A naturally diverse and beautiful District

Saturday, October 31, 2020

If you were asked to list wildlife in Uganda, the hippo is one of the first animals that would come to mind.

You can find hippos in Pakwach.

Hippos are the second largest land animals in the world, only eclipsed in size by the elephant and can be seen quite easily in Uganda. Most of the lakes and rivers in the country are habitats for hippos. The full name is hippopotamus and derived from Greek to mean river horse. They are the third heaviest animals in the world. Elephants and rhinos are heavier than the hippos.
Here are a few interesting facts about the hippo

Diet: Hippos can eat up to 150 pounds (about 75kg) of food, which is primarily grass, in a day. They feed on grass, herbivores that they are, and can quite easily strip their habitats down to Hippo1bubble. They can weigh close to three tons; however their massive weight doesn’t slow them down on land. They can run 30 to 40 km per hour on land, which faster than humans.

Habitat: Hippos are what one would call semi aquatic. They spend time on both land and in the water. They actually spend quite a lot of their time in water, but cannot swim; they mostly just keep bouncing off the bottom of the water. Daytime for the hippos is mostly spent in water as a way to shield from the sun. Their bodies produce a natural sun screen, something a few humans would be grateful for. The sun screen is red in colour and has often been referred to as blood sweat.

Although often thought to be related to pigs, hippos are actually related whales and porpoises.

Life: Hippos have an average lifespan of 40 to 50 years. Physical growth stops at about 25 years of age. Being semi aquatic, they mate and give birth in water.

Hippos live in groups called pods. These usually constitute of male’s females and of course their young. Just like cattle, male hippos are called bulls; the females are called cows while the young ones are called calves.

Although herbivores are often thought to harmless, hippos are considered to be one of the most dangerous species in the world. It is best to keep your distance if you are on foot and near a hippo. They could trample you to death. There have been many deaths due to an encounter with a hippo.

Threats: Hippos like a lot of wildlife in Uganda and Africa, are threatened poachers and hunters. The hippos just like elephants have tusks which sold as ivory. Many hippos have been hunted and killed for their hides, and tusks. Some communities hunt them because they are considered dangerous, which they indeed are. These are usually fishing communities located near hippo habitats.