Cholera has evolved to impact and infect humans but not hippos. Cholera, the infectious disease is caused by a curved rod – shaped bacterium known as Vibrio cholerae. Disease is identified by a heavy diarrhea that looks like “rice water” and can lead to death within hours.
The cholera causing bacteria can only impact humans and can only be transmitted to new human hosts through contaminated water. Over millennia, pathogen and host have been trying to evolve counter strategies against each other. These lead bacteria to become host – specific and now can impact humans only. Hippopotamuses are more closely related to cetaceans than humans and thus they have different pathogens to impact them. Hippos are likely to suffer from dung due to other pathogens or the quality of the huge amounts of plant material they take on daily basis.
Dung Showering in Hippos community involved their tail flickering at the same time as defecating to dispense their dung far and wide. Thus dung is used to mark their region and claim dominance. Over time, hippopotamuses have adapted to their water habitats and rarely become infected with waterborne diseases.
By: Bhavna Sharma