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Hippopotamus


Hippopotamus
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2012-03-26
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC HX1, Sony G lens 20x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 125
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/800 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-09-13 9:31
Viewed: 4018
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 46
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Hippopotamus / Hippopotamus amphibius

This image was taken during a short 5 day visit to the Kruger National Park at the beginning of March this year. We normally visit the park in October and was a bit disappointed in the number of animals we saw while we where there. The grass was quite long and we where also used to see large numbers of game during our visits in October. We did however see a few bird species that we never seen before in the park and that surely made up for the lack of other animals. The times we saw larger animals we made best use of it and captured as many photographs as possible.

The hippopotamus, whose hide alone can weigh half a ton, is the third-largest living land mammal, after elephants and white rhinos. It was considered a female deity of pregnancy in ancient Egypt, but in modern times has been wiped out of that country because of the damage it inflicts on crops. The hippo continues to thrive in other parts of Africa.

Physical Characteristics
The hippo's proportions reflect its sedentary, amphibious existence. Its plump and bulky body is set on short, stumpy legs, with each foot having four toes. Although webbed, the toes splay enough to distribute the weight evenly over each toe and therefore adequately support the hippo on land.

With very thick skin, especially over the back and rump, the grayish-brown body is almost completely hairless, with only a few bristles around the mouth and the tip of the tail. The hippo has neither sweat nor sebaceous glands but does have unique glands that produce a viscous red fluid, leading to the myth that hippos "sweat blood". The hippo relies on water or mud to keep it cool, and the red fluid may have a similar function, but it is often produced in copious amounts when the animal is excited.

Habitat
Two hippo species are found in Africa. The large hippo, found in East Africa, occurs south of the Sahara. This social, group-living mammal is so numerous in some areas that "cropping" schemes are used to control populations that have become larger than the habitat can sustain. The other, much smaller species of hippo is the Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis). Limited to very restricted ranges in West Africa, it is a shy, solitary forest dweller, and now rare.

Behaviour
The large hippo is an aggressive animal; old scars and fresh, deep wounds are signs of daily fights that are accompanied by much bellowing, neighing and snorting. Hippos have developed some ritualized postures the huge open-mouthed "yawn" that reveals formidable teeth is one of the most aggressive. With the long, razor-sharp incisors and tusk like canines, the hippo is well-armed and dangerous.

Hippos move easily in water, either swimming by kicking their hind legs or walking on the bottom. They are well-adapted to their aquatic life, with small ears, eyes and nostrils set at the top of the head. These senses are so keen that even submerged in water, the hippo is alert to its surroundings. By closing its ears and nostrils, the adult can stay under water for as long as six minutes.

Hippos have a flexible social system defined by hierarchy and by feed and water conditions. Usually they are found in mixed groups of about 15 individuals, but in periods of drought large numbers are forced to congregate near limited pools of water. This overcrowding disrupts the hierarchical system, resulting in even higher levels of aggression, with the oldest and strongest males most dominant. Hippos are unpredictable. If they are encountered away from the safety of water, anything that gets between them and their refuge may be bitten or trampled.

Diet
Amazingly agile for their bulk, hippos are good climbers and often traverse rather steep banks each night to graze on grass. They exit and enter the water at the same spots and graze for four to five hours each night in loop patterns, covering one or two miles, with extended forays up to five miles. Their modest appetites are due to their sedentary life, which does not require high outputs of energy.

Caring for the Young
A single young is born either on land or in shallow water. In water, the mother helps the newborn to the surface, later teaching it to swim. Newly born hippos are relatively small, and are protected by their mothers, not only from crocodiles and lions but from male hippos that, oddly enough, do not bother them on land but attack them in water.

Young hippos can only stay under water for about half a minute. Young hippos can suckle under water by taking a deep breath, closing their nostrils and ears and wrapping their tongue tightly around the teat to suck. This procedure must be instinctive, because newborns suckle the same way on land. A young hippo begins to eat grass at 3 weeks, but its mother continues to suckle it for about a year. Newborns often climb on their mother's backs to rest.

Predators
Compared to other animals, hippos are not very susceptible to disease, so in suitable habitats, their numbers can increase quickly. Their chief predators are people, who may hunt hippos for their meat, hides and ivory teeth.

Did you know?
The name hippopotamus comes from the Greek "hippos," meaning horse; these animals were once called "river horses". But the hippo is more closely related to the pig than the horse. They spend most of their day in water close to shore lying on their bellies. In areas undisturbed by people, hippos lie on the shore in the morning sun. Source

I hope you enjoyed looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

maaciejka, cobra112, ana974, Adanac, samiran88, ramthakur, goatman04, nicozanghi, marius-secan, anel, josediogo1958, CeltickRanger, Chiza has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Anna,
beautiful photo of this hippopotamus. I can see them only in zoo :( Excellent use of light. Beautiful composition.
Thanks for sharing,
Maciek

hallo Anna
Super sharpness and with very good light
fresh and beautiful colours
very good composition with super details
thanks Anna
greeting lou

Ciao Anna. Outstanding again! Impressove DOF razor detaisl and perfect sharp. Magnificient colours.

Roberto

  • Great 
  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2012-09-13 12:06]

Hi Anna,
Nice photo of this hippopotamus. Gorgeous light and colours
with excellent details.
Regards Jiri.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2012-09-13 12:45]

Hello Anna,
Great photo in splendid clarity and colours and a very nice composition. A beauty!
Regards,
Peter

Ciao Anna, lovely composition with fantastic couple, breautiful ambientation, wonderful natural colors and splendid sharpness, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • ana974 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 477 W: 48 N: 968] (4857)
  • [2012-09-13 13:43]

Hello dear Anna!!!
Nice to see another masterpiece from you!!! Wonderful scenario for these two hippos.Lovely work with amazing sharpness and great natural colors.I love also the ligthness.I wish I could see something like that one day in my life...
Thanks for sharing! And I am looking forward to see more pics from you!!!!
Best wishes from your friend,
aNa

Hi Anna,
Nice hippos in Kruger.
Great light and colors. Congratulation.
Cheers.
Michel

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2012-09-14 6:50]

Hello Anna,
Thank you first for waking me up, if you know what I mean. I forgot what it could be like here.
Now for your wonderful image. Most hippo images we don't get to see this much of them so for that alone this is a real treat, but on top of that you nailed the focus and exposure. Thank you for both your fine work and friendship.
Rick

This is a very unique view of these Hippos wading in a shallow pool surrounded by the sandy dun colour of the earth, Anna.
However, it is the blue sheen on the surface of water, apparently created by the reflection of the sky on it, which adds that special magical touch to this picture.
The overall soft ambience of the scene wins my heart.

**********

hello Anna,
what a adorable animal. in India we can see them only in the Zoo. nice composition, excellent sharpness and colour.
best wishes,
samiran

Hello Anna,
An excellent capture with fine coloration, details & natural setting. Very nicely composed & presented with a great POV. Great work & TFS. Regards & best wishes!

Umar

Hello Anna,
What are these guys eating or are they trying to drink all the water? A very beautiful image with excellent clarity and definition, as always. Hipottami have been re-established in game parks in our area and they are now migrating up the river onto farmland and very close to town. Sadly, some citrus farmers here recently had to obtain a permit to eliminate one that was feeding in the orchards and had become a danger to humans. Thank you for a very informative note too. Best wishes.
Neels

Ciao Anna
Bellissima foto molto suggestiva, colori e dettagli eccellenti complimenti.
Ciao Nico

Beautiful scene and impressive photo Anna! Good composition and very good sharpness. The colours and the lighting are fantastic!
Regards,
Christodoulos

Hello Anna,
This really is AFRICA....What a splendid image with exceptional details and outstanding sharpness. Absolutely amazing colors and light on the body of this nice hippopotamus. The contrast against the sand and water from the background is wonderful. As usual a fantastic quality!
Thanks for sharing!
Marius.

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2012-09-15 18:46]

Hello Anna,
Wow!!! what a crisp and colorful image!! I'm not sure what it is about this particular shot, if it's the lighting, contrast, sharpness or color, but it really captures your attention at first glance.
The detail is outstanding and DOF is awesome, as the focus is super sharp throughout the entire frame. Very informative notes. Hard to believe they can stay under water for up to six minutes.
Ron

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2012-09-20 4:55]

Hello Anna,
Missed this luminous picture of Hippos in Krueger-Park. Interesting point of view and a well chosen composition, sharpness and light-management are excellent too.
Thnaks too for the interesting note. In German these animals are called "Nilpferde"
(Horses of the Nile).
Kind regards
Anne

Hello Anna! I like the way you've captured these hippos so busily foraging! Had no idea that they had so much pink colouration. It must be an exquisite feeling to see them in their natural surroundings. Love your POV! Your notes are very thorough and interesting. Thanks, Linda

Hello Anna
I saw this magnificent animals when I visit the Kruger in 1992.Beautiful capture,a little tilted to the left may I say.Wonderful natural colours and excellent sharpness.TFS.
Have a good weekend!
Best regards
J.Diogo

Hello Anna

Beautiful photo of these Hippopotamus, with a very
beautiful light and that great contrast between
the water's color tones with the rest of the
image color tones, TFS

Asbed

nice hippos, great sharpness and light, greetings Ori

  • Great 
  • Chiza Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 133 W: 0 N: 474] (5351)
  • [2012-12-09 8:27]

Hola Anna, que belleza de foto de esos dos grandes mamíferos, muy bien manejado el exceso de luz y además hermoso el entorno del paisaje, felicitaciones...Luis.,

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