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Some Facts about Hippo, Southern Africa.

The name hippopotamus means water horse in Latin. Large, powerful animals, they feel safe in deep water, which affords the adults protection from most threats. As a result, they are mostly seen lazing about in waterholes, etc during daylight, emerging in the late afternoon to graze. One runs the risk of getting oneself caught between them and the water since, because of their dark-grey colour, they are not easily seen at night.  Since they are vulnerable under such circumstances, they become aggressive and one should avoid walking in areas frequented by hippo at night. When canoeing, one must avoid getting between hippo and deep water for the same reason. So stick to the shallows when canoeing.

They have two remarkable abilities that go unnoticed by many:

o    Firstly, they spend the heat of the day with their eyes, nose and ears in bright sunshine above the water – the best possible conditions for sunburn. One might imagine that such sensitive body parts are thus subject to sunburn but this is not the case. They exude a pinkish substance that protects their skins. Research is currently being conducted to establish what this substance contains in the hope that such understanding will lead to improved products for human consumption.

o    Secondly, like crocodiles, they have a remarkable ability, in spite of often serious wounds in septic conditions (a muddy waterhole), to ward off infection. Research is currently being conducted in an attempt to better understand this remarkable ability in the hope that it will lead to improvements in human health.

Alan McIver NFSome

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Last update: 2014-03-27 14:06
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.2

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