The Hippopotamus

The Hippopotamus

Height: 1.40-1.65 m (56-66 inches).
Weight: male: 1600-3200 kgs (3529-7040 lbs), / female: 655-2344 kgs (1440-5157 lbs).
Habitat: Permanent pools, rivers with good grass cover. During the day they rest in water or river-banks; graze on land at night.
Grouping: Gregarious; herds of about 15 with dominant bull.
Breeding: All year, 1 calf.
Diet: Grazers.


Hippo in water
Hippos need water deep enough to cover them, and this within commuting distance of pastures. They submerge thier bodies because their thin, naked skin is vulnerable to the strong African sun and dehydration can occur.
They avoid rapids, preferring gently sloping, firm bottom where herds can rest half-submerged and calves can nurse without swimming.

A grazer, the hippo eats about 40 kg (88 lbs) of preferably short grass nightly. They walk on average 3-5 kms (2 to 3 miles), during nightly foraging. Paths from water to pastures start as broad highways but branch into inconspicuous secondary and tertiary tracks within a mile or two. After 5 hours of intensive grazing, hippos return to water beds before dawn to spend the day digesting and socializing.

Hippo in Kruger Park
Hippos are now largely confined now to protected areas but still survive in many major rivers and swamps. They can be found in most parks and reserves with sizeable lakes and rivers bordered by grassland.

Hippo's do not have many predators, however the unprotected calves are vulnerable to lions, hyenas, and crocodiles. The mother always makes sure that the calf is close by; this is excellent security ashippo jaws are capable of biting a 10-foot crocodile in two.
Trampling is probably the main danger to calves, during fights, chases, and stampedes, usually involving bulls. Mothers will mob bulls that create a disturbance in their midst.


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