About that hippo . . .

Readers may remember that in late November I posted a photograph of an allegedly yawning hippopotamus, and pointed out that it wasn’t yawning:  it was making a threat display, telling the photographer to go away – or else.

For those of you who still can’t think of hippos as anything except the cute dancing beasts in Disney’s Fantasia, here are two videos showing how aggressive and calculating they can be.  The first is from a BBC program, showing the presenter almost ambushed in his canoe.

He was very lucky there were members of his team to keep an eye on the hippo and direct him to a safer place.  If he’d been on his own, I doubt he’d have made it out alive.

The second video was taken from a tourist boat on Lake Naivasha in Kenya.  I blame the boat pilot for this – he went far too close to groups of hippo.  This angered the dominant male in each group, who clearly assumed that the boat was a threat to his harem, and responded accordingly.

Anyone think that if the hippos had caught up to the boat, they’d have merely asked to have their necks scratched?  No?  I thought not . . .



  1. Wow, talk about a boat full of clueless individuals! Laughing about what they think they know, indicates they really haven't processed the information in a practical sense. I would say that is the case for a good part of first world denizens. Too remote from reality.

  2. Will,

    The more educated they are the more clueless they are. What I've seen those with Ph.Ds and Masters and jobs studying marine mammals do reveals their cluelessness. I once watched the "scientists" chasing down a Orca male, female and calf to biopsy via shooting them with an arrow carrying a little cylinder to extract a chunk. The male disappeared, they finally got the calf then the mother, then the male reappeared. They aren't known as killer whales for their polite disposition. The male surfaced and dove coming up on opposite sides of RHIB for quite some time. I wasn't sure I wasn't going to witness a scene from Moby Dick. In the end, they got their biopsy from him and we moved on. The scientists and boat crew couldn't see him moving underneath them as I could from the ship. But you couldn't tell them anything, they were the "experts".

  3. Once running away is complete, I'd yell the following "I don't want your women! They are FAT COWS!".

    A remark I once addressed to an enraged bull (while I was several steps up a steel windmill tower).

    Proper remarks add some dignity to an otherwise awkward situation.

  4. Kayak Guy was just stupid, and the hipsters in the boat, laughing at their impending doom, would likely not have thought it so funny had that boat suddenly run aground.

    I would have, though. But I'm like that.

  5. From what I've read, hippos kill more people than rhinos and elephants. They're dangerous as hell. There was a clip floating around a while back of one chasing an (IIRC) Kenyan park ranger, and that guy was running like he was out to top Usain Bolt.

  6. IIRC the photographer Alan Root almost got killed by a hippo. The bull's tooth punctured Root's diving mask, missed his eye by a quarter inch or so. I saw that, then read _Death in the Long Grass_ and decided that I like large animals best when we are separated by metal bars or a moat (like the Atlantic).


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