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Old 06-15-2015, 03:44 AM
Join Date: Dec 2011
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Why do hippos fling feces when defecating?

Video of hippo defecation with fake farting sound effects, you can find other vids of hippo defecation too.

They do something I've never seen another quadruped do which is they wag their tail violently while defecating which flings feces everywhere. Compare to a horse, elephant, etc which just let them drop.

What is the point behind this behavior?
Old 06-15-2015, 04:37 AM
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Seoul, S. Korea
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Old 06-15-2015, 05:56 AM
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Buford, Georgia
Posts: 8,011
Factual answer: to mark the riverbank as his territory

Farcical answer: to impress art critics
Old 06-15-2015, 07:15 AM
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 42,338
The Master Speaks (from 1982):

The hippopotamus, for instance, is said to mark jungle trails by excreting a lethal mixture of urine and feces while twirling its tail like a propeller. This may explain the historically sluggish market for pet hippopotamuses.
Old 06-15-2015, 07:34 AM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,796
It impresses the other hippos, the stinkiest one is the boss. (It's true I saw it on a wildlife doc.)
Old 06-15-2015, 07:59 AM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 3,898
When else would it fling feces?
Old 06-15-2015, 08:05 AM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 8,596
Originally Posted by Fubaya View Post
When else would it fling feces?
You got me there!

Thanks Cal I guess I should have known Cecil had addressed this. Zookeepers must love hippos for this trait.
Old 06-15-2015, 08:23 AM
Charter Member
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Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 14,257
Originally Posted by Fubaya View Post
When else would it fling feces?
On Sundays they sling shit. On Tuesdays they toss turds. On Wednesdays they waft waste. On Fridays they fling feces. On Saturdays they spray stool.

On Mondays they merely mound manure while on Thursdays they tend to be constipated and just think things through.
Old 06-15-2015, 08:31 AM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 18,476
Since hippos defecate in the same waters that they live in, they must have good immune systems. It would be like humans living in a sewer.
Old 06-15-2015, 10:00 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 67,496
Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
Since hippos defecate in the same waters that they live in, they must have good immune systems. It would be like humans living in a sewer.
Everything else living in a river defecates in it, too. Human body wastes cause disease because we form such dense populations. If a hunter-gatherer human population was shitting in a river it wouldn't be a big deal to the people downstream because it would be a tiny, tiny fraction of the volume of water. By contrast, there are 500 million people living in the Ganges river basin.
Old 06-15-2015, 08:36 AM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: 50% chord point
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Because they like the alliteration.

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