What Color is Hippo Sweat? Is It Blood Sweat?

Most people commonly misunderstand the reality of the red Hippo sweat, and some even steps further and confuse it for blood. Unlike the human sweat, which is watery and seeps from glands on our skin’s surface, the Hippo sweat is more like magma.

This glandular secretion erupts from deep inside those two-inch-thick coats, and it is more viscous than human sweat. This article will inform you more about the mystery behind this misunderstood concept of “Sweat Blood”. So, keep reading!

What color is hippo sweat

Is Hippo “Sweat” Really Sweat?

The secretion of this reddish sticky fluid from a special gland in the Hippo skins is often referred to as “blood sweat” However, it might be shocking news for you if we say that this fluid is not really “sweat”.

The primary role of sweat in mammals (including humans) is to regulate body temperature. On the other hand, this secreted fluid of the Hippos acts as a skin antibiotic, moisturizer, and water repellent.

Reddish hippopotamus sweat

Why Hippo Sweat appears red?

When the fluid is subjected to direct sunlight, it becomes red, prompting the first European explorers in Africa to refer to it as “blood sweat”.

You might be wondering about the underlying science behind this phenomenon. After undertaking many microscopic observations, the chemists found that hippo sweat is a transparent substance.

Hence, it becomes crimson red only after a few minutes of oxygen exposure after escaping from the flesh.

Constituent of Hippo Sweat

The precise chemical structure of this secretion, which is peculiar to hippos, is unknown to many of us. According to microscopic examination, Researchers found sweat to have two kinds of liquid crystalline structures:

Banded Structure: When seen under such magnifications, the banded systems are “characterized by concentric dark bands”.

The rings are the product of the structural periodicity scale. These ensure the sweat’s light scattering property; it helps in both sun-blocking and sun-screening.

Non-banded structure: This structure helps lower the viscosity of the sweat and aids the sweat to scatter over the surface skin. This property accounts for its protective topical antibiotic and sunscreen property.

The beneficial nature of Hippo sweat

A sweaty hippo family

According to a recent analysis, an average Hippo has the potential to stay in the blazing sun all day without being sunburned.

The presence of minute structure in this sticky dispersed fluid, discussed earlier, makes it possible for the Hippo to have this tremendous surviving nature. This function helps to disperse the radiation, consequently shielding this hefty animal from sunburns.

Hippo sweat contains a combination of hipposudoric and norhipposudoric acids. These molecules’ chemical advantages to our skin have morphed Hippo sweat into a good candidate for potentially powerful skin care.

Hence, this fluid secretion can also function as an effective skin ointment. When a hippo is in the sea, it often prevents the skin from being waterlogged.

Furthermore, the researchers discovered that blood sweat, at low concentrations, inhibits bacterial development.

Hippopotamus searching for food

Ongoing Research on Hippos Sweat

Now, researching hippo sweat does not seem to be the most worthwhile, but the noble preservation method invented may aid scientists in capturing the delicate essences of other species.

There may also be industrial implementations. Despite having thick skin, Hippos are susceptible to sunburn. However, they adapt to this problem through their acid secretion, which we have mentioned earlier.

These acids in hippo sweat form chains; they absorb sunlight very effectively, especially UV light ranging between 290 and 400 nanometers. In other terms, hippo sweat acts as a perfect sunscreen.

Can Hippo sweat make it to the commercial market?

Chemists will be able to utilize their current experience to create drugs or sunscreens in the near future. This commercially manufactured product will not only shield your skin from sunburn but will also keep pests away and keep skin infections at bay.

As weird as it could sounds, slippery hippo sweat may become the skin-care industry’s new best friend. However, you won’t be slathering and rubbing the product of hippo sweat on your bodies on the makeup counter anytime fast.

Even if it makes it to the market, it is unlikely to be a best-seller. As we all know that sunscreen, which makes someone red-orange and doesn’t last long, Furthermore, there is another drawback that could prevent cosmetics industries from making hippo sweat to the market.

Hippos are very rare: just about 174,000 are known to be living, but they’re very obscure and tough to count because they like to hide underwater.

That implies that even with teams of valiant gauze workers, it will be difficult to obtain sufficient “red sweat” for a commercial venture.


Even if hippo sweat is never commercialized, it is an exciting demonstration of nature’s creativity and unique illustration in terms of Hippo’s bloodletting practice. This long-hold belief reminds us of how unquestioned speculation about nature might go wrong.

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Clay Traynor

Hello, I am Clay, a Zoophilist, Researcher, and Writer. I Write interesting and unknown facts about animal life, habitat, and health.

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