'Nature: Hippos – Africa’s River Giant'
(DVD / NR / 2020 / PBS)
Overview: All hippos are utterly dependent on water, but in Botswana, hippos face an unparalleled challenge as deep floodwaters dry to dust in a matter of months.
Here in 'Nature: Hippos – Africa’s River Giant,' we follow their perilous quest for water as hippos protect their families, face their enemies, and show the true nature of the hippopotamus, highly sensitive and surprisingly intelligent.
DVD Verdict: With incredible underwater footage, this quite magnificent documentary delves into the world of the hippo – an animal that cannot swim yet is utterly dependent on water.
In Botswana's Okavango delta, hippos face an unparalleled challenge - deep floodwaters dry to dust in a matter of months. In one extraordinary season, the team go beneath the surface to see them protect their families and face their enemies as they deal with the drought.
Going far beyond their dangerous reputation, the show discovers the true nature of the hippo, an animal that is compassionate, sensitive and highly intelligent.
Narrated by David Attenborough, we quickly discover that Hippos are among the largest living land mammals, being only smaller than elephants and some rhinoceroses.
Amongst the extant African megafauna, behind the two African elephant species, they average smaller than the white rhinoceros but are larger by body mass than the black rhinoceros and the giraffe.
Hippos have barrel-shaped bodies with short legs and long muzzles. Their skeletal structures are graviportal, adapted to carrying their enormous weight, and their specific gravity allows them to sink and move along the bottom of a river.
Hippopotamuses have small legs (relative to other megafauna) because the water in which they live reduces the weight burden.
Furthermore, the hippo's jaw is powered by a large masseter and a well-developed digastric; the latter loops up behind the former to the hyoid.
The jaw hinge is located far back enough to allow the animal to open its mouth at almost 180°. A moderate folding of the orbicularis oris muscle allows the hippo to achieve such a gape without tearing any tissue.
In closing, when David Attenborough claims that what you're about to see is the life of the hippo as never seen before, trust him! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.