Do Hippopotamuses have pink colored sweat? What is the reason for it?

If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, then this topic might catch your interest. There is a vast diversity of animal special all around the globe, and these animals hold distinct features that made them unique. Some animals live on land, trees, grass, semi-aquatic places, or even on water. In this article, we are going to focus on one animal that lives on both land and water – the hippopotamus. Furthermore, this animal is one of the few mammals that are comfortable living in the wetlands.

Besides its semi-aquatic trait, there is a common observation about them that their sweat is color pink. Why does a hippopotamus have a colored pink sweat? What is the scientific explanation behind this?

More about hippopotamus

Before we further look into the sweat of the hippopotamus, let us first have a brief knowledge about its characteristics.

The hippopotamus, also known as hippo, is a large semi-aquatic mammal living in sub-Saharan Africa. They are one of the largest and heaviest land mammals, and an adult hippo could weigh roughly 1,500 to 1,800 kilograms. You can easily distinguish their appearance because of their large barrel-shaped torsos, naked skinned, short legs, and wide-opening snouts with canine tusks.

Their diet mostly consists of aquatic plants since experts often regard them as herbivores. However, there are instances wherein they eat small fishes. As mentioned earlier, they are habitants of semi-aquatic places, and this is because they need water – or mud – to stay cool during the day. Furthermore, they require water for their reproduction and childbirth.

Moreover, despite the hippos’ calm and herbivorous nature, they are one of the most dangerous animals in the world because of their territorial behavior. Animal experts consider them as highly aggressive, and records show that they kill roughly 500 people in Africa per year. Furthermore, besides their massive body, they have mighty jaws that can break a canoe in half in one bite.

Do hippos have pink-colored sweat?

Now that we already gained a bit of knowledge about hippos, let us now take a look into our main question – do they have color pink sweat?

Hippos secrete a very much noticeable sweat, although it’s not much of a pinkish color, but rather reddish. Experts often call this reddish sweat as “blood sweat.”

However, this reddish fluid coming out from the hippo’s skin is not sweat, unlike those that come out from other mammals, as well as humans. For humans and most mammals, sweat is a way of cooling the body by releasing fluids out of the skin. This process does not go the same with hippos. The so-called blood sweat acts as a skin moisturizer, water repellent, and antibiotic. These are all essential to hippos since they have a semi-aquatic nature and spend most of their time in the water.

Furthermore, their skin is susceptible to sunlight, which is prone to get burned and dried out. This feature also explains why hippos love to stay in water or mud since they need to cool their bodies to avoid skin damages and survive. When their blood sweat-covered skin is exposed in sunlight, it will display reddish color.

Interesting facts about hippos

Experts often consider hippos as an amphibious animal because of their ability to stay in water for extended periods – with an average of 16 hours per day. As mentioned earlier, staying in water is one of their ways to cool their bodies and protect their skin from the sun.

Despite its calm nature, hippos are very loud animals. They make sounds from their mouth and nose that measures up to 115 decibels.

As expected in a semi-aquatic animal, hippos are good in the water. Experts say that they don’t swim; instead, they push their bodies from object to another. It is evident in their appearance that they can quickly move in the water despite their massive size. Furthermore, they can hold their breath for up to five minutes, allowing them to stay underwater for so long. There are also records showing that hippos can sleep underwater. These are only some of the many exciting characteristics of hippos, and their distinct features prove to us that they are not just an ordinary mammal.

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