Why do New Born Hippos climb onto their Moms Backs?

Their are numerous reasons for this unusual behavior

  • New Born's can only stay under the water for a limited amount of time
  • Depending on the depth of the water these new born's need somewhere to regain their strength
  • The mother will allow their new born's to climb onto their backs
  • Due to predators always being in the vicinity
  • Hippos spend upto 16 hours a day in the water and this gives the youngster a chance to rest
how long can a newborn hippo hold its breath

Living in St Lucia, South Africa not only can only be explained as magical should you love the outdoors as well as wildlife.

Better yet being surrounded by the wildlife day in and out exposes us to some super sightings as one could well imagine. And yes seeing a new born Hippo being introduced to his or her pod is always just one such treat.

The new born will be looked after by his mother and also taken away from the pod for quite some time. Other females from the pod will also care for the new born from time to time.


Should the matriarch feel intimidated by the new arrival he will try to kill this new born which does occasionally occur and is always such a traumatic scene.

However Nature proves that the fittest will always survive and no where else is this more evident than on the St Lucia Estuary, the estuary is home to one of the largest congregations of Hippos in South Africa, at the last count it was estimated that 800 Hippos reside in the area.

St Lucia is truly the home of the Hippos, should you be visiting the area please do take note of the following: 

Hippos do roam the streets of St Lucia South Africa caution must be taken as these are wild animals. Please keep your distance and do not block them in any way what so ever. This is an incredible encounter of witnessing these amazing creatures, take drive in and around the village and one is sure to see them. Best times is usually from 8 pm to midnight.

hippo in st lucia town

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Top Attraction is the Hippo Boat Cruises at R300 pp