Hippo Food Chain – Does a Hippo have a Natural Predator?
Although hippos really have no natural predators, they are still vegetarians that categorize them at the bottom of the hippo food chain. Although the hippo youth has some predators, the hippo is at the top of its game. Even crocodiles are afraid of hippos.
Hippo food chain
The hippo is one of the largest animals in the world. As such, they have a relatively high position in the food chain. Although they eat most of the plants, they rarely eat them.
A pygmy hippos food chain is the food that enters the body and then chews it on and gets eaten. The sun first energizes the grass then when the grass eats the hippo, the hippo gains strength. Then a lion or a hyena eats a hippo and gets energy from it. In the end the crocodile eats the lion or the hyena and gets strength
Normal hippopotamus can spend up to 16 hours a day immersed in rivers and lakes. By shaking the water overnight, these herbs graze on tropical grasses and consume 80 to 100 pounds in one meal. Now, a new study shows the environmental importance of hippopotamus-vectored subsidies.
By daybreak, they return to their daytime resting place to rest, digest, and eventually eradicate eating their fill. As a result of this natural process, every year millions of tons of hippo dung enter Africa’s aquatic ecosystem.
However, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, hippos deposits actually provide an important environmental function. A new survey by Douglas McCauley and colleagues at UC Santa Barbara revealed that the organic matter produced by the hippos is a nutrient source for various river fish and aquatic insects. Researchers’ findings have been published today in the journal Ecosphere.
“The environmental importance of hippopotamus-vectored subsidies has been widely estimated, but we see tools from chemistry to prove that these hippo nutrients are picked and used directly by aquatic organisms,” said McCall, assistant professor of environmental science at UCSB. Assistant Professor McCauley says, evolution and marine Biology
“Ecologists are really interested in how materials and energy flow into ecosystems, and here is a very clear boundary – aquatic vs. terrestrial,” he added. “These two worlds are distinctly distinct, but our findings suggest that wildlife like hippos make important connections across these ecosystem gaps. Our research confirms that rivers in these other areas of the Hippos River share a part of the earth’s environment – nutrition and energy.”
McCauley’s team found that several species of river fish – both of them in the local habitat and laboratory of the Ewaso Angiaro River in Kenya – feed on hippo dung. Scientists were able to use stable isotopes, a class of natural chemical markers, to detect the flow of organic matter through the food pipeline from the end of the hippo to the tissues of river fish and insects. The results prove that these aquatic consumers receive nutrition from hippo dung as part of their diet.
An additional search revealed that the importance of hippos as a source of food depends on river conditions. For example, researchers have found that nutrients derived from hippo-vectored organic matter are most pronounced during periods of lower river flows, which are caused by changes in rainfall season.
“When the river is high, it seems that the amount of material that the hippo is bringing in and the animals in the river just can’t get enough of it,” McCauley explained. “And when it dries, these materials concentrate in these pools and the animals are able to make better use of them.”
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These discoveries are important not only because they identify the importance of hippies in the river food network, but because the rivers in East Africa are changing rapidly. “Climate change and regional development are definitely changing the flow of the river,” McCauley says.
“As hippo populations in Africa decline and water systems change rapidly, it is critically important that we understand more about the environmental role of hippos,” he added. “The connections that we highlight in our study suggest that the fate of hippos is intimately linked to the fate of whole food nets and the functioning of the entire ecosystem.”
Hope this article on the hippo food chain was useful to you.