Updated: Mar 20
The very term "photograph" says it is a reproduced graphic image from a real moment in life that happens everyday. Photographic images have been made since the time of Kodak, so why do media post a warning its readers that a photograph is "graphic"?
Two bull hippo fighting.
It was the mating season and pod bulls are relentless in defending their prime real estate territorial pools. Early evening, late night, early morning, during the midday heat you will hear their honking and snorting reverberating around the river pools, the deep sounds projected into the still air by the water surfaces.
In Ranger Dean de la Rey's words: "A pod of over 12 females reside at the causeway and it’s a piece of the reserve worth fighting for. Rain had been scarce prior to the recent flooding of the sand river, and for the hippos, water is a necessity for their day-to-day living. This is not just to quench their thirst but rather to keep their bodies hydrated and stay cool in the scorching summer’s day heat. It is widely known that the hippopotamus is an exceptionally dangerous and aggressive animal by nature. I have seen a few tussles between males for the dominance over a water source or for a pod of females but none quite as intense as this time."
"There were grinding noises as one individual battled to find grip on the washed-up river sand, eventually resulting in him sliding into the water and allowing his opponent to gain the upper hand by slashing a gash into his backside and fiercely chasing him through the depths of the water".
Two bulls were sizing one another up - the preamble of possibly averting a fight. This is when they posture and utter their deep throated honk-roars
The two adversaries soon showed the astonished onlookers from the USA that this was serious - the aggressor bull on the right not giving an inch and soon they were at it. Look at the way those mouths can open.
The fight lasted more than an hour and then the resident bull was able to bite through the lower jaw of the aggressor - " We heard the crashing noises as their lower canines – that can reach 50 centimetres long – clashed, and the piercing sounds as the incisors penetrated one bull’s lower jaw". Dean says you could hear the snapping sound as the jaw was penetrated. The fight took a good turn for the defender.
The recipient clearly had had enough by then and tried to run away, but the main peanut in the pod had not completed his lesson yet:
and he sunk his incisors deep into the loser's shoulder and side to penetrate the lungs.
The final fate of the loser is unknown, maybe in a next blogpost Dean or another ranger will give us an update.