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Recreating Nature Indoors

Ever wonder who made the dioramas in our mammal halls? Read all about the artists who created these wonderful scenes. Learn more >

The Making of a Diorama

The Habitat Views video considers ways of looking at dioramas today, and documents the creation of several new displays. Take a look over on our  YouTube channel >

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Get special access to the Museum's vast collections on these exclusive tours! 
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Mammalogy Contacts

Jorge Velez-Juarbe, Ph.D.
Assistant Curator of Marine Mammals

Jim Dines, Ph.D.
Collections Manager
(213) 763-3400

David Janiger
Curatorial Assistant
(213) 763-3369



Hippopotamus amphibius (Linnaeus, 1758)

Hippopotamus diorama in the African Mammal Hall


 Athi River, Kenya


 John Jewett Garland

Background artist:

 Robert Russell Reid

Also present:

 olive baboon (Papio anubis),
Bare-faced Go-away Bird (Corythaixoides personatus),
Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta),
Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis),
Saddle-bill Stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis),
Spotted Dikkop (Burhinus capensis),
Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides),
Rueppell’s Starling (Lamprotornis purpuropterus),
White-browed Coucal (Centropus superciliosus)

Hippos are gregarious, living in groups of up to 40 animals known as a pod, a herd, a school, or a bloat. Hippos average 11 feet in length, 5 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 7000 lbs. They can run at up to 35 mph for short distances.

The second largest land mammal (after the elephant), hippos are now known to be the closest living relatives of whales.

Biological Information

Range map for the Hippopotamus


Scattered pockets in sub-Saharan Africa but no longer in South Africa


Rivers and lakes


Vulnerable to intensive hunting but well represented in many game parks


Grasses and other available vegetation

Further information about this species may be found on the Animal Diversity Web page for hippopotamus.