name "hippopotamus" comes from Greek words meaning "water or river horse." But hippos are not related to horses at all! Their closest living relatives may be pigs or whales and dolphins.
A hippo is built for life in the water: its eyes, ears, and nostrils are on top of the head. The hippo can see, hear, and breathe while most of its body is underwater.
Hippos don't float. They also don't swim the way you do. They move around in the water by pushing off the bottom of the river with their feet. If you saw it underwater, it would look like the hippo was walking or running. If they need to, adult hippos can hold their breath for up to five minutes.
Great big grazers
Hippos eat the short grass that grows near their watery homes. They leave the water at dusk to graze. Sometimes they travel as far as 5 miles to find enough grass. They usually return to the water to avoid the heat of the sun. But if they get caught out in the sun, they have a special kind of skin protection. A thick, red goo called "blood sweat" oozes out of their pores. It works like sunscreen, and may even keep cuts and scratches from getting infected.