Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A new day dawns on the hippo...

Here's the hippo, day 2. A LOT of meat is gone, in a bit over 24 hours! You can see the ribs are exposed, so just the meat along the backbone, as well as some scraps near the head, are left.

The lions, completely stuffed after collectively consuming several thousand pounds of meat, were lying in the bushes nearby. One greedy lioness didn't like the vultures feeding on "her" carcass. Every time the vultures wound descend, she would drag her painfully fat body up, and chase them off. She'd then return immediately to the shade to sleep off the indigestion from which she must have been suffering. You can see her in the corner of this picture, just after she scared all the vultures away.

This jackal was a bit luckier than the vultures, and somehow managed to snag an entire hippo leg for himself. Despite the leg being bigger than he is, he tried valiantly to drag it away from the scene to keep it safe from other scavengers. Needless to say, he didn't make much progress.

Our hyenas have been lurking around, waiting for a good opportunity to make a move, but the lions' presence hasn't given them their chance...yet.


Anonymous said...

I'm wondering, if the lions are so over fed that it must be painful for them to move, wouldn't the hyenas have a considerable speed advantage over them and could drive them away through sheer numbers and better mobility?

Kate said...

That's a really good question. Hyenas are (rightfully!) quite tentative around lions, and they aren't willing to take any unnecessary risks. I'm actually looking into risk-taking behavior as part of my dissertation (who takes what risks, and when), so hopefully I'll have some more insight into this kind of question soon!

Michigan State University | College of Natural Science