Ruighoek Hippo Nursery

During May 2012 I went on a weekend trip to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve in North West Province, South Africa. I heard about a new born hippo calf at the Ruighoek dam, a dam and bird hide which I did not visit much in the past.

I was pleasantly surprised to have found the hippo calf and its slightly older cousin in the open almost every time a visited the hide over the weekend - to the best of my knowledge the calf was about 2 to 4 weeks old at the time and its cousin about 3 months.

Here is just a couple of images to illustrate the lazy nature of these amazing animals and the interaction which I was privileged enough to witness...




Here is just a couple of facts about our beloved hippos (Hippopotamus amphibius): Male hippos are slightly larger at 970 to 2 000 kg than their female counterparts which weigh in at about 995 to 1 600 kg. They can be found in open permanent water in which they can submerge and sandbanks with sufficient grass on which they can feed.

These enormous animals usually live together in groups (or schools) with up to 15 members with a female leader. They usually leave the water during the night to feed and can even be found several
kimometers from the water - this is unfortunately when these usually placid animals come into contact with their biggest enemy, mankind. They can be very aggressive and dangerous, especially cows with calves. Hippos kill more people in Africa than any other animal!

A single calf is born at any time of the year, after a gestation period of about 8 months...
















I recently visited Ruighoek dam again and was delighted to see the little ones doing great. A couple of things did change though - it looks like the group has grown to at least six hippos. I got one or two keeper shots during this visit, but nothing like my first visit...

4 comments :

  1. Thanks Felix! Will have to do a trip together sometime!

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  2. Stunning pictures. Great moment here Rudi...

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  3. Thanks Morkel! Pity they weren't as active when you and I visited...

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