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The Grizzly Bear

Brown bear, Jardin des Plantes, Paris  © Shirley Burchill

The grizzly bear has a mass of around 490 kg. The largest bear was an Alaskan grizzly which had a mass of 571 kg, which is just over half a tonne. The grizzly bear can live for up to 30 years. It is an omnivore, eating such things as fruits, a variety of plants, insects, small mammals, salmon, trout and small deer. The grizzly bear can charge towards its prey at up to 50 km/h. It needs to eat 12 to 16 kg of food each day.

The Hippopotamus

Herd of hippopotamuses, Kenya  © Shirley Burchill

The hippopotamus is an amphibious mammal. An adult male hippopotamus has a mass of up to 3,2 tonnes and can live for 45 years. It can swim and dive very well and is able to stay under water for up to 5 minutes.

Hippopotamuses live together in herds of up to 50 individuals. These herds are always located near ponds and rivers. The ears and eyes of the hippopotamus are at the top of its head so that they can stay out of the water while the rest of the body is submerged.

The skin of the hippopotamus is not tough like the skin of an elephant. To stop losing too much water the hippopotamus spends most of the day in water. In the early evening, when it is cooler, the herd walks up to 2,8 km away from the river to feed on grass. The hippopotamuses feed for up to 6 hours. Each has to eat 40 kg of food during the night. In the early morning the herd returns to the water.

The Lion

A pride of lions contains between 1 to 6 fully grown males and 4 to 12 females. In the wild, lions can live up to 15 years. The mass of a male lion can reach 240kg, three times the mass of an adult man. The lioness is usually smaller with a mass of up to 180kg.

Male lions need to eat 7kg of meat each day and the females need 5kg. When they are hunting, lionesses can reach speeds of 58km/h. Most large herbivores can reach speeds of 80km/h, so the lionesses need to be within 30 metres of their prey before they start to run.

The Hyena

Hyenas are scavengers as well as hunters. A scavenger is an animal which eats the left-overs of other animals. The hyena eats everything, including the bones. Any parts of the food which the hyena can not digest are regurgitated (brought back to the mouth and spat out). A pack of 10 hyenas can drive a lioness away from her kill.

Hyena, Tanzania © Shirley Burchill

When hunting zebra, the pack can number up to twenty. Each hyena needs to eat around 15kg of meat each day.

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