Baby hippos are some of the cutest and most adorable creatures in the animal kingdom. However, their behavior can often be confusing and even shocking to those who are unfamiliar with it. One such behavior that has caught the attention of animal enthusiasts and researchers alike is why baby hippos like to chew on crocodiles.
The Anatomy of a Hippo
Before we get into why baby hippos chew on crocodiles, it’s important to understand a little bit about the anatomy of these fascinating creatures. Hippos are semi-aquatic mammals that are found in Africa. They are known for their large size and their distinctive barrel-shaped bodies. Hippos have four toes on each foot, which are webbed to help them swim. Their mouths are filled with razor-sharp teeth, and their jaws are incredibly powerful.
The Relationship between Hippos and Crocodiles
Hippos and crocodiles are often found living in close proximity to one another in the rivers and lakes of Africa. While hippos are herbivores, crocodiles are carnivores. Despite their differences in diet, these two animals will sometimes interact with one another.
Why Do Baby Hippos Chew on Crocodiles?
While it may seem strange and even frightening to see a tiny baby hippo nibbling on a crocodile, there is actually a good reason for this behavior. Baby hippos have very sensitive skin that is susceptible to sunburn and other skin conditions. To protect their delicate skin, baby hippos will often cover themselves in a layer of crocodile feces. This may sound disgusting, but it actually provides a natural sunscreen for the baby hippo.
What Happens If a Crocodile Attacks a Hippo?
Despite their friendly interactions, hippos and crocodiles are not always peaceful with one another. The territorial nature of both animals can sometimes lead to conflicts. If a crocodile attacks a hippo, the hippo will defend itself using its powerful jaws and teeth. In fact, hippos are one of the most dangerous animals in Africa and have been known to attack humans as well.
In conclusion, baby hippos are not being aggressive or territorial when they nibble on crocodiles. Instead, they are simply trying to protect their sensitive skin. While the relationship between hippos and crocodiles may seem odd, it is actually just one of the many unique interactions that occur in the animal kingdom.