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Morphs [Oak Catalog #]
Notable BiologyHippopotas and Hippowdon share several features well suited to life in the desert. Their eyes are covered by several lenses, protecting the eyes even in fierce sandstorm conditions. A Hippopotas' eyes are more vulnerable, due to their position on the top of the head - to compensate for this, a Hippopotas can retract their eyes partially inside their large heads, sheltering them from the worst threats in the environment. Hippowdon has no need for this, as their eye position makes them far better protected. Both Pokemon also have enormous nostrils. They have fantastic nasal control, allowing them to close their nostrils completely when they wish to. Hippopotas can use this feature to easily burrow through the sand almost as if it was walking through it. While one might think that this would be a problem in the desert environment, especially since these Pokemon are almost always in the presence of sandstorms, a series of filters within the nose trap sand grains and move them to storage areas within the main part of the body. Hippopotas and Hippowdon rely on all their senses equally to navigate their environment, as typically none are very effective. Their most noteworthy trait is their storage of sand. Hippopotas has a single large "sac" organ on its back, leading to the large crater. The sac has a well-developed musculature and dozens of tiny air sacs, allowing it can expel sand from this crater at high force, leading to the sandstorms the line is famous for (see "Abilities" below). The large blood supply to the muscles in the sack also allow the Pokemon to use the sand to regulate its own temperature, allowing it to conserve water by expelling hot sand instead of sweat. The line also rarely gets sick, due to coating themselves in a protective shell of sand, which serves to further augment their toughness. Hippowdon is similar, but has several pores instead of one, and so has a much larger reservoir of sand. The sand is densely-packed and very heavy, so these Pokemon have perhaps surprisingly large reserves of sand. They typically acquire sand by simply burying themselves in the desert to fill up the reservoirs, but they can extract sand from eaten rock.
AbilitiesThe signature ability of this line, dubbed "Sand Stream" by scientists, is known only to occur commonly in one single Pokemon besides this species, Tyranitar. When sufficiently roused, Hippopotas and Hippowdon expel small clumps of sand from the craters on their back at high speed. The air sacs provide an initial burst of pressure to release the sand, with internal muscles angling the spray of sand. The resulting spiral-like bursts of sand can rapidly cover an area of up to thirty metres in diameter for some Hippowdon. Blasts of air from their nose and other craters (in the case of Hippowdon) help keep the sand in the air and moving at speed. There is enough initial speed in the sand present for a sandstorm to last well after the Pokemon leaves, with durations of up to ten minutes recorded. It is still currently unknown how the Pokemon expels the sand with enough force to create such long-lasting conditions, with some scientists speculating that both Pokemon secrete compounds that contribute to the sandstorm into the sand mixture. The force of the sand is capable of rapidly abrading almost everything, and can inflict severe injury if a person or a Pokemon is left in the sandstorm for too long. Unconfirmed reports suggest that there are a handful of rare Hippopotas and Hippowdon subspecies that cannot do this, instead taking in sand from a sandstorm to add additional bulk and force to their attacks. An interesting change, if true.
HabitatThese Pokemon are only found naturally in deserts and caves, and are most obviously noticed by the fact that the places these Pokemon live are usually perpetually covered in sandstorms, even more so than many deserts in the world. Hippopotas have been observed in a tunnel connecting Route 214 and Solaceon Town in Sinnoh, and there are occasional sightings in the deserts of Unova. Stable Hippowdon populations have so far only been found in the desert in Route 228, on the small island northeast of Sinnoh. In order to combat the risks of death caused by trainers going after these Pokemon, a colony of Hippopotas was established in the Johto Safari Zone, which has proved moderately successful.
DietHippopotas and Hippowdon can and do eat anything they come across. Their powerful jaws, especially in the case of Hippowdon, allow them to easily crush bones and trees when they come across oasis. Both species are typically content to graze when they can graze, however grasses are usually scarce in their environments. Both Pokemon have been known to consume rocks, though this is predominantly observed in captivity if the Pokemon's sand supply is low. When hunting other Pokemon, Hippopotas and Hippowdon tend to use ambush tactics, as they are both very slow, though capable of short bursts of speed and can camouflage themselves well in their natural environment (especially Hippopotas). Their endurance is phenomenal, and if they come across something that cannot withstand their sandstorms, they will doggedly pursue their prey over a very long distance until they collapse if it is big enough to warrant the effort.
HazardsThe most dangerous thing about Hippopotas and Hippowdon is the sandstorm they can create when threatened. As this sandstorm can last for a while even if knocked out or driven off, adequate protection is a must when travelling in desert regions. Goggles and clothing made from the hide of a rock or ground-type Pokemon are recommended. This should extend to the Pokemon that you use. Rock, ground and steel-types are all noted to be resillient enough to weather a sandstorm without taking sufficient damage. Due to this Pokemon's typing, however, rock and steel-types are not recommended, as they fare poorly against ground-type attacks. If you do not plan on staying long, water, grass and ice-types are also a good choice Hippopotas are not amazingly dangerous. Though strong and tough for an unevolved Pokemon, they are not staggeringly aggressive. If you see one open its mouth, it is a sign that the Hippopotas feels threatened by you. Unless you wish to pre-emptively swamp them with strong water or grass attacks, you should leave quickly and smoothly - Hippopotas are usually found in groups and will come to each others aid if attacked. Hippowdon are much worse due to their sheer aggression. While they tolerate their own kind, almost anything else that enters their territory is not wanted there. A Hippowdon's mouth is open at all times when it is not eating, used to show their immense strength as a threat. They attack without warning, and in addition to their powerful bite attacks and their sandstorm, Hippowdon can create localised tremors and crush with their immense bulk. They are very robust and their hide can repel all kinds of physical blows. Unless you are a supremely confident Trainer, walking into Hippowdon territory is an extremely dangerous thing to do - of all desert-dwelling Pokemon, wild Hippowdon are responsible for the most human deaths each year in this environment. Special water, grass and ice attacks are the only thing that can reliably keep a Hippowdon at bay. And if you find one, there will probably be several nearby. Trainers with a Hippopotas or especially a Hippowdon are encouraged to get it used to other people. They may interpret others interactions with you as threats to your safety, and they WILL react with aggression. This can be extremely dangerous, and very expensive and time consuming to clean up the mess created by a sandstorm. Apart from this, they can be quite affectionate and adapt quickly to a trainer and their Pokemon, considering them a part of their "family", and generally like nothing more than to laze about with them.
Courting and ChildrearingHippopotas do not mate in the wild. Hippowdon bulls claim an area of desert, and all Hippowdon cows within are a part of his territory. He will tolerate other males so long as they are submissive to him. Mating occurs during winter, and Hippowdon typically have gestation periods of around 15 months. Hippowdon look after their young, and their aggression is partially linked to this fact. After spending a year or so in the environment where they were born, the young Hippopotas leave as a group, and continue to separate as they grow and evolve.
Social StructureDespite being territorial, Hippopotas and Hippowdon are quite friendly amongst their own kind. When not eating or chasing people and Pokemon, they often lie in the desert together. It is unknown why exactly this is, though the most common theory is that the Pokemon like being with each other. Hippopotas live in groups of around ten or so until they are close to evolving. Hippowdon typically are found in groups of one male and three to six females. Solitary Hippowdon move from desert to desert until they find a place to settle down, typically with good food availability. Male Hippowdon may fight over territory, if they cannot resolve who is stronger by way of holding their mouth open. These battles usually consist of pushing and shoving and are very rarely lethal. Their territorial nature makes them very aggressive to almost everything else. Because they tend to attack en masse, only another group of Pokemon that strolls into their territory can hope to fare well. It has been observed in Unova that members of the Sandile line regularly come into contact with the Hippopotas that live there, and the struggles that occur between these two aggressive lines are known to be especially brutal, usually of the form of a lone Krookodile engaging a group of as many as fifteen Hippopotas. Hippopotas and Hippowdon do not demonstrate tactics beyond "Hit them until they fall down" in the wild, though Hippowdon will endeavour to keep Hippopotas out of the fight.
In Popular CultureHippowdon are legendary for being the true terror of the desert. Many ancient desert tribesmen in Sinnoh said that true bravery was like that of a Hippowdon, compared to other fearsome desert Pokemon, or even other Pokemon in general. Evidence does show that Hippowdon hunts did happen in the past, and judging by some of the artefact recovered from sites in desert areas there show a great deal of ritual was attached to the hunts. Hippowdon ivory and hide are still popular commodities, but the great risks that are required with getting them, and the fact that Hippowdon aren't actually common in the wild, mean that supplies are limited and very expensive, even on the black market. In stories and games, Hippowdon are usually neither heroes or villains, but threats that must be overcome regardless - in many action-oriented series, should the plot ever enter a desert, there is a good chance that a Hippowdon will emerge and proceed to create immense havoc in a rampage. In the present day, Hippopotas and Hippowdon are very popular amongst trainers who use ground, rock and steel Pokemon. Licensed and black-market breeders have been making large profits with the breed, as well as providing slightly more reliable access to hide and ivory. This has also come with an increase in con artists selling supplements that "increase the power of the sand" (Trainer's Note: There are no such things that exist, and if they did, they would be illegal. Report any such salesmen to the authorities.) Keeping these Pokemon is very expensive, due to their dietary requirements and the fact that they tend to fill dwellings with sand. Trainers are advised to not use these Pokemon within city limits, as heavy fines may apply if anything gets accidentally damaged.
Article by Smiggins.