Pink Hippo
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Hippos are one of nature’s true oxymorons; balloon-shaped and comical, yet capable of displays of aggression so fierce they can turn the water pink. Their dung is also a natural sunscreen, and their hulking bodies are surprisingly agile given how much they weigh.

This particular species, Hippopotamus niger, is known as the pink hippo or pink river hippo, and it has been spotted in Zambia, Africa. Its rare coloring is due to a genetic mutation that produces pink-colored cells in its skin and mucous membranes.

When a young hippo is born it is a light brown color, but as it grows and develops it becomes more of a pinkish hue. This is due to a special secretion that the hippos have, which comes out of their pores and resembles blood sweat. This secretion, called hipposudoric acid, protects the hippo’s sensitive skin from the sun and fends off bacteria, among other things.

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After a male hippo establishes his territory it will spray this mixture of urine and dung all over the area, coating sand, rocks, plants, and anything else in its path. This is done to mark the territory and attract females. Once the dominant male has a herd of females he will then compete with other males for mating rights. Only about 1 in 10 males will succeed in establishing their territory and becoming the dominate hippo.

As for the rumors of pink hippo milk, they are completely unfounded. While it’s possible that a baby hippo could be sprayed with the red secretions and turned pink, that would likely be a case of accident rather than intent. The hippo’s white milk, however, would probably turn bright orange-red if it were mixed with the hipposudoric acid.