busheyes

Introduction

The name Hippo originates from the Greek word ippop`otamos which means River Horse. Hippos are among the deadliest mammals both on land and on water. They are herbivorous in nature and they graze during the night hence nocturnal feeders. But what do we really know about these creatures that play an important role in Mother Nature’s ecosystem? Well, let me be the one to tell you a few fun facts about these beautiful gifts of nature. Here are a few facts you should know about them;

  1. Hippos can neither swim nor float in water

It is common knowledge that hippos spend a lot of their time in water. You would think that they swim right? Well, apparently, they basically just walk under water and can only hold their breath for a maximum of 7 minutes. That’s why they come up the surface every 3-5 minutes to breath. And now you know!

  1. They have very sharp canines that are used for fighting

Hippos are very territorial being.  They have sharp and deadly canines that can kill a human in just one bite. However, their key existence is for fighting so as to mark their territories especially in water.

  1. They have a lifespan of up to 40years

Hippos have a very long life span and they can live to up to 40years. Isn’t that just amazing!

  1. They can Ingest up to 60kg in a nights grazing

How much food can you eat? Well studies show that humans ingest a maximum of 1.5kg of food per day. On the other hand however, hippos in just a night’s grazing ingest up to 60 kgs of grass. Isn’t that just amazing! And now you know!

  1. They are similar to Dolphins

People commonly refer to the hippo as a river horse. However, the behavioral characteristics of hippos are closely related to those of dolphins as compared to the horse.  This is because they use the same mechanism as the dolphins in their communication. Isn’t that just interesting! Maybe we could call the land dolphins? But hey, I don’t really do animal nicknames!

  1. They Secrete a Bloody Substance

Hippos secrete a red substance that makes them look like they are bleeding. This substance acts as an antibiotic and moisturizer against the sun. The secretion also helps keep away insects. That is nature’s way of preventing their skins from drying up. How cool is that!

 

  1. They have Natural Contraception

Female hippos reach sexual maturity at five to six years and have a gestation period of eight months. After pregnancy, a female will not begin ovulation for 17 months. They are basically on natural birth control! How cool is that! Mating occurs in the water with the female submerged for most of the encounter her head emerging periodically to draw breath. Childbirth occurs in water, the weight of a new born is 25Kg to 50Kg. Well, imagine a toddler weighing 50kgs? That’s crazy right?

Introduction

If you thought human beings are the only ones divided between racial lines, you got it wrong! Giraffes are divided into twelve races and you can tell them apart from their skin coat color and markings. It is equal to skin color in humans. In Kenya however, we have three races of giraffes The Baringo Giraffe, Maasai Giraffe and the very unique reticulated giraffe that is only found in the northern region of Kenya. Here are a few facts about them:

  1. Giraffes are the Largest Ruminants on Earth

If you know anything about animals, you know that those that ferment food so as to acquire nutrients in their mouth are known as ruminants. They are characterized by having fours stomachs and their digestive systems are very unique. Giraffes are the largest ruminants on earth. How cool is that?

 

  1. The Giraffes Select their mates based on the coat type

What do you feel when you meet someone from your ethnic group out there? I think you always feel like you belong together. Well, just like humans, the giraffes are very specific about their mates. And to them, the coat type matters a lot when they are choosing mates. Could we call them racists? Or let’s just say they love to stick to their roots. And now you know!

  1. The Giraffes Tongue is 45cm Long

45cm is close to half a meter. Think about it, what can you do with something that’s half a meter long? Well, giraffes use their tongues as earbuds, yes that’s right. Giraffes use their long tongues for both feeding and cleaning their ears. How cool is that?

  1. Male Giraffes become darker with age

Well, just like human being’s skin changes with age. So does the skin of male giraffes. Their skin becomes darker with age and you can easily tell an old male giraffe apart from a younger one. That’s so cool huh!

  1. They were initially known as Camelopards

The early Greeks and Chinese people thought the giraffe was a mixture of a camel and a leopard. So they named it after the two animals and thus the name Camelopard. This is so interesting, isn’t it? Later on, the English people came up with the name giraffe with an Arabic origin of giraffe, Hence the modern day Giraffe.

  1. Giraffe males Fight by Necking to prove dominance and earn breeding rights

How many of you have looked at giraffes and went “awww so cute and sweet’’.  Well, these creatures are not all sweet and their tool of aggression, necks! Yes, male giraffes use their necks to fight it other and thus the term necking. They do this so as to gain dominance and earn breeding rights. And now you are also aware of this!

 

There are three distinct species of Zebras in the world. They include the plain zebras, mountain zebras and the Grevy Zebra which is also known as the Desert Zebras. Here are a few facts you did not know about them.

 

  1. Their stripes are an adaptation against Tsetse Flies

I know most of you think that the zebra stripes are meant to be an adaptation against predators. But besides that, did you know that Zebras Stripes are also an adaptation against Tse Tse fly and heat regulation. Studies show that these markings on their bodies automatically repel the insects and this makes it safe for them to graze in Tsetse fly infested environments. How cool is that? And now you know!

  1. Zebra Ears Signify their moods

Just like humans, Zebras have moods and feelings. Their ears, however, are the most signifying factor. For instance, when the ears are erect, it means they are calm, tense or friendly (happy or excited). When they are frightened the ears are pushed forward and lastly when angry, their ears are pushed backward. Aren’t those just like our facial expressions? They basically tell everything about what we feel. And so do Zebra ears.

  1. Zebras were Domesticated in the late 19th Century and the early 20th Century

Can you imagine what you would think if you met a carriage of Zebras carrying luggage? I know most of you will find it weird. In the 19th and 20th century however, this was a common site among the people in England. Domestication of Zebras was common and on land, a Zoologist Lord Rothschild was famous for his Zebra Carriage. However, the quest was dropped due to their feisty nature.

4.  Albinism is common among Zebras

Humans are termed albinos when they lack melanin. The condition is also common among Zebras and the ones lacking melanin were known as Amelanism. These zebras appear crème in color and mostly known as “blond zebras”. Isn’t that just amazing? And they are just so beautiful.

  1. The Grevy Zebra is the largest among the Zebra species

Zebras are relatively large and can weigh up to 350kgs. However, the Grevy Zebra is relatively large physically as compared to the rest of the species. And now you know!

  1. The Zebra is the Main Feature in Botswana’s Coat of Arms

Botswana’s Coat of Arms has two Zebras as the main features and symbolizes an important part of their nation and their culture.

Many of us assume that Rhinos are just Rhinos. Mostly, we know that they are an endangered species and the most spectacular of wildlife. But what do we really know about these beautiful wild creatures? Here are a few things you probably didn’t know about Black and White Rhinos.

  1. White Rhinos have Wide Lips while Black Rhinos have Narrow Lips

White Rhinos have wide lips because they are grazers and this makes it easy to feed on the grasslands. On the other hand, Black Rhinos have narrow lips mainly because they are browsers, making it easy for them to forage in the scrubby bush. Therefore, if you did not know this you just got schooled!

  1. Black Rhinos are aggressive while White Rhinos are friendly

White rhinos are friendly and you can easily get close to them without fear of harm. However, the black Rhino is an aggressive animal and just be warned in case you are thinking of making friendly moves towards them.

  1. The calves of white Rhinos walk in front of their mothers while those of Black Rhinos walk at the back

Black Rhinos live in the bushes and hence the need to clear paths for their offspring. This explains why they are always walking in the lead.  White Rhinos live in the grassland and thus do not need to clear the paths for their young ones and this is the reason why they always walk behind their young ones.

4. The white Rhinos are bigger in size as compared to the black Rhinos

The white Rhino has the ability to grow to a weight of up to 2. 6 Tonnes while the Black Rhino can only reach a weight of up to 1.6 Tonnes. This makes the white Rhino the second largest land mammal after the elephant. And now you know!

  1. White Rhinos are Social Cows While the Black Rhinos are Solitary Cows

Black Rhinos are solitary and are seldom seen with other individuals. The White Rhino on the other hand is a social cow and is mostly seen in a group and thus more sociable. White Rhino behavior is highly similar to that of domesticated cows in a meadow . And now you know.

 

 

  1. The Females are the Main Hunters in a Pride

Good news to all feminists out there! The female lions are the main hunters in a pride. They hunt in groups and the females are the forerunners in the hunting game. They are also faster than male lions. So if you are inspired by the lionesses, you got a good inspiration.

2. An Adult male Lions Roar can be heard up to 8kms away

How cool is that?  The roar of an adult male lion can be heard in as far as 8kms away and now you know that too.

  1. Lion Cubs are Born with Blue eyes

We, humans, adore blue eyes. I mean our media has made it clear that blue eyes make a perfect Barbie doll princess (A fact I don’t agree with). But lion cubs are born blue-eyed which gradually changes to amber or brown over the first 2-3 months. Isn’t that just interesting?

4. Lions are the most Sociable in the Cat Family

We all know that the other members of the cat family are known to be very elusive. They are hardly ever seen in the wild. But lions are not hard to spot and they are normally found in large groups of 10-25 lions. These prides consist of up to 2 adult males and lionesses (one dominant) and lastly the cubs. However, the male cubs upon maturity tend to leave the pride to try and form their own pride out there. So just like humans, lions are very social cats.

  1. All Lionesses in a Pride are Related

Lionesses in a pride are all related. This is because, in every pride, the lionesses are descendants of the previous members of the pride and hence all related. They are like heiresses to the pride whose legacy lives on. How cool is that?

  1. The Lionesses Roar in a Chorus in case their Territory is Threatened

Think about it, what would you do if a stranger invades your home? You will possibly scream, grab a baseball club or call the police real quick. Female lions are also very protective of their territories and being the most dominant and of a higher number in the pride, they roar in a chorus so as to chase the invader away from their territory. Isn’t that just territorial and amazing? And now you know!

  1. Leopards Shun food for almost a week to Exclusively Mate

Mating is essential for every life cycle to continue. And that is exactly what happens to leopards, except the process is so intense for them that they stop all their daily activities including eating to just mate!  Well, if that is not just amazing I wonder what is.

  1. King John kept leopards in the tower of London in the 13th Century

How cool is this, think about, the most influential being in Europe at that time kept these beautiful creatures in the tower in London.

 

  1. Leopards have the widest prey range among the Big Cats

Known as the most prolific great cat on earth, Leopards are also agile and opportunistic nocturnal hunters. They just don’t go for the big kills like other Big Cats, the stoop to as low as digging for dung beetles and go as high as hunting a fully grown male antelope. This is why they can basically survive in all ecosystems in the wild. We can say these cats are not choosers. Don’t you agree?

  1. Leopards can carry 3 times their body weight up a tree

A Leopard weighs an average of 45kgs. Using their teeth however, they can carry weight up to 135kgs up a tree. And that is what makes them very good hunters since they can feed on their kill exclusively when they are up a tree away from predators like hyenas who feed on the ground.

 

  1. Leopards can reside in both cities and the wild

Leopards are the most adaptive cats in the wild. They can reside in urban areas and they can also reside in the wild quite comfortably. And that is why it is easy to come across them in the most unpredictable of places. And now you know.

 

 

  1. Elephants have a Morning Greeting Ritual

Did you think you are sentimental just because you greet people in the morning? I am sorry to disappoint you darling but Elephants are already masters in this game. Not only do they greet each other every morning but they also show visible touch and affection in the process. Bush Eyes Safaris has been on an Elephant filming quest and this is one of the most interesting facts about Elephants that we discovered.  So if you have been basing your sentiments on the fact that you greet people every morning. We have just given you something to think about.

  1. Elephants can Communicate up to 10kms with Infrasound

If you know anything about sounds, you know that low-frequency sounds travel longer distances and that human hearing is limited to sounds above 20Hertz. Well, our capable researchers found out that Elephants can communicate using infrasonic calls which are way below humans capability to hear and can communicate with other Elephants that are over 10kms away. How cool is that! And now you know.

  1. An Elephant Trunk has over 150,000 Muscles

The human body has only 650 muscles, but just the trunk of an Elephant contains over 150,000 units of muscles explaining its flexibility. Isn’t that just amazing? And now you know that.

  1. Elephants can smell Water from several Miles away

You ever wondered how Elephants find their way to water sources? Well, wonder no more, Elephants have been proven to have a heightened sense of smell for water. This gives them the ability to be able to locate water sources from miles away. This is a perfect adaptation for the African Elephant who resides in the savannah grassland which has very limited water sources and hence eases their quest for water search.

  1. Elephants Have Family Gatherings

If you thought humans beings are the only ones with strong family bonds, you thought wrong. Elephants don’t just meet over Christmas like human beings, they gather twice a year and stay together for over three weeks (and we only hang out for less than a week).  Furthermore, the Elephants use this time to introduce the newly born calves to the family. And to think we humans are the only species who hold family gatherings. How wrong!

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