Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => Physiology & Medicine => Topic started by: John Chapman on 10/07/2009 19:02:59

Title: If a hippo is starved will it get skinny?
Post by: John Chapman on 10/07/2009 19:02:59
There is something vaguely comical about the idea of a skinny hippo. But is it possible? Apart from being Ďbig bonedí a hippo has a substantial layer of subcutaneous fat and a pretty generous helping of muscle. So in times of famine and drought do they get skinny? Come to that, why donít giraffes in zoos (which have nothing to occupy themselves with except eating and daydreaming of the savanna) get fat?  What about thin/fat insects?

So my actual question is this. Are some animals able to eat continuously without getting fat while others are fat even in a malnourished condition? If so how is that possible?
 
Title: If a hippo is starved will it get skinny?
Post by: neilep on 10/07/2009 19:05:42
I'll ask my wife to not eat for a while and will let ewe know...cos...I am a firm believer in empirical study !
Title: If a hippo is starved will it get skinny?
Post by: JnA on 11/07/2009 01:41:19
Weight is about a balance (haha)

Apart from the odd individual that may have an abnormality, if you eat more calories than you are outputting then you will gain weight.. and vice versa.
A hippo (in the wild) may not have the chance to 'get skinny' because other factors may kill it off long before it reaches any really noticeable level.. eg. the fat is probably a great insulator against the cold.. less fat less insulation , more chance of death due to hypothermia (or something)
Animals in zoos are carefully monitored and diet controlled. The amount of calories they are given is equitable to the amount of exercise they get.
Title: If a hippo is starved will it get skinny?
Post by: Im a Geek on the Edge on 13/08/2009 21:49:09
Come to that, why donít giraffes ..... get fat?

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See. It can happen!
Title: If a hippo is starved will it get skinny?
Post by: Nizzle on 14/08/2009 09:50:21
.. less fat less insulation , more chance of death due to hypothermia (or something)
..

Hypothermia in Africa?
I think the fat in hippo's is there to make them float better, not keep'em warm [;)]
Title: If a hippo is starved will it get skinny?
Post by: carreerslut on 15/08/2009 22:50:20
yes hippos can get skinny.  They just don't look it.  Any malnourished animal will eventually consume its own fat.