Nambiti Hills is home to an array of wonderful species of wildlife. Among them is the hippo, which is the third largest land mammal, after elephants and white rhinos. Recently, while out on a game drive we drove past the watering hole and heard the bellowing and snorting of a hippo. Curiously, we got a little closer and spotted this male hippo (pictured above) submerged in water with an open-mouthed “yawn” which revealed his long, razor-sharp incisors and tusk-like canines. Wondering what caused his agitation, we noticed another hippo nearby. Male hippos are extremely territorial and will defend their space when in water, so we understood that this male was simply warning his neighbour to keep his distance.
More often than not, hippos remain immersed in water for the best part of the day – justifying the Greeks naming them “river horses.” While they gracefully gallop along river bottoms, they are a little sluggish when out of the water, although they can run up to speeds of about 48kph. By night, hippos can eat up to 40kgs of several grass species. This is about half as much as other hooved mammals eat but because of their sedentary lifestyle, hippos don’t require much energy.
So the next time you visit Nambiti Hills, spend a few extra minutes observing the behaviour of our hippos and you will be amazed at what you see and learn!