Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Hippo Banquet, part II

This is a continuation of Eli’s Hippo Banquet blog.

The next morning, we returned to the hippo carcass to see how the hyenas had fared. Hyenas are never ones to turn down a feast, so there were still dozens of hyenas feeding at the hippo. They’d done some serious damage, however – the carcass was completely opened and the majority of the internal organs and other soft bits had been consumed.

As you can see, the hyenas are all covered in a uniform coating of hippo slime, making it very difficult to ID them. Even the little ones seems to have gotten inside the hippo overnight and rolled around for a bit. Couple that with numerous alien hyenas, and we struggled our way through IDing that morning. When Heidi typed up her transcription, it turned out that we had seen 34 Happy Zebra hyenas and 15 aliens within those few morning hours that we spent at the carcass.

What was interesting to us was the relative peace between the Happy Zebra hyenas and the aliens at this carcass. Apart from the typical feeding aggressions, there was little to show that two different clans were harvesting the same food source. Even more intriguing was that the Happy Zebra hyenas allowed the alien males to feed in peace, but the alien females received far more aggressions.

When we returned that evening, the carcass was decimated.  All that remained was a pool of hippo slime, a piece of skin, and the hippo skull itself.

Hyenas searching for left-over scraps in a puddle of hippo slime. 
Euchre chowing down on some hippo skin. 
An alien female gnawing at the hippo skull.
Rum Gone feeding on the hippo skull.
So here’s the final score:
The lions had control of the carcass for 48 hours, and managed to eat part of the face off.
The hyenas had control of the carcass for 24 hours, and consumed the entire thing.
I know who I'd bet on in a hippo-eating contest!

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