My dear friend and talented photographer Tyrone Crossman sent me a few photographs of these lazy Hippos. They were taken at Springbok Lodge outside Ladysmith in the province of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.
How I wish I was a Hippo. They laze around in the cool water for up to 16 hours a day, and only come out to dine on sweet grasses and other vegetation in the evening. They fear little, except man, who compete with them for habitat..
Tyrone says the following about photographing Hippos in the wild, “The camera used was a Canon Eos 7D, with a 70-200mm Lens. The aperture was set at F5.6. I was on the back of a Game Truck, and rested the camera on a beanbag. This was taken in the late afternoon around 3pm. For any wildlife photos, it’s best to use either the early morning lighting conditions or the late afternoon.”
Be safe: Remember to listen to your ranger when on a safari, and approaching Hippos or a known Hippo pool. They might look docile, but they are considered the most dangerous animal in Africa. They are responsible for more human deaths than any other mammal on the continent.
Do not leave your vehicle on a self drive safari. A pool, lake or river might look serene, but don’t forget that a Hippo can hold its breath for a good 5 minutes before needing to surface for a breath. With the amount of weight they carry, 5,000 to 8,000 pounds (2,300 to 3,600 kilograms), they can even walk along the bottom of a pool, lake or river.
Don’t let that podgy body fool you. They can easily out run a human, and their speed on land can reach 30km (19 miles) an hour in a short distance.
Threats: Baby (calf) Hippos are preyed on by Lions, Crocodiles, Leopards, Hyenas, and Wild Dogs, but the adult Hippo has few predators. Adult Hippos do not fear humans, but man is responsible for threats such as habitat loss and poaching. Poaching is a big problem in rural areas. A bulky hippo is killed not only for its meat, but also for the tusks. Tusks can grow up to a foot long.
For the lucky who are able to go on a safari, go out there armed with your camera, and knowledge, and enjoy the delights of an African adventure.
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Author: Principle writer – Celeste Wilson
Photography by Tyrone Crossman Photography
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