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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

migration of Masai Mara ~ Hippo attacks crocodile

Many of them may not make it as they have to transverse crocodile-infested rivers and lion-filled lands. This year Kenya’s wildebeest is being broadcast live, providing unique opportunity for people to experience what the great migration has to offer as well as an insight into what it is like to go on safari in Kenya. 

One of the deadly predator is – Crocodile. The Nile crocodile (Crocodylusniloticus) is an African crocodile and the second largest extant reptile in the world, after the saltwater crocodile. The Nile crocodile is quite widespread throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

         Although capable of living in saline environments, this species is rarely found in saltwater, but occasionally inhabits deltas and brackish lakes. The Nile crocodile is an opportunistic apex predator and a very aggressive species of crocodile that is capable of taking almost any animal within its range. They are generalists, taking a variety of prey. Their diet consists mostly of different species of fish, reptiles,birds and mammals. The Nile crocodile is an ambush predator and can wait for hours, days and even weeks for the suitable moment to attack. They are quite agile predators and wait for the opportunity for the prey item to come close within the range of attack. Even swift prey are not immune to attack. Like other crocodiles, Nile crocodiles have an extremely powerful bite that is unique amongst all animals and sharp conical teeth that sink into flesh allowing for a grip that is almost impossible to loosen. They can apply high levels of force for extended periods of time, a great advantage for holding down large prey underwater to drown.

Hippopotamuses love water, which is why the Greeks named them the "river horse." Hippos spend up to 16 hours a day submerged in rivers and lakes to keep their massive bodies cool under the hot African sun. Hippos are graceful in water, good swimmers, and can hold their breath underwater for up to five minutes. One detail that cannot be misunderstood is that hippos are huge – mature males weigh up to a whopping 3,200kg. They also have a well-documented reputation for aggression and engage in brutal battles over mates, slashing and biting with their incisor teeth, which can measure up to 40cm (1.3ft) in length.

Scientists have got it wrong about hippopotamuses a lot over the years. Their name in ancient Greek translates to “river horse” yet modern science linked the animals to pigs. The most recent studies have found they are more closely related to whales.They also don’t sweat blood as once thought, but excrete a red fluid that contains antibacterial sunscreen. Plus the stubby-legged rotund creatures have surprised biologists with running speeds of up to 19mph.

While hippos can be very aggressive towards humans and are considered one of Africa's most deadly animals, they are herbivores and the battle with the crocodile was likely territorial. The pair share the same habitat and clashes are not uncommon.

MailOnline posted stunning images of the moment a protective mother hippo lashec out at a crocodile that was just 'minding its own business'.The crocodile thrashed madly to break free from the hippo wraps her gigantic jaws around the reptile's body - as her calf watched on just a hundred metres away.

The titanic tussle which broke out at the aptly-named Lake Panic in Kruger National Park, South Africa, was snapped by amateur photographer Ken Haley.He said: 'My first reaction was one of shock at the speed of the hippo and her level of aggression against the crocodile... The hippo must have felt that her calf was under threat from the crocodile and her protective instincts kicked in.'The hippo held its grip for a couple of seconds before the crocodile was able to escape into the safety of the dam. It disappeared into the water and I didn't see it again.'

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

6th Oct 2015.

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