Look Fast! Thats a Hippo on a Mission!
Saturday night, the usual viewers were gathered around their computers watching and listening to the Nkorho Pan cam for any hint of a critter. It’s been rather quiet lately with the summer rains moving in, but we can always hear something. With the air saturated with the voices of frogs, toads, crickets, various insects and night birds, we all but missed the approaching heavy footsteps as they trudged along outside of the cam view.
By the time we realized something was coming, Mr. Hippo (from the ancient Greek language, meaning “river horse”) marched in from the left, walked into the water, excited on the other side and walked off into dark, all in a matter of two minutes or so...pretty speedy for a hippo. He seemed to be on a mission as he wasted no time on his way to somewhere.
Hippos are grazers, traveling as much as 10km/6miles in a single night, all in order to find the 35kg/80lbs of grass they average every night. In the wild, Mr. Hippo might live to be 40 years old, now that’s a lot of grass over a 40 year period. They spend the majority of the day, up to 16 hrs, in the water keeping their massive bodies cool under the hot African sun.
Have you ever heard the myth about hippos sweating blood? It originates from facts that got distorted over time, as they do secrete a red substance. When they are basking in the sun, an oily red substance surfaces through their skin. It’s actually a moisturizer and sun block, perhaps even protecting the skin from germs, but it most certainly isn’t blood.
So just how big is a hippo? He can weigh anywhere from 2,268kg/5000lbs to 3,629 kg/8000lbs. That’s quite a bit of hippopotamus. At 13 feet long and about 5 ft tall when full grown that’s quite a compact mass of weight waddling around through the bush. Take a peek at Mr. HIppo as he quickly passes by on his way to find that 35kg/80lbs of greenery before the sun comes up. http://www.africam.com/wildlife/hipposhortvisit