are hippos reptiles

Are Hippos Reptiles?

Hippos are an iconic large mammal found in places like Africa. But in spite of their mammal label, are hippos technically reptiles?

What Makes a Reptile?

In order to answer the question “are hippos reptiles,” it is important to understand what makes an animal a reptile. All reptiles have a few defining characteristics:

  • All reptiles have dry, scaly skin
  • Reptiles are cold-blooded animals
  • Reptiles lay eggs with a leathery shell

Do Hippos Fit This Criteria?

Unfortunately for hippos, they do not fit into the reptile category. Hippos have generally moist skin that is often pink in color and is totally unlike the dry, scaly skin of a reptile. They are also warm-blooded, while reptiles are cold-blooded. Finally, as mammals, hippos give birth to live young instead of laying eggs.


So to answer the question, no hippos are not reptiles. While hippos certainly have certain reptilian characteristics, such as their large mouths and strong jaws, they fail to meet the criteria in other areas, thus excluding them from the reptile category.

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