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Although he seems so firm to us
He is merely flesh and blood.

The common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), or hippo, is a large, mostly herbivorous mammal in sub-Saharan Africa, and one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae, the other being the pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaprotodon liberiensis). The name comes from the ancient Greek for "river horse". After the elephant and rhinoceros, the common hippopotamus is the third-largest type of land mammal and the heaviest extant artiodactyl. Despite their physical resemblance to pigs and other terrestrial even-toed ungulates, the closest living relatives of the Hippopotamidae are cetaceans (whales, porpoises, etc.) from which they diverged about 55 million years ago.


  • I shoot the Hippopotamus
    With bullets made of platinum,
    Because if I use leaden ones
    His hide is sure to flatten 'em.
    • Hilaire Belloc, "The Hippopotamus", The Bad Child's Book of Beasts (1896).
    • Parody: American women shoot the hippopotamus with eyebrows made of platinum.
  • The broad-backed hippopotamus
    Rests on his belly in the mud;
    Although he seems so firm to us
    He is merely flesh and blood.
  • Did you ever see the Rhinoceros, and the Hippopotamus, at the Zoological Gardens, trying to dance a minuet together? It is a touching sight.
    • Lewis Carroll, A Selection from the Letters of Lewis Carroll to his Child-Friends (1933) edited by Evelyn M. Hatch, Letter to Gaynor Simpson (27 December 1873), p. 91.
  • He thought he saw a Banker's Clerk
    Descending from the bus:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A Hippopotamus:
    'If this should stay to dine,' he said,
    'There won't be much for us!'
    • Lewis Carroll, Sylvie and Bruno, Chapter 7: The Baron's Embassy
  • A man looking at a hippopotamus may sometimes be tempted to regard a hippopotamus as an enormous mistake.
  • Behold the hippopotamus!
    We laugh at how he looks to us,
    And yet in moments dank and grim,
    I wonder how we look to him.
  • Away on the hilltop sat combing her hair
    His fair Hippopotamine maid.
    The Hippopotamus was no ignoramus
    And sang her this sweet serenade:

    Mud! Mud! Glorious mud!
    Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood.
    So, follow me, follow, down to the hollow,
    And there let us wallow in glorious mud.
  • There is something about a blurb-writer paying his respects to a funny book which puts one in mind of a short-sighted lord mayor raising his hat to a hippopotamus.
  • The muckle hippopotamus
    spelders in glaur apo’ his kite.
    A solid fact he seems tae some.
    They arena right.

    The hippo’s coorse digestive tract
    erodes through frequent emptying.
    The KIRK’s the only solid fact
    that winna ding.

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