Surgical castration of the male common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius)

Theriogenology. 2014 Feb;81(3):514-8. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2013.10.018. Epub 2013 Oct 26.


In a prospective, clinical, surgery study we report here for the first time, in detail, on the surgical castration of 10 captive adult male common hippopotami (Hippopotamus amphibius). The successful procedures, a species-specific modification of standard equine castration techniques, provide valuable insight into the spatially dynamic nature of the common hippopotamus testis. The use of ultrasonography to locate the testis before and during the procedures and species-specific positioning during surgery greatly facilitated this distinctive procedure. Additionally, this surgical method provides an important additional tool for captive management of the common hippopotamus. Castration of individual males not only facilitates population control but can potentially also be employed to limit intermale aggression.

Keywords: Aggression control; Castration; Hippopotamus amphibius; Population control; Surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Aggression
  • Animals
  • Male
  • Mammals / anatomy & histology
  • Mammals / physiology
  • Mammals / surgery*
  • Orchiectomy / methods
  • Orchiectomy / veterinary*
  • Testis / anatomy & histology
  • Testis / diagnostic imaging
  • Testis / surgery*
  • Ultrasonography