Category Secrets of the Wild

What are the characteristic features of hippopoptamuses?

       In a zoo, visitors spend more time watching a hippo! This may be because of the physical features that make it distinctly different from other animals.

       A hippo has a bulky body. After elephants, hippos are regarded as the biggest land animal on Earth! A male hippo typically weighs about 2000 kg! It is 3.5 metres long and 1.5 metres tall too.

      Hippos love spending time in water. One reason for their love for water is to keep themselves cool in the scorching heat of African summers. Rivers and lakes infested with hippos are dangerous places to visit in Africa, as these animals are unpredictable. Their eyes, nose, and ears are located on the top of their head. These features help them stay submerged in water and still breathe and see.

      There is a popular misconception that they sweat blood when out of water.

      However, the truth is that the animals sweat an oily red the animals sweat an oily red liquid, which acts as a sun block, and helps them protect their skin from drying out in the hot sun.

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Which is the family of the Hippopotamus?

       The hippopotamus has no other family members, as they are the only living members of their family, Hippopotamidae.

       There are two living species of hippos: the pygmy hippo, and the common hippo. The pygmy hippos live in the forests of West Africa. Hippos have similarities with pigs, who may be their closest living relatives on earth. They are cetaceans, meaning they live in water, much like a whale or dolphin!

       Hippopotamuses have short, stumpy legs and barrel shaped bodies. Their heads are large. They have a characteristic broad mouth, and nostrils placed at the top of their snouts. A hippo’s stomach has three chambers.

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Is there a grazing pig in the Suidae family?

       Do you remember Pumbaa in the Lion King movie? Pumbaa is a common warthog. We do not generally associate pigs with grazing like cattle. However, the common warthog is pig species that has adapted to grazing. They live in savannah habitats.

       Commonly found in Africa, the warthog has two pairs of tusks curving upwards, which protrude from the mouth. The upper pair is longer and stronger than the lower pair. The lower pair, on the other hand, is very sharp, because of constant rubbing against the upper pair. The species is omnivorous. They live in groups called sounders. These animals are present in numerous protected areas across its range.

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What are the characteristics of a wild boar?

       Unlike many other animals, wild boars do not live in groups or herbs. They prefer to live alone. The solitary males so not territories; and therefore, do not have any qualms in sharing their resources. The females on the other hand, live in mother-daughter groups. It is a common phenomenon in the pig family that the males grow larger than the females. A wild boar can run at a speed of 40 km/h, and jump to a height of 140 to 150 cm.

       The pigs that we have at home are the domesticated variety of the wild boar. These domesticated pigs are the descendants of the wild boars found in Asia, Europe, and North Africa. Man is responsible for furthering their distribution across the globe. The domestic pig is one of the wildest ranging mammals in the world.

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Which is the largest wild member of the pig family?

       There is so much diversity in the pig family. Wild boars have great variety in terms of weight and size. The giant forest hog, as its name suggests, is the largest wild member in the Suidae family.

     The animal is found in more than s dozen countries in Africa. The giant forest hog is 2.1 metres long, and 1.1 metres tall!

       However, the heaviest boar may be the Eurasian wild pig. The animal weighs up to 320 kg. The smallest member of the Suidae family is the pygmy hor. It is only 55 to 71 centimetres long. From hoof to shoulder, the animal is 25 centimetres tall. An adult pygmy hog weighs only about 10 kilograms.

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To which family do pigs belong?

       The pig is a much misunderstood animal. People call it ugly. In fact, the pig is one of the most intelligent animals! Pigs, hogs and boras belong to the family of Suidae. Suidae includes domestic pegs and numerous species of wild pig, such as babirusas and warthogs.

       Pigs are known for their acute sense of hearing. They are vocal animals. Pigs’ communication involves a series of grunts, squeals and similar sounds. They have a well-developed sense of smell too.

       Most pig species are omnivorous animals. Their diet consists of grass, leaves, roots, insects, worms and even frogs or mice. There are some species that are selective and purely herbivorous. Very intelligent animals, suids are more adaptable than most animals.

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How fast is a hare?

       Have you ever wondered why a tortoise had a race with a hare instead of any other animal? It is because hares are really fast. Incredibly fast runners, hares are capable of outrunning many other animals.

       In normal circumstances, hares can reach a maximum speed of 56 km/h for short distances of approximately 90 metres. Among rabbits, the jackrabbit is the fastest.

       A North American species of hare, this animal can reach a speed of 72 km/h. A jackrabbit has strong hind legs. They help it to leap about 3 metres in one bound. Some can reach 6metres, it is said. When a predator attacks, jackrabbits use a combination of leaping and zigzagging to outrun it.

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Are pikas members of the rabbit family?

        Pikas are small mammals with short limbs and round bodies that look like rabbits, although they are not rabbits. They look like a combination of rabbit and guinea pig or vole. They are found in mountainous country sides in Asia. One or two species are found in northwest North America too.

       Unlike rabbits, pikas have round ears. They are just about 15 to 25 centimetres long. Most of them do not weigh beyond 350 grams. A pikas species that lives in the Himalayan mountain ranges has large eras. This animal is one of the highest living mammals found at heights of more than 6000 metres.

      Pikas feed on a range of vegetation such as grasses, flowers and young stems.

       They have the habit of storing up their food for winter. During autumn, they pull hay, soft twigs and other food items into their burrows, and eat them during the long cold winter that follows.

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Which hare has a winter coat?

       Rabbits do have a soft fur coat that makes it a dear pet. However, some species that live in the cold climate have thick coats.

       The snowshoe hares are an example. They live in forests, under the thick cover of brushy undergrowth. They are usually found in boreal forests, as far north as the shores of the Arctic Ocean.

       The specialty of these animals is that they have large, furry feet. These feet help them move atop the snow in winter. During winter, they have a thick snow-white winter coat, which turns brown when snow melts in the spring and the summer. In about ten weeks, the colour of the coat changes. Nimble and fast on their legs, these animals can get away easily from their predators.

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Which animals belong to the Bovidae family?

          Do you know to which family a cow belongs? Bison, African buffalo, water buffalo, antelope, wildebeest, impala, gazelles, sheep, goats, muskoxen and domestic cattle belong to the family named Bovidae. All of them are hoofed mammals. A member belonging to the Bovidae family is known as bovid.

          The Bovidae family is believed to have evolved 20 million years ago. Generally, the male members of the Bovidae family have horns, and the females lack them. However, among some domestic cattle, both males and females have horns. Horns are one of the most striking characteristics of the bovids. They vary greatly in shape and size across species. The greatest diversities of bovids occur in Africa. The maximum concentration of species is in the Savannahs of Eastern Africa. Other bovid species are also found in Europe, Asia, and North America.

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