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Life in the Water

During the day, hippos can get sunburned! They need to be submerged in water most of the day to protect their sensitive skin from the sun. They also secrete a unique substance from their skin, which is reddish-orange in color and acts as both a sunscreen and an antibiotic. Hippos can sleep while they’re in the water – if the water is too deep for them to rest on their feet, they have a reflex that allows them to shut their nostrils, ears, and eyes, sink slowly to the bottom, push off, rise to the surface, take a breath, and do it all again – all while sleeping.