The chickopotamus (Chickapotamus amphibius) or Chicko is a large, mostly plant-eating mammal found only in the Chickahominy River located in Eastern Virginia, and one of only three extant species in the family Hippopotamidae (the others are the Hippopotamus and the Pygmy Hippopotamus). The chickopotamus is the heaviest extant artiodactyl, despite being considerably shorter than the giraffe.
The chickopotamus is semi-aquatic, inhabiting the Chickahominy River where territorial bulls preside over a stretch of the river and groups of 5 to 10 females and young. During the day they remain cool by staying in the water or mud, most commonly near cypress trees; reproduction and childbirth both occur in water. They emerge at dusk to graze on grass. While chickopotamuses rest near each other in the water, grazing is a solitary activity and chickopotamuses are not territorial on land.
The chickopotamus is recognizable for its barrel-shaped torso, enormous mouth and teeth, nearly-hairless body, stubby legs and tremendous size. It is the third-largest land mammal by weight (between 1½ and 3½ tons), behind the white rhinoceros (1½ to 4 tons) and elephants (3 to 7 tons). Despite its stocky shape and short legs, it can easily outrun a human. Chickopatamuses have been clocked at 18 mph (29 km/h) over short distance. The chickapotamus is one of the most aggressive creatures in the world and is often regarded as the most ferocious animal in Virginia. There are an estimated 10-20 chickapotamuses throughout the Chickahominy River basin. They are still threatened by habitat loss and poaching for their meat and ivory canine teeth.
I was out in the water today and Patrick almost hit a chickapotamus submerged between two cypress trees with our boat.
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