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The common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) name comes from the Ancient Greek ‘river horse’. Native to sub-Saharan Africa, it is one of only two species in the family Hippopotamidae – the other is the pygmy hippopotamus. It is second largest land animal on Earth after the elephant. To stay cool in the blistering African heat, hippos spend most of their day around rivers and lakes. Hippos bask on the shoreline and secrete an oily red substance, which gave rise to the myth that they sweat blood. The liquid is actually a skin moistener and sunblock that may also provide protection against germs.Strong swimmers, they can hold their breath for up to five minutes underwater. When completely submerged, their ears and nostrils fold shut to keep water out. Their closest living relatives are cetaceans (whales, porpoises, etc.) from which they diverged about 55 million years ago. It is found in Eastern central and southern sub-Saharan Africa.