Hippos protect themselves with mighty jaws, huge teeth and massive heads. Their colossal tusk teeth weigh up to six pounds each and are important components of their defensive arsenal. Hippos bare their teeth to intimidate interlopers, a behavior especially common among mature bulls squabbling over territory. They also deliver deadly bites with sufficient force to cut adult crocodiles in half.Continue Reading
Hippos have few significant predators. They spend most of each day submerged in rivers, where their primary predators are crocodiles. Adult hippos frequently kill crocodiles that attempt to bite them, but juveniles often succumb to injuries sustained during crocodile ambush attacks. Hippos live in herds containing one adult male, 10 to 20 adult females and their offspring. This grouping behavior is an effective defense mechanism that deters many would-be predators.
While foraging on land, the primary predators that hippos face are lions and hyenas. Poaching is an equally serious threat. Hippopotamus tusks are in demand because they are made of ivory, the same material that forms elephant tusks. There is also an underground market for hippopotamus meat.
In addition to their need to protect themselves against attacks, hippos need protection from scorching sunlight. They spend most of each day almost completely submerged in rivers, with only their nostrils, ears and eyes above the water. This keeps them cool and comfortable during the hottest part of the day. Hippos also secrete a viscous pink oil that lubricates their thick skin, protects it from environmental damage and kills surface bacteria.Learn more about Zoology
Adaptations that help deer survive include being fast and agile, having strong muscles for kicking, cupped ears that pinpoint sounds, eyes on the sides of their heads and sensitive noses that pick up predator scents at 150 yards away or more. Deer have many predators, so their adaptations are largely related to early detection, running away and defending themselves with strong hind legs when cornered.Full Answer >
The African elephant is the animal with the largest teeth. An African elephant has two modified incisors, called tusks, and four molars. Each tusk measures up to 8 feet long and weighs up to 100 pounds or more.Full Answer >
Snails have distinctive teeth called radulae or radulas, which range from a few to thousands. The radula is unique to mollusks such as snails, making these one-piece shell carriers the animals with the greatest number of teeth.Full Answer >
Carnivores need teeth that help them tear apart meat and bones, so they have sharp, scissorlike chompers. Herbivores, in contrast, don't need teeth that can tear but instead need grinding teeth, and so as a result they have many flat molars in the sides and back, while the front teeth make basic cuts to plants. Differences in teeth are just one way in which carnivores and herbivores differ.Full Answer >