Hippo [Hippopotamus amphibious]
The Hippo is a massive semi aquatic mammal that has a muddy brown colour with purple hues. This massive animal weighs up to 2.5 tonnes and measures up to 1 500 at the shoulder. This animal can reach lengths of up to 5m. Their Eyes and nostrils are protruded, which allows the animal to see and breathe while submerged.
The hippo’s most iconic feature are their large tusks. The hippo’s jaw is so powerful and their teeth are so sharp that they can bite through a medium sized crocodile, tearing it in half.
The Hippo is strictly a vegetarian. These animals require a lot of energy and must feed on a very energy rich food source. Hippo’s diet mainly consists of grass, of which they consume 68kg of it each night. Hippos leave the water at dusk and can travel up to 7km inland to graze on grass.
Hippo mating is a rather strange affair. It takes place in deeper water so the bull is buoyant enough that it cannot hurt the cow with its big size and weight. A Hippo’s hind legs are not strong enough to support their weight. Males during this period become very aggressive and will lash out at any bull, even the cornered cow’s young.
Hippos are found in collective groups known as rafts, which contains one male and many females and their young. Dominant Hippo males are very territorial but will occasionally allow other males into the raft as long as they are submissive and have no interest in the females.
Hippos sleep during the day, either next to the water or in it, and leave the water to graze at night. Hippos will attack violently when injured or irritated. The Hippo is responsible for the most human casualties and injuries and is the most dangerous mammal in South Africa. Hippos are common animals but can be dangerous when on a Kruger Park Safari.