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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 6:59 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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This is so interesting and informative I'm really enjoying myself
:redface:

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:03 pm 
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me too :)

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:06 pm 
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What a pleasure to go for a walk with such knowledgable guides :clap:


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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 8:06 pm 
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I am also enjoying this walk.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 9:53 pm 
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looney_lea wrote:
And now that you mention the size of his teeth - It makes sense. I have a question : Why is it that hippos are so big and yet they are vegeterians?


Good question LL!

Think a moment about your question ... Think about all the big animals ... elephant, giraffe, rhino, hippo, buffalo, eland ...

All of them are vegetarian.

There is a good reason for that! Big animals needs a lot of food, that is always available.

People tend to think that it is easy to be a predator. It is actually hard work, with lots of risk involved. Often prey is scarce, and they are always difficult to catch. This is why big predators such as lion is almost always busy sleeping ... they are saving energy, thus reducing the need to hunt.

A really big predator would not be able to feed itself sufficiently. It would always be out hunting.

A big predator would also be very limited in the type of prey it could hunt! Take the lion as a prime example.

The female is a lot smaller than the male, and thus able to catch smaller and more nimble prey. The males have the (false) reputation that they do not hunt and only steal from the females. In fact the males play a major part when tackling bigger prey such as buffalo, but is usually unable to catch fast prey such as zebra. This is an example of the influence of size within one species.

The biggest predator I know of is a bear. But most bears are in fact omnivores, relying heavily on vegetable matter to survive.

So the plain answer to your question is: If hippo were to become predators over night, they would all die of starvation within a few months, not being able to sustain themselves with the limited amount of prey they would be able to catch.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:25 am 
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Hi Imberbe I hope you do not mind if I chip in with another reason for the size and "lazieness" of predators.

It also has to do with the energy pyramid (which follows the same shape as the numbers pyramid). Plants (producers) make their own food and therefore have the most stored latent energy available to them. They however use some of this energy in growing, reproducing, defence mechanisms etc. so when a herbivour comes along and eats there is already less energy available in their food. They then use up a lot of this energy just to survive their daily lives and so there is even less energy available to the predator (limiting size and potential energy). There are very few predators that soley eat other predators. Most tertiary consumers feed on both levels i.e. they eat both herbivores and other predators e.g. snake eagle.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 12:01 pm 
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:thumbs_up:

Well said Jeanus.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 12:01 pm 
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:thumbs_up:

Well said Jeanus.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 3:40 pm 
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May i chip in with a little "fable" i heard about the hippo and why he's is a vegetarian, as well as why he fans his dung.

The story goes as follows:
when God first created animals, the hippo lived life on the land...until one day he came to God and said "God, i know you put me on land, but my skin is being hammered by the sun, and with my huge body, i am battling to move around in the heat of the day. could i please live my days in the water?" God told hippo, "Hippo, i put you on the land because i reserved the waters for the fish...and if i put you in the water, you might eat all the fish until there is none left, because you need so much for energy." Hippo responded, "God, if you let me live my days in water, i promise i will not eat any fish...only grass on the land during the cool hours. To prove this to you, i will fan my dung everyday to show you that there are no fish bones in my dung, but only grass." With this promise, God let Hippo live his days in the water, and Hippo has since been a herbivore. :)

Just a cute story i thought you'd all enjoy :)

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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 6:03 pm 
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Thanks Imberbe, Jeanus & Jonty,
I understand now. :D


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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:33 am 
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OK, lets move on ... we do not want to disturb these giants too much!

Lets walk up the river bank, maybe we will see a few nice trees and we may even have a special bird sighting.

Careful Dotty! You are walking into something!

You stopped just in time! 8)

Image

Q: Can you tell me who this belongs to?

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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 5:24 am 
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Is it a Golden Orb Web Weaver?


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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 11:08 am 
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:shock: OMG I didn't think to look for that sort of thing, :roll: how interesting... is the owner poisonous?

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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 11:53 am 
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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:06 pm 
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Wow...that was close dotty :shock:
But dont worry...apparently thier venom is harmless to humans, and rarely bite...ever when something walks into and destroys their web :) :wink:

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