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Cannibalistic Hippos Spread Anthrax

hippos cannibalism anthrax

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#1    Anesthetized

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 12:28 AM

An older story, but nonetheless interesting:

http://www.newscient...-in-hippos.html

An example of animals spreading disease via cannibalism and overcrowding. This can be compared to the spreading of Kuru amongst the Fore people of New Guinea in the late 19th century.


It was believed that anthrax was spread due to hippos eating grass containing trace amounts of contaminated soil. The bodies then prolapsed their bowls, undoubtedly with partially digested grass still present, and other hippos consumed these free-floating intestines, as shown here:
Posted Image


This particular segment struck me:

"Dudley published the first scientific report of hippos turning carnivorous to scavenge meat off dead impala carcasses in 1996. And since then, cases of hippo cannibalism have also been documented. "Much [carnivory and cannibalism] may go unobserved because hippos are basically nocturnal animals and almost nobody sees what they do at night," Dudley told New Scientist."


So I suppose you could say that hippos aren't herbivores, as common knowledge would probably suggest, but that they are in fact omnivores.

Also, would you agree that being omnivorous gives a species the upper hand as far as adaptability? I certainly do.

Supplemental video:



Edited by Anesthetized, 11 July 2012 - 12:29 AM.


#2    UFO_Monster

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 01:44 AM

I thought hippos were vegetarians? What would drive one to consume meat, let alone a member of its kind?

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#3    Englishgent

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 01:49 AM

Hippos are mainly vegetarian but there is sufficient evidence to suggest that hippos also eat meat. There are cases of them being seen (and filmed) eating things like antelope or small deer.
Sorry I cannot provide a link as I dont have one without surfing the net, but a few months ago there was a documentary on the television showing hippos eating a small deer that had drowned.

edit,,,typo :)

Edited by Englishgent, 11 July 2012 - 01:50 AM.


#4    Ashotep

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 01:50 AM

I guess we didn't know as much about them as we once thought.  As far as the cannibalism, I wonder how their habitat is holding up.


#5    Anesthetized

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 02:11 AM

It's assumed that overcrowding caused the chain of events to start.The sparseness of food, along with closer quarters, led to increased aggression among territorial males.

And I'll admit I'm starting to think like a mad scientist here... what if you isolated a population of herbivores, and supplied little to no food? Would certain species break their normal diet and resort to cannibalism?






Also tagged with hippos, cannibalism, anthrax

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