Photo of the Day #30: Hippo

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Today’s photo, like yesterday’s, was taken at the Philadelphia Zoo, and I was fortunate enough to be able to catch the Hippos (Hippopotamus amphibius) as they were entering the water. I’m sure everyone has heard of their aggressiveness via television documentaries and other sources, but few have heard of the fact that hippos sometimes consume flesh. While hippos occasionally nibble on or play with carcasses in African waterways, in severe drought conditions they sometimes kill prey (as in one account of an impala running into the water to avoid Wild Dogs, only to be killed and consumed by hippos) and may even resort to cannibalism. This can be a problem as cannibalism can assist the spread of disease in stressed populations, and in 2004 that’s precisely what happened with an anthrax outbreak in Uganda.