What is BushCam Adventures?

BushCam Adventures attempts to share some of the amazing images, stories and insights that I've collected during my camera-trapping adventures.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

A Raft of Hippos

I've always been amused by some of the collective nouns given to African mammals. Apart from the above, some that make me smile are: a Dazzle of Zebras, a Crash of Rhinocerous, an Obstinancy of Buffalos, and a Skulk of Jackals. But my favourite has to be an Implausibility of Wildebeest - who the heck thought of that?

But lets return to the humble Hippo.Well perhaps not so humble because these beasts are reputed to be the most dangerous mammal in Africa as measured by the number of humans killed. However that dubious honour is clearly not appropriate because man himself beats the hippo hands down - with the malaria-carrying mosquito certainly the most dangerous animal.

But let me get to the point here. I've recently returned from the north-eastern part of South Africa where I spent a few days giving camera-trapping advice to a lively group of trainee field guides. We left the cameras-traps out for a week and, fortunately, none got eaten by hyenas (a Clan of...) or smashed by elephant (you must know that one). We got some pretty cool photos, which I will show in another post, but what was interesting for me was how many hippo (him of the Raft) photos we got.

The first few simply recorded the comings and goings of an individual along a game trail not far from a small river:

However the next few were, for me, more interesting. The camera had been set up on a rocky outcrop where the students had hoped to record images of a leopard reportedly living in the vicinity:

I'd love to know whether this hippo was a regular stroller on these rocks or whether this was a one-time event. It took me a couple of years to record my first hippo photo on a camera-trap and suddenly I get a load of them in a few days. Could one call that an Implausibility of Hippo Photos?


  1. The names for animal groups always gives my students a good chuckle when I run through them in class.

    I can't tell you which would be my favorite....but a "Parliament" of owls always makes me laugh...and I've always liked an "Exhultation" of larks.

    Incredible to get some hippo photos! The thought of encountering so much megafauna while out with camera traps is mind-boggling to me.

    Do you ever actually cross paths with much while walking to a camera site? I can't imagine rounding a bend and seeing a hippo (or an elephant) standing there!

  2. Thanks Trailblazer. Those are great names too and worth a good chuckle.
    I try very hard to avoid crossing paths with dangerous game when out with cameras. We typically make quite a bit of noise so that most mammals will naturally move away. I also prefer to set them up fairly close to roads so that we have the vehicle a quick dash away (the conventional wisdom of "whatever you do, don't run" - is a difficult rule to remember in the heat of the moment!)

  3. I knew Hippos can travel far at night, but a rocky outcrop does sound strange. How far is it from the closest water or maybe it is en-route to some attractive food source? The flash on those top photographs are pretty good, what camera did you use?

  4. Henry, there was water less than 1km away - so not far for a grazing hippo. It was simply the rocky terrain that was strange for me.
    All four hippo shots were taken with Scoutguard SG565 cameras. I'm seldom happy with the way these cameras trigger but perhaps something the size of a hippo suits them best!

  5. Excellent footage Jeremy.Wonderful coverage,Nice shot!! I've never got any pictures so close like this.Thanks for shairing this.

    Time lapse