Clip | Hippos: Africa's River Giants - Watch a Protective Mother Hippo Guard Her Baby

Weighing only 4% as much as an adult, a baby hippo is completely dependent on its mother. The pair stays isolated from the rest of the pod, allowing the calf to imprint on his mother and for the two to forge a vital bond.

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(calm music) - [Narrator] The baby has to master life in the water from its first breath.

This one, a male, seeks his mother's nipple almost immediately.

And he has the ability to suckle under water.

He instinctively folds back his ears, and closes his nostrils.

Weighing just 4% as much as an adult, a baby hippo is completely dependent on its mother.

(birds fluttering) (fish splashing) She keeps an ever watchful eye on him.

Isolation from the pod allows the calf to imprint on his mother.

It's vital that they forge a strong bond.

But her astute relatives haven't missed a thing.

And curiosity draws them closer.

Her calf is still far too young to meet the family.

She knows she will have to move him away.

(intense music) But this is a lot of effort on his first day.

And he's tiring fast.

Now safe, her baby begins to recover.

She creates a raft for him to rest his weary head.

(gentle music)