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Afrikaans name: Seekoei

Hippo spend a lot of time in the water


Photo © Steven Herbert

Hippopotamus amphibius

Interesting facts about Hippos

Apparently their name originates from the Greek word for 'river horse' (I don't see the resemblance between a horse and a hippo)

Hippos are most often seen in or very near water during the day. At night they come out the water to graze and will travel quite long distances to find food.

Hippos occupy permanent water sources such as dams, rivers and larger water holes.

Dominant bulls form territories where they keep a small to large group of females. They will defend their territory aggressively and may even challenge boats entering their space.

Hippo are well-known as being aggressive, particularly when they are out of the water. It is not a good idea to get between a Hippo and the water!

Male Hippos can weigh around 2,000 kg with the average being 1,500 kg. Females weigh around 1,300 kg.

Hippo having a lazy day by the dam

Photo © Steven Herbert

Young hippos play-fighting

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above and below - Adult male Hippos have enormous power and are not scared to use it on rival males, boats, people and other objects that infringe on their territories. Here young hippos indulge in play-fighting which they will put to more serious use later in life.

Young hippos play-fighting at Sunset Dam near Lower Sabie in Kruger National Park

Photo © Steven Herbert


References and further reading

An Introduction to the Larger Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Joanna Dalton - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 181

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 10

Chris and Tilde Stuart's Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Year Published: 1988 - Page: 178

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Year Published: 2004 - Page: 159

Field Guide to the Mammals of the Kruger National Park - Author: U. de V. Pienaar et al. - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 111

Kruger National Park Questions and Answers - Author: P.F. Fourie - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 173

Land Mammals of Southern Africa - A field guide - Author: Reay HN Smithers - Year Published: 1986 - Page: 150

Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Burger Cillier - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 81

Mammals of the Kruger and other National Parks - Author: The National Parks Board - Year Published: 1980 - Page: 80

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to Southern Africa - 4th edition - Author: - Year Published: 1986 - Page: 369

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 414

Signs of the Wild - Author: Clive Walker - Year Published: 1986 - Page: 153

Village Life Issue 23 - Author: - Year Published: 2007 - Page: 28

Wild Issue 21 - Author: - Year Published: 2012 - Page: 48

Wild Issue 29 - Author: - Year Published: 2014 - Page: 64

List of South African Mammals

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