Here are some interesting facts about the African animals that appear in our stories. We’ll be updating this page with new facts, regularly, so come back from time to time and learn more.
Hippos are specifically adapted for a life in water. Their smooth, elongated bodies with rounded curves move easily through the water. Their eyes, ears and nostrils are positioned to be above the water when the rest of their body is submerged.
Hippos are grazers feeding mostly on grass and the young shoots of reeds.
They spend most of the day in the water and leave it to graze by night. They will also leave the water to graze in the day if the weather is cool and overcast.
An adult hippo can graze over 130 kg of grass in a single night.
A hippo confined to land and exposed to the scorching African sun would survive for only a few days.
The reddish hue their hide sometimes shows is a glandular secretion that protects the skin against sunburn.
The hide with its fatty tissue is about 50 mm thick and makes up about 16% of the hippo’s total body mass.
The wart-like growths on the warthog’s face, which gave rise to its name, are not real warts but natural physical features.
You can identify the sex of a warthog simply by seeing its face. Boars have two pairs of “warts”, while sows have a single pair.
The tusks are crucial for the warthog’s survival. The upper tusks are used for digging up roots, bulbs and tubers. The sharp lower tusks are used for fighting and self-defence. The upper and lower tusks rub against each other in such a way that the lower tusks are always kept sharp. The tusks of the sow are visibly smaller that those of the boar.
Their distinctive mannerism of running with their tails held erect is thought to be a way of maintaining contact.
Warthogs are remarkably fast and capable of reaching up to 55 km/hr.
Lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dogs are the warthog’s main natural enemies. However, a fully-grown boar of 90 kg, or more, would prove a very tough conquest for any of these predators.