Survival is for the fittest: Hippos in Amboseli

If asked, between the Crocodile and the Hippopotamus, who is the ‘King’ of water bodies? Most likely, we’d say the crocodile. With the sharp teeth and rough exterior and accurate tail slap, that animal is pure nightmare incarnate. In fact there’s a video on YouTube of a crocodile scaring an Elephant stiff while another video shows a crocodile hunting down an adult leopard. Crocodiles are awesome and gruesome hunters yet they don’t mess with the Hippopotamuses.

With the hippo’s smooth and sensitive skin to the sun, one would think they are easy prey but they are the embodiment of the saying, ‘Kindness for weakness. With their large bodies and small legs they are awesome swimmers. In water bodies, they are fast as a whip! No human can out swim them. However, on land, they can attain a speed of 35km/hr; even Bolt can definitely win a race against them.

Crocodiles do not mess with the adult Hippos for the right reasons. Key among them being the hippo’s powerful jaws. Hippos can open their mouth as wide as up to 1.5 meters wide and have the strongest bite pressure of between 1800-2000psi. That’s like 126.55Kg/cm2 of force being applied on every bite.

Hippo too tired to submerge due to a possible fight that happened overnight

During the 2021 AFEW Kenya Winners safari, Tertiary level, to Amboseli National Park We
saw one resting. He was badly bruised such that, he couldn’t be submerged in water, leaving its
badly wounded back out in the sun.

Our Head of Conservation Education programmes, Mr. Ngumbi Emmanuel and Mr. Omondi Fidel current Intern at the Conservation Education Department proceeded to let us know of the most probable misfortune this bull met. The bull fell on the wrong side of the survival for the fittest theory. This bull must have engaged in a male dominance territorial fight with another bull within a Bloat of Hippos and lost the fight.

Hippos fights starts with a mouth opening contest; with the one with the widest and biggest mouth winning. The winner of the mouth opening contest will try to snap it back with the loser’s mouth. If the loser evades the bite and takes off; a chase will follow with the chaser trying to dig his massive teeth in the other bull’s body until the chaser is tired or the day breaks.

The stories nature behold is simply beautiful. Participate in the AFEW Kenya Competition and enjoy some of the best scenes and a lot of learning moments with us as we help to connect you with nature.

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