Hippopotamus vs. Rhino: What's the difference?

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Difference between Hippopotamus and Rhino

The hippopotamus and the rhino are two distinct animals with markedly different physical characteristics and habits. Nevertheless, many people tend to confuse the two, and some are entirely unaware that they are totally different from one another. In this comparison article, we take a look at the key differences between both animal species.

Hippopotamus
Rhino

Profile

The hippopotamus is a large mammal that lives in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. It is mostly herbivorous, and is the largest land mammal in the world after the elephant.

Rhinoceros are animals that belong to the species of odd-toed ungulates in the Rhinocerotidae family. Two rhinoceros species are native to Africa, while the other three are endemic to southern Asia.

Characteristics

The hippopotamus is a semi-aquatic creature, and it lives mostly in rivers and lakes. There, the territorial bulls watch over their portion of the river and over the females and the young, which may be comprised of anywhere from 5 to 30 animals. They stay mostly in the mud during the day in order to maintain their body temperature, although reproduction and childbirth always take place in water. Hippopotamuses typically come out at dusk in order to graze on grass. Grazing is largely done individually, although hippopotamuses tend to rest near each other when in the water.

Rhinos are characterized by their large size, and all the members of the species can reach up to one ton or more in weight. They also subsist on a primarily herbivorous diet, and they have a thick layer of protective skin that ranges from 1.5 to 5 cm. in thickness. Rhinoceros skin is formed from layers of collagen arranged in a lattice structure, and their brains are quite small for their size. They also have the ability to ferment food in their hindgut allows them to draw nutrition from even fibrous plant matter.

Conservation Status

Studies have shown that the hippo population in Africa underwent a boom during or immediately after the Pleistocene Epoch. This occurrence is attributed to the increase in number of bodies of water at the end of that era. These findings are particularly important, give the fact that hippo populations across Africa are at risk of severe depletion due to diminished access to fresh water sources. Hippos are also at risk due to unregulated hunting and poaching.

Rhinos are under threat from poaching as well, and since December 2009, the entire species has been under threat globally, with efforts to protect them being mostly ineffective. The animals are particularly at risk from poaching since rhino horns are considered medicinal by many cultures.

Summary

Hippopotamus

  • A large mammal that lives in the sub-Saharan region of Africa
  • The largest land mammal in the world after the elephant
  • Populations across Africa are at risk of severe depletion due to diminished access to fresh water sources

Rhino

  • Belong to the species of odd-toed ungulates in the Rhinocerotidae family
  • Two species are native to Africa while the other three are endemic to southern Asia
  • Under threat from poaching

 
 

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