tanzania tuesday: filthy hippo edition

photo tanzania2010 travel


Today we take a peek at hippos. As you might imagine, these behemoths are quite easy to spot, not only due to their large size, but also because in the park, they have several well-established locations where they like to hang out.

The Wikipedia article is chock full of interesting facts. I’d recommend spending 3 minutes reading it just because you’re probably not thinking about hippos enough in your daily life.

For instance, hippos are most closely related to whales and other cetaceans. But their foot structure resembles that of a giraffe.

Wikipedia doesn’t mention much about hippos lounging on grass, but we saw these lazy bastards just soaking up the sun in the Ngorongoro crater.

Although hippos typically spend most of their time in the water, they don’t eat water plants, preferring to eat grass. They can eat up to 150 lbs. of grass at a time, and “over prolonged periods hippos can divert the paths of swamps and channels” as they walk to their favored grazing spots.

Adult hippos can’t swim! They bounce off the bottom of the river bed.

I find that fact to be ludicrous, as if these animals weren’t ludicrous enough already.

As hippos are related to whales, the typical way to refer to a group of them is a “pod”. An alternate group name, and the one I prefer is a “bloat”.

A hippo pool smells like an outdoor toilet that has been abused by animals the size of… hippos. That splashing water isn’t brown from mud. It’s poop. Hippo poop.

They mostly just lounge around, but there’s the occasional bit of splashing.

Males are only territorial in the water, but they don’t fight to the death; they fight to the pain… of humiliation. Once one hippo realizes it’s weaker, it goes away. And there’s nothing that’s more painful than humiliations galore.

galump, galump

That’s it for this edition of Tanzania Tuesday! See you next time!