Hippopotamus

Hippopotamus

Private collection

Recycled steel with bronze patina. 36"x 15 x 21. 2011

 

The hippopotamus can weigh three and a half tons and is the third-largest living land mammal. It was considered the female deity of pregnancy in ancient Egypt.

The hippo's massive proportions reflect its sedentary, amphibious lifestyle. Its plump, bulky body is set on short, stumpy legs, with each foot having four splayed toes that distribute it's great weight on land.

Once common to all of Africa, hippos are now abundant only in East Africa. Poachers hunt hippos for their large, soft ivory tusks, which are easier to carve than elephant tusks.

Humans continue to encroach into hippo habitat, using the fresh water where hippos live for farming needs. A new threat to hippos are hunters who kill them for their meat, which has become a popular food item.