THIS is usually the first inkling at a visitor gets
that there might be a hippo in any given body of water.
Much like an iceberg, the majority of this creature is hidden beneath the surface.
Interesting fact: Hippo can neither swim nor float!
To get around in the water, they sink to the bottom and run.
Their closest living relatives are the whale family.
They are currently found only on the African continent,
but together with lions and other African animal species,
they roamed prehistoric Britain.
Hippo remains have been unearthed in Trafalgar Square.
Hippo are relatively social mammals, often living together in pods.
That being said, bulls can be very territorial in the water
and will defend their space vigorously.
In times of drought, when water resources dry up,
these fights often end in death
Turtles seem to like to use the back of a hippo as an island.
In several instances, more than one turtle has been recorded on a single hippo.
Hippo have to surface every 3-5 minutes to breath.
This action is automatic, and even if they are asleep underwater
they will rise to the surface without waking.
Something not often witnessed.
This hippo was rolling over in order to get rid of the turtle.
Once it surfaced and was again relaxed, the turtle climbed back on!
This is when hippo are the most dangerous.
The people that they kill usually get caught when a grazing hippo is returning to water.
Seeing that the animal eats mainly at night,
this scenario often plays out where humans and animals share space.
Although they are not included in the "Big 5", they should be.
Hippo are extremely aggressive and are responsible for more human deaths
on an annual basis, than all of the other 5 combined.
Only the mosquito claims more African lives.
Hippo can be "playful".
As can be seen in this interaction between a cow and her calf.
Much like human playtime, there is always a lesson to be learned.
The cows have one calf every two years and
the youngsters weigh in at about 45kgs at birth.
This interaction lasted for about 20 minutes before the calf tired
and decided that lying on mom was a better idea.
Calves can suckle on land or in the water.
The word Hippopotamus come from the Ancient Greek
and it means River Horse.
Although bull can weigh up to 1500 kg, (3306 lb)
and cows 1300 kg,( 2866 lb) they only consume 1.5% (68kg/150 lb)
of their body weigh in food daily.
They will forage for around 4-5 hours per night and can travel up to 10 km.
Although bulky, they can attain speeds of up to 30kph (18 mph) when running on land.
Not a usual sight...
Hippo are not normally seen grazing during the day
and certainly not amongst other species.
Hippo do not sweat, but they secrete a reddish oily substance,
giving rise to the myth that they are sweating blood.
This substance acts as a moisturiser as well as a sunblock.
All the images were taken during game drives
at either the Pilanesberg or Kruger National Park
Tented Adventure camps.
Don't turn your back on the opportunity to enjoy some time
at one of the current Tented Adventures campsites.
Check out their Facebook page:
To find out more about what they offer,
visit their website:
A new "tool" in my camera bag.
This locally made product was indispensable when using a long lens.
The ball and socket might look simple...and it is,
which is why it should be in the gear bag of every serious photographer.
I got to try out this awesome product on a recent trip to Kruger National Park.
For tracking birds in flight and animals in motion (what it was intended for)
it was ideal and it did not occupy much space in my camera bag.
The base set can be used with either a beanbag or a tripod.
The advantage of this for me is that it offered the opportunity
to go from a supported to hand held without have to detach
from the head of a tripod or a beanbag.
Order directly from www.petersguide.co.za.