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Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Hippo - Hippopotamus Amphibius

A close encounter of the hippo kind......

The Hippopotamus a massive, semi-aquatic mammal with a mass of up to 2, 5 tonnes. A massive animal, it measures 1500mm in height at the shoulder and has a length of 4310-5160 mm, of which about 560mm is tail. The eyes and nostrils protrude, allowing the animal to see and breathe while otherwise submerged in the water. A hippo's teeth are shown in yawning to warn potential competitors and are used for self defense from each other or enemies. The teeth are the hippo’s most valuable weapon and can bite a medium-sized crocodile in half.
The Hippopotamus is strictly a vegetarian. They require a large amount of energy and therefore need a food source that is in rich supply. Its diet consists mainly of terrestrial grasses and they may eat up to 68 Kg of grass a night.
Breeding occurs in water where large males are buoyant and their weight and size aren’t fatal to the cow. This could also be dangerous for the male as his hind legs aren’t strong enough to support him. The male becomes very aggressive during this act and will often lash out or attack other bulls that are close by (sometimes including the young male offspring of the concerned cow). Cows give birth to a single young in shallow waters, after a gestation period of 240 days. Calves are born in the water and can swim before walking. The calf is often hidden in reeds for a few days by the mother, after which she and her baby rejoins the herd. Females reach sexual maturity at the age of seven to eight years. A female can produce up to 10 young during her lifespan of approximately 35 years in the wild.
Hippos are usually found in large social groups called rafts, of which there is one male and many females and their young. Dominant males are very territorial, but will occasionally accept other males as long as they are submissive and show no interest in the females.

They sleep in or alongside the water during the day and at night forage for grass close to the water. They are strong and fast swimmers, and will attack when wounded or agitated. The fact that it is responsible for most human fatalities and injuries in the wilds renders it the most dangerous mammal in Africa.
It is a myth that the mother carries her calf. What happens is that in cold conditions a young hippo will rest the front part of the body onto that of an adult to sunbathe, due to their smaller body mass the young body will heat faster than adults.

38 comments:

Leeloo said...

That was so interesting. I had no idea hippos were so dangerous. The most dangerous mammal in Africa?? Wow! I also didn't know the reason why they breed in the water, how interesting. Thank you so much for the neat post :)

Craver Vii said...

A raft of hippos... now THERE'S an interesting mental image!!

I see you have Eagles lyrics on the sidebar. They really know how to make good music. I like how their voices and instruments work so well together. I just watched a video where Timothy B Schmidt sang that song, and the audience was positively mesmerized.

Gaelyn said...

I really hope to see a raft of hippos and a yawn, maybe not too close. What a mess of teeth. Another interesting post Joan, and great captures.

Firefly said...

I haven't had a lot of opportunities to see hippo as most of the game reserves around here don't have them. But there is something to seeing such huge animals in the water. I have a hippo tooth in my collection of interesting bits and pieces which means quite a lot to me.

I'm going to be away on holiday for the next 2 weeks, so I want to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I have done forward posts on both my blogs but wouldn't be able to comment for obvious reasons.

SABlogger said...

Great photo's Joan. I have never seen a Hippo in the wild. The top one reminds me of myself late at night LOL!! LOL!.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Leeloo. These are animals I never get near to as they are quite fast on their feet too for their size.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

LOL!! Loved that one myself Craver. I could just imagine floating down the river on them. :)

That song in particular is a very special one for me but I don't really know their music that well as it is years and years since I last listened to a radio.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Gaelyn. These pictures were all taken in Kruger so you are bound to see lots of then when we are there.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You should get to the Natal coast Jonker then you will see a lot of them. I guess it is too cold where you are.

Do you know that hippo ivory is finer then elephant. I collect ivory myself and did a post on it a long time ago.

I left a message for you on your last post. Enjoy your holiday!!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Lawrence. I cannot believe you have never seen one. LOL! They are so common to me. Where have you been going on holiday? Obviously to the wrong places. LOL!

You yawn like THAT??? LOL!! That is a frightening thought Lawrence, enough to scare anyone. You should get more sleep then you wouldn't have to yawn. :) LOL!

Mary said...

wow...those are incredible shots! Their teeth look so lopsided and odd, it is a wonder they can bite anything.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Mary. In KNP there is not a pool of water anywhere which does not have them in. Those jaws are so stron they can easily bite through a small boat which is what they often do if you get too close to their babies.

Andrea said...

Great pictures!
I remember two years ago in Botswana.
I went really too close and one of them watched me:I still remember the cold inside me...
Its small eye wasn't exactly friendly.

troutbirder said...

Cute little fellas aren't they? I don't believe I would want to launch my canoe anywhere near them though! :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Hello Andrea. They do look so peaceful when they are far away and graze on the banks.

One time we were fishing in St Lucia and I had walked off a little way from my family who were fishing on the bank. All of a sudden I saw one of them come out of the bush behind them and start walking in their direction. I did not want to shout to my family to look behind them as I though that any movement from them might frighten it so I just watched as it walked past them into the water and sighed a big one in relief.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Hello TB. You are so right about that, I would not want to either. :)

Craig Glenn said...

I was wondering when you would do a hippo post. What a great DC post! What would we do without you J?

Craig

Becky and Gary said...

I love Hippos Joan, and would like to see them in the wild. I know, just hop a jet to SA... In the meantime, thanks for the info. Very interesting.
B.

Diane AZ said...

Great images. I didn't realize that the babies are born in the water and can swim before they can walk. The little ones sure are cute!

Becky said...

Great shots of the hippos! I wouldn't want to be too close to them either! I knew they are extremely dangerous so I'll just see them from your blog!

Marvin said...

Very interesting and informative. I never would have guessed that hippos were the most dangerous mammal in Africa. If a hippos can bite a medium-sized croc in half, I suppose biting a medium-sized human in half wouldn't be a problem -- for the hippo.

Rambling Woods said...

They don't reproduce very many offspring..interesting post. Joan..I haven't been able to grab the posts from your feed. I have tried and then researched and I can't do it. But you have a lot of guys who read this blog and are probably computer savvy. It would hurt to ask....Michelle..

Coy said...

Great information Joan. They certainly do have an unusual tooth arangment. Only having seen them with mouth open on tv I never realized just what the teeth looked like.

Sreddy Yen said...

Oooh - what a big yawn! I also saw a hippo yawn like that when I was in St Lucia a few years ago. You've provided some interesting information about this hideous mammal in this post.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You are very welcome Craig. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Hello Becky. Yes, you know by now what my answers. :) You are welcome. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Diane. In central Africa you get the Pygmy Hippo and the adult is as big as this ones baby. They are just the most wonderful creatures. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

LOL!! Thanks Becky (Florida). I cannot find fault with your reasoning. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Hello Marvin. The thing here in Africa is that there is so much small boat traffic on the rivers and the hippos object to them. When I still lived in the bush I would hear of at leat one incident a week of a hippo biting a boat in half.

Sankara Subramanian C said...

This is an amazing blog. I absolutely love the wildlife photos.

Don't know how I missed finding your blog. Henceforth, intend to follow diligently.

Have added your blog to my travel community - http://www.beontheroad.com/2009/12/india-travel-community.html.

I own a travel blog titled 'on the road with sankara' at www.beontheroad.com. Drop by some time.

Sankara

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Hello Michelle. I am not sure how you are trying to do it. Usually if you copy and paste the address ine into your Blog Roll you will be able to pict it up directly from there in the future.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

How wonderful to hear from you again Coy. They do yawn quite oten so it is quite easy to get a shot like this. One hippo in Kruger has such long bottom teeth that it has actually worn through the top of his mouth and you can see it when he closes it. I have often wondered how uncomfortable it must be for him and if it bothers him when grazing? Luckily animals can adpt very well to things like this because if they don't they starve and die.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Hello Sreddy. They are quite common in St Lucia and I want to go there for a week soon. It is another of my favourite places.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Sankara. Glad you enjoyed it.

Anna said...

Joan and I thought that he was ready to eat me, lol. Vegetarian, I didn't know, lol. Thanks for sharing, good info and excellent images. Anna :)

Picture Imperfect said...

Joan, these photos are awesome! And I learned alot about Hippos that I didn't know before.

Reminds me of a song...

Hey Daddy there's a dragon in the driveway
Mama there's a grizzly on the lawn
You better come quick 'cuz there's a hippo in the bathtub
and he's goin' down the drain oh no he's gone!

(it's a kid's song, I've always loved it. :O))

Hope you're having a fantastic day!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

LOL!! DOn't worry I will keep you safe Anna. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

LOL!! Love the song Penny, I have not heard it before. :)