Do Hippos Have Hair? [Bald Hippo Myth]

Do hippos have hair? No, they don’t. Their bodies are practically hairless. Only a little fur is seen in front of the mouth and on the tip of the tail.

The hippopotamus’s skin is exclusively developed for both land and water. These mammals have successfully adapted to both the surroundings of land and water. However, the absence of wool on the skin makes them burn in sunlight. So hippos stay underwater during the day.

Do hippos have hair

Do hippos have hair?

Hippopotamuses have no hair. Only tiny bristles of fur are on its mouth and at the end of the tail. Ignoring this little wool, they are hairless.

Little hair is only seen on the mouth and tail of the hippo's body.

The hippopotamus has very thick skin. It is called “the hide”. It can be 5 centimeters or about 2 inches thick. It can also weigh up to half a ton. This “hide” is purple-grey and has no wool on it.

This is just how the hide has developed over the years. It allows the hippo to keep on land and in the water effortlessly. It also helps them to be free of bugs, lice, and other skin diseases.

They can easily wash off the dirt they carry while in the mud bath. However, this unique skin needs to be kept cool and moist. Because the scorching heat of Africa can easily leave them dehydrated, so they tend to stay in the rivers and canals for a long time during the day. This helps them stay nice and moist. They only come out to forage for grass at night.

Aquatic mammals such as dolphins, porpoises, and orcas also have this “hide” skin. They are also bald. Their bodies have bare skin and no hair. This is quite similar to the skin of hippopotamuses. The only difference is that hippopotamuses have a little fur as they have developed on land.

Why don’t hippos have hair?

Nature decides the best for everyone. It chose hippopotami to be bald. There could be many reasons behind this decision. One of those might be because they need to be in the water for a long time. We see that aquatic mammals have zero wool on their bodies. It helps them be wet for a longer period and not catch a cold.

As Hippos do not have any wool, their skin has no natural sweat glands. They keep in the canals to keep themselves moist during the day. But they sweat a thick and reddish liquid from their pores. This is often mistaken as blood sweat. However, it is not blood and is a helpful liquid that develops a layer of mucous on the skin. It keeps them from being sunburnt.

Bald Hippo Myth

Hairless hippo body

Hippopotami have been living in Africa for thousands of years. The locals have coexisted with the animal for generations. They know the animal like the palm of their hands. They learn surviving skills from their ancestors. These ancestors tell stories to the children.

One of the stories covers hippos and the reason behind their baldness. The Shangaan legends say that there was a time when hippopotamuses used to have a beautiful coat of wool.

He was immensely fond of the coat and loved to stare at his reflection standing near rivers and canals for hours. He believed himself to be the most beautiful being.

So he used to mock others for being uglier than him. Unfortunately, one day he decided to mock the hare. But the small yet cunning animal took it personally. So he decided to take revenge.

One day hare made a nice soft bed out of dry grasses for the giant to sleep on. The hippo saw the bed, and being pleased; he went to it straight away. But when he was sleeping, the cunning hare set the whole grass bed ablaze. The fire took away the manes of the hippo and left it with horrible injuries that looked ugly.

It ran to the water hole immediately to save itself. It lived but lost its beautiful fur permanently. It was so ashamed of being ugly in front of others that it decided to only come out at night to eat.


Many terrestrial and aquatic mammals are entirely bald. Considering hippopotami, do they have hair, or are they bald? They are hairless and have little fur on their mouth and tail only.

You might also be interested in:

Sharing is caring!

Photo of author

Team Animalia Facts

"Team Animal Facts" is an expert group of wildlife enthusiasts who are impassioned for mysteries of animal life and dedicated to exploring them.

Leave a Comment