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Studies were conducted to compare structural and physiological differences in the digestive functions of three species of large ungulates; the elephant (Loxodonta africana), the Black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) and the Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius). Major differences were noted in the composition of ingesta and the sites of bacterial fermentative activity. Comparisons are also made as to the influence of feeding behaviour on digestive functions, and as to the similarities of their digestive systems to that of domestic animals.