Only in Africa, where hippos are born, by naturecreated the most favorable conditions for their existence. No other continent can boast of such large animals that spend most of their life in the water.
Why is the hippo a hippopotamus in Russian?
Name the animal - Hippopotamus amphibius -was given by Karl Linnaeus. Hippopotamus is translated from Greek as a river horse, and amphibius is amphibian - living in two environments, on the ground (where it feeds) and in the water where a hippopotamus is born and spends most of the day.
Behemoth he is called in the post-Soviet countriesspace. Even in the XVIII century in Russia so began to call the hippopotamus. And already from the Russian language it migrated to Ukrainian, Belarusian and all other languages of the USSR. The word "hippopotamus" came from the Bible, where by this name one of two great monsters (the first Leviathan), created by God as the personification of carnal desires, appears. (It is in this context that the word "behemoth" is used in all other languages.)
Comparative dimensions of the hippo
Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius)is considered one of the largest animals in the world, in the first place is an elephant, on the second rhinoceros. The habitat of the latter is the same lowlands of the continent where the hippopotamus is born. The weight of a large old male is on average four tons. Before the age of ten, females weigh as much as males. And then males gain weight faster, although both grow all their lives.
In Europe, the largest animal is considered to be a polar bear: the largest (ever weighed) male was 1003 kg, although usually the animals are not more difficult to walk across the Arctic ice than half a ton.
Climatic conditions and rich food supplyterritories where hippos are born, allow them to grow and gain such a huge weight. The height at the withers in males is only 1.65 meters, but the length is 3 m on average, specimens were observed up to 5.5 meters.
Life in the herd
Despite the popularity of the hippopotamus as an animal,his behavior and way of life are relatively poorly studied. It interferes with the fact that animals spend the day in the water. The life of the hippopotamus obeys a strict order: in the daytime it sleeps or sleeps, periodically reflexively popping up for inhalation (in 2-10 minutes), at night it leaves on the shore of the reservoir for eating grass and leaves.
To feed the hippopotamus walk along the paths, anddirection can not change for years. They trample down the tracks to a depth of half a meter. In those places where herds of hippos live long ago, deep wide paths are laid even in stony banks.
Female live in a harem, where only oneadult male. The herd number reaches 20-30 individuals. For the possession of a harem males are fighting. The winner passes all the numerous "economy". Females (according to a few observations) do not change the harem. The herd is compact enough, females without toddlers outside, inside - cubs with mothers. It is impossible to get through the outer fence even to the dominant male. Such protection is needed because small animals can be easily trampled by a clumsy male (or eaten by a stranger).
Where are hippos born?
For mating, females are ready already 7 years afterbirth, males - from 6 to 14 years. (For information: it is believed that in natural conditions, hippos live up to forty years, in zoos - much longer, known examples of sixty-year-olds.)
The study of the birth of hippos in natural conditions is extremely low. According to the observations of the inhabitants of Africa, hippos are born underwater more often than on land.
The female before birth is usually removed from the herd,choosing a shallow pond where the hippopotamus is born. The baby usually weighs in average from 40 to 50 kg, the light always appears alone. The mother must immediately push him to the surface, otherwise he may be drowned.
When giving birth on shore, the female prepares a "nest", densely trampling the grass and bushes. Only five minutes after birth, he can easily move on land.
What are they - small hippos?
The length of the kids is 1 m, the height in the shoulders is up to 60 cm. Weight can be from 27 to 50 kg. Since hippos are born underwater, the mother must very often push the newborn out of the water: he can hold his breath for only 40 seconds.
In the first ten days after birth, lactatingThe female does not approach the herd, protecting the cub. She may not even have anything for a few days, being near the baby until he learns to go ashore on his own.
The little hippopotamus remains with the mother for up to 18 months, just so much her lactation period continues.
Hippos are born under water
Photo and video surveillance of the life of these wildAnimals taken by numerous tourists and visitors to zoos are constantly laid out on the Internet. This is documented evidence that hippos appear in the light both in water and on land. The process of birth does not look painful, rather, it surprises his spontaneity and transience.
At the London Zoo the first hippopotamus was brought to1880 year. Now almost every large menagerie can boast not only the presence of hippos, but also the appearance of their offspring. In Russia for the first time a hippopotamus was born in the zoo of St. Petersburg in 1880. And during the Great Patriotic War in the Moscow Zoological Garden was born a healthy baby.
Modern zoos, where hippos are born under water, have capacious reservoirs. These animals attract a large number of visitors, who spend hours idle in front of the enclosures.
In the middle of the last century, scientists were seriously studiedthe question of the domestication of the hippopotamus. This assumption is based on the fact that Africans eat meat of hippos for a very long time. Nutrition, tender taste and a large amount of meat (up to 500 kg from an individual weighing two tons) make it possible to try to solve the problem of hunger on the continent.
Behemoth, according to modern scientists, is veryis close in its physiological data to cetaceans (and not to pigs, as previously thought): whales and hippos live, exchange sounds, give birth to young in the water. These and others do not have sebaceous glands and hair, in males the seminal glands are inside the body.
In nature, hippos have very few enemies: even with three lions, animals are relatively easy to straighten. A three-meter long crocodile behemoth bites in half. And if an unwary alligator breaks the calmness of the herd, he certainly will not be bothered.