Breaking News
Home » Mammals » Hippopotamus
Hippopotamus

Hippopotamus

Order Wippomorpha, Family Hippopotamidae Hippopotamus amphibius
Hippo are water dependant. They are grazers and feed predominantly at night and will graze about 40kg of grass every night.
As adults they are hunted only by humans and lions. Very rarely hyaena may attack the young on land and in the water large crocodiles may also attack young calves.
When a hippo becomes alert it stops and listens. It will turn in the direction of the disturbance.  Warning signs include staring, holding head high and bobbing head. Taking a few steps towards you and opening the mouth are serious warning signs and often followed with a serious charge. Hippo seldom mock-charge. For this reason if you encounter a hippo on foot with guests – get out of there quickly. If while extracting from the encounter the hippo charges there is no point standing your ground. Get to whatever cover you can as quickly as possible and do not block the animals path to the water. Getting between an alarmed hippo and the water is the surest way to get killed!
Hippo calves are born after a very short gestation of only 8 months and the young weigh between 40-50kgs.
Females will have their first calf at around 4 years old but young bulls only mature sexually at 7. Only 1 offspring born at a time. Young cows will stay within a herd their entire lives. Bulls will only begin to fight for territory at 12-15 under normal circumstances and only about 10% of bulls will ever hold territory. Many bulls will live as submissive bulls within the family groups and are tolerated by the territorial bull as long as they display the correct submissive gestures. Other bulls will exist as solitary bachelors and may from time to time challenge the territorial bull for dominance. Serious fights are common and often result in death. Territory is marked by vocalization and display in the water and on land by thrashing dung on bushes and tree stumps throughout the area. Average lifespan in the wild is 40 years.
Vocalizations are usually a series of grunts and underwater they use clicks similar to that of whales. When fighting males utter bellowing screams and growls.