Zoo Discovers Its “Male Hippo” is Actually Female, Leading to Obvious Question

japan hippo is male
Osaka Tennoji Zoo

When a Mexico-born hippo arrived to a zoo in Japan seven years ago, they all thought it was a dude. It was five years old at the time.

But last week, the Osaka Tennoji Zoo confirmed that now-12-year-old Gen-chan is actually female, and we’re not talking about how the hippo currently identifies.


They tried to explain how such a miscalculation could have been made:

“…the person in charge of the zoo where it was kept explained that it was a ‘male,’ and the documents required for import also indicated that it was a ‘male,’ and the animal was only 5 years old at the time, so it was still a child. We had no doubts. However, based on this result, we recognize the importance of reconfirming the sex of introduced animals, and will take precautions to ensure that this does not happen again.”

The zoo’s representatives added that she never exhibited “male-specific behavior.”


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This very strange story led us on a path of exploration as we searched for answers to the very obvious question: how big are hippo penises?

ALSO READ: Pablo Escobar’s Coked Up Hippos Being Sterilized By Colombian Government

We opened up a private browser window and Googled the question.

The first result came from this South African vacation website; it doesn’t seem like a subject many researchers want to touch. 

While “The hippopotamus is a large and ‘in charge’ kind of mammal,” the same writer notes that they don’t have a scrotum, which “makes it look like the testicles are completely invisible,” and “The penis also retracts into the body when it is not erect.”

We couldn’t get a clear answer on how large adult hippo dicks can get when they’re hard, but here’s a stock photo of a hippo’s weird penis almost hitting the ground.

And here’s a soft-penised hippo:

Written by Editorial Team

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