|MadSci Network: Zoology|
Jeff, it's a hippopotamus! According to _The Encyclopedia of Mammals_ edited by David Mcdonald, hippos have very unusual skin. The epidermis (outer layer of skin) is very thin, without much cornified tissue (that's the rougher outer covering that sloughs off when you really scrub your skin or when your skin is dry; in us, it helps prevent water loss). In hippos, having this very thin skin means they lose a lot of moisture through their skin if they're out of the water. Another difference in their skin is the lack of sweat glands and sebaceous glands. However, they have a different type of gland that secretes a pink fluid. This shields them from ultraviolet radiation and reduces sunburn. People used to think that hippos "sweat blood" because of the pink color of the sunscreen secretion, but the color is actually due to the same sort of pigments that cause tanning in us. For other interesting and amazing mammals, check out http://w ww.insect-world.com/mammals/welcome.html. Andrea
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Zoology.