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The Hippos: Natural History and Conservation

MonographOut of Print

Series: Poyser Natural History

By: S Keith Eltringham(Author)

184 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations, maps

T & AD Poyser Ltd (A & C Black)

Hardback | Jul 2002 | #100993 | ISBN: 085661131X
Out of Print Details

About this book

Hippos are unusual in being genuinely amphibious. This has a fundamental effect on their physiology and way of life. Following a general introduction, there is a detailed description of hippo anatomy and physiology, including many fascinating and little known facts about their skin structure. Subsequent chapters are devoted to their social biology and ecology, including descriptions of their breeding and feeding ecology. Several extraordinary instances of carnivory, including an instance of cannibalism, are described. The Hippos closes with three chapters devoted to the results of the author's recent survey on the distribution and abundance of the common hippo throughout Africa.

"[This is the] first full account of the common hippopotamus, found in East and South Africa, and the pigmy hippopotamus, inhabiting the forests of West Africa [...] A major contribution to mammalian and African wildlife literature, one which every mammalian and wildlife conservation collection should have."

"An enormous amount of information about the common hippototamus [...] [A] readable, fascinating account, covering all know aspects of hippo biology, including taxonomy, anatomy, physiology, energetics, evolution, social behaviour, reproduction, diet and feeding, ecology, diseases, and parasites."
Mammal News

"There are two species of hippos in the world today. This book is a comprehensive account of the natural history and biology of both of them. An important part of the book is a survey of common hippo numbers and conservation status, country by country. The author concludes that, although it has a total population of c.174 000, the species is vulnerable; many of its populations may be too small to be viable and the species is comparatively poorly protected. In respect of the pygmy hippo, we don't even know how many there are; they occur in just a few scattered localities, probably in small numbers, making them very vulnerable. Let us hope that the clear picture presented by this book stimulates better protection and deeper study of these curious animals."
– Jeremy J. D. Greenwood, Habitat

"You may feel that you have absolutely no need to know about hippos but this slim book makes for fascinating reading, especially as the common view of slow, gentle, wallowing animals, immortalized in fun by Flanders and Swann, hides an interesting ecology with even more interesting applied ecology questions."
Bulletin of the British Ecological Society


1. Introduction 1
2. Anatony and Physiology 8
3. The Origins of Hippos 39
4. The Social Life of Hippos 47
5. Reproduction in Hippos 58
6. Diet and Feeding Habits of Hippos 74
7. The Ecology of Hippos 86
8. Diseases, Parasites and Commensals of Hippos 110
9. Hippos and Man 120
10. The Distribution and Numbers of Hippopotamus amphibius in East Africa 162
11. The Distribution and Numbers of Hippopotamus amphibius in Southern Africa 162

References 173
Index 179

The plate section can be found between pages 88 and 89

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