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ORDER FAMILY Scientific name
Artiodactyla Hippopotamidae Hippopotamus amphibius
(Linnaeus,1758)
HABITAT Rivers and Lakes, not necessarily very deep, with pools of slow moving water and banks with good quality grazing, are the ideal conditions for Hippopotamuses.
HABITS Hippos are gregarious animals, associating in herds of up to 40 individuals, consisting of one adult bull, a number of cows and their young. Young bulls are evicted from the herd on reaching sexual maturity.
Adult bulls are extremely territorial, and one of the known ways used for demarcation of their territories, is their characteristic way of defaecating, spraying the faeces over a shrub or rock by a rapid flicking of their short tail.
Territorial fights amongst Hippos, are vicious and very often fatal. Fights can go on for hours, which each of the contenders trying to inflict deep gashes on their opponent with their razor sharp and enormous incisors. There are very few adult Hippo bulls without scars.
Lone bulls find refuge on their own pools, from where they launch their attacks on the herd bull, trying to take over the harem.
During the day they stay in their pools or sand banks. At night they leave the water and look for their feeding grounds, normally using always the same route.
They extremely aggressive and unpredictable animals, very often charging other animals, passing boats and even Men.
Hippos can weigh up to 1500 Kg. and their life-span is about 50 years.
DIET Hippo are grazers, preferring short grasses.
BREEDING A single calf is born is born after a gestation period of about 8 months.
The cow will leave the herd, and give birth in a dense bush remaining there, with her offspring for some time.

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Last revised: March 22, 2005.