Floating hippo poop
Poop spraying

Why Do Hippos Spray Poop? Impressive Social Behaviour!

By nature, hippos are very territorial. Male hippos spray poop to mark their territory and impress the female hippopotamuses. The dominant male hippos create an area for themselves in water bodies of rivers or lakes by using their poop. It helps the other males avoid invading the dominant male territory. It also helps the female hippo find a dominant male territory.

How Does a Hippopotamus Poop?

Most of the time, hippos poop while still in the water. During defecation, the male hippopotamus spins its tail to spray its poop all around the place. This showcasing helps the male hippo gain the attention of the females; it also helps them mark their territory.

The hippopotamus also uses defecation to cool down their body temperature. The hippos can expel about 800 pounds of excrement every day. It not only helps them to keep the digestive system clean but also helps to reduce their body temperature significantly.

Hippo Social Behavior

The social structure of the hippopotamuses is fascinating. A group of female hippos and their offspring live in their territory region. The number of hippos living in a territory of a dominant male can range from two to about thirty hippos. The male-dominant hippos claim territory in the river and lake by flinging their excrement in every direction.

Previously researchers believed that hippos form social bonds with other hippos while they relax in the water. That notion has changed in recent times completely. Now researchers believe that hippos generally do not form close relationships with other hippos. 

Only the mothers can form significantly more substantial relationships with babies. However, most of the time, this bond does not last for their entire lifetime. 

While relaxing, hippos do not communicate with each other. These animals are highly individualistic and always put their requirements and that of their offspring before the needs of any other group member. 

Adult hippos can get highly violent in most cases, making the group hazardous for the babies. That is why the mother hippo generally moves away from the group before giving birth. The female gives birth in a secluded place and will try to keep their child away from the group for a significant amount of time.

Mainly the dominant male of the group controls the movement of the females. Even though the male hippos are very aggressive towards each other, in some cases, the dominant males tolerate the presence of subordinate males in their territory. These incidents occur if the subordinate male is not inclined to mate. When the submissive male starts showing interest in mating, the dominant male drives them away from the territory.

Even while living in the herd, the hippos tend to segregate themselves from each other. The male hippos stay in a particular area, and the female hippos tend to gather on the other end. Most of the time, the baby hippos remain very close to their mother. Once the babies get older, only the females will stick to the present group, and the male hippos will start forming their bachelor group.

If you observe a group of hippopotami for a long time, you will find that they use vocalisations to communicate.

Hippo in Territory

What makes a hippo so aggressive?

Hippos are considered aggressive animals because they are very protective of their territory. Hippos are considered one of the most dangerous and aggressive land animals. 

The hippos can mark their territory both on land and in water. Whenever anyone invades their habitat, the hippos will not hesitate to attack the animal or the person. 

More often than not, hippos attack and capsizes boats in Africa. However, in most cases, the male hippos show excessive aggressiveness in defending their territory. 

The female hippos can also get pretty aggressive if something comes between the mother and their babies. Every year, hippos kill about 500 people in Africa.

Why do hippos kill people?

Even though Africa is a land of lions and other dangerous animals, hippopotamuses create the most fear among people. It is one of the most dangerous animals that you can find in Africa. 

Most of the time, hippos and people encounter each other in areas surrounding water bodies. For example, in Okavango, villagers use boats for transportation and fishing. To do that every day, they have to sail through the areas that are prime hippo territories. 

These villagers know the hippopotamuses’ nature and, most of the time, understand the signs of aggression, like yawning and can take necessary actions before things get complicated. However, sometimes these signs can be unnoticed, and the hippo will attack due to people being in their territory.

What do hippos have canine teeth if they dont eat meat?

Hippos are mainly vegetarians but still have a good set of canine teeth; however, they use their canine teeth as a defence tool in combat. 

Hippos open their impressive jaw to yawn. Even though it looks fascinating, yawning is not a good sign.

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Teresa Milne

Teresa is learning zoology and loves to share her knowledge through her articles. She is also a avid binge watcher of wild animal documentary's. Teresa has some pets that she adores two dogs, two cats, and one hamster. She has also studied canine behaviour and canine nutrition.