Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/496

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opia. It is, however, receding fast before civilization. It inhabits both fresh and salt water.

Formerly, there is every reason to believe it existed in parts of Asia; but the species is now extinct on that continent.

There are said to be two species of hippopotami in Africa, namely, the hippopotamus amphibius and the hippopotamus Liberiensis, the latter being described as very much the smaller of the two; but, to the best of my belief, I never fell in with it.

The hippopotamus is a most singular-looking animal, and has not inaptly been likened to a "form intermediate between an overgrown hog and a high-fed bull without horns and with cropped ears." It has an immensely large head. Ray says the upper mandible is movable, as with the crocodile. Each of its jaws is armed with two formidable tusks; those in the lower, which are always the largest, attain, at times, two feet in length. The inside of the mouth has been described by a recent writer as resembling "a mass of butcher's meat." The eyes—which Captain Harris likens "to the garret windows of a Dutch cottage"—the nostrils and ears, are all placed nearly on the same plane, which allows the use of three senses, and of respiration, with a very small portion of the animal being exposed when it rises to the surface of the water. The size of its body is not much inferior to that of the elephant, but its legs are much shorter—so low, indeed, is the animal at times in the body that the belly almost touches the ground. The hoofs are divided into four parts, unconnected by membranes. The skin, which is of nearly an inch in thickness, is destitute of covering, excepting a few scattered hairs on the muzzle, edges of the ears, and tail. The color of the animal, when on land, is of a purple brown; but when seen at the bottom of a pool it appears altogether different, viz., of a dark blue, or, as Dr. Burchell describes it, of a light hue of Indian ink.

When the hippopotamus is enraged, its appearance is most