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Hippopotamus - The River Horses

Updated: Sep 20, 2020

They lay in the water, half-submerged, as the scorching sun of the Tanzanian Savannah gets harsher. Among all their faeces and the mud, these heavy mammals swim around, gazing around their waters, observing the large reptiles, ready to snap their teeth at any unknown predator. These giant river horses may not look as dangerous as they are - trust me, they’re not an animal to mess with. One snap of their teeth and your canoe can tear into two pieces!

As they bask in the sun, the hippos eye one another too, for they may not just be in danger from the crocodiles that lurk in the waters, but also their own species.The hippos are aggressive, and they will do anything - anything, to survive, and to make sure that their own genes progress as the dominant ones in their domain. The dominant male hippo watches over his group, making sure none of his female hippos are under any sort of danger; anything otherwise only meant one thing. A battle. A battle only one can win.

As male ego intrudes between the two men, what remains is everything but friendship, love and unity. The calm pool of resetting hippos becomes a wrestling ground for the two giants that brawl in the shallow waters. From snorting at each other to opening their large jaws to flaunt their shark teeth, they leave no stone unturned to exhibit their power and strength. Soon the distant showing off turns into a great dispute that is encouraged by the other hippos; each having chosen who to cheer for as they gradually form a circle around the two locking horns.

The brawl lasts for hours, but there is always just one winner. The other male, that loses, leaves the waterhole, with shame and disappointment, head held low, knowing today is not his day. But for the male that won, he has just won a larger herd.

5 facts about the Hippopotamus:

  • Scientific name is Hippopotamus amphibious.

  • They weigh between 1.5 to 4 tons. (1360 to 3630 kilograms)

  • They spend up to 16 hours a day submerged in rivers and lakes

  • They consume up to 80 pounds (36kg) of grass in a night.

  • They secrete an oily red substance, which gave rise to the myth that they sweat blood.

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