Two Of A Kind On The Hippo Chute


Many people do not know, and that once included me, that hippos are among Africa’s most dangerous animals. They do in fact kill quite a few people every year, usually local fishermen. The main source of contention is when a human presence is deemed an obstacle to a hippo’s return to its territorial waters. Hippos spend the dark hours roving through the bush chomping large quantities of grass. But they like to return to their lakes and rivers by sun-up.

They are very thinned skinned and although they produce a red oily secretion to protect themselves, any unexpected delay out in the hot sun can cause them to become ferociously overheated, if not downright murderous. We had a hair-raising experience ourselves when we were living in Zambia. We were on a guided bush walk in the magnificent South Luangwa Valley. Lucky for us we had a wise Zambian Park Ranger accompanying our party. You can read the story at Grouchy Hippo, Laid Out Lions.

The hippos in the photo were our neighbours at Kenya’s Mara River Camp. Every morning at first light I would watch them emerge from the bush on the bank across from our tent. Full grown hippos weigh anything between three and six thousand pounds so the return to the river, even on custom-made hippo-slides, took some negotiating: head first or bottom first that is the question.

KindaSquare #6

26 thoughts on “Two Of A Kind On The Hippo Chute

  1. We too had been warned by our guides to keep our distance from the hippos. They can move with surprising speed. It’s just a reminder to me about how all creatures, big and small, deserve to be treated with respect

  2. Cute? Fun? Has no-one seen a hippo with its mouth open? I camped on an island in the Zambezi on my Africa trip and we were warned to be careful if we left our tents during the night as hippos used it as a crossing. Just listening to them below us whilst we were eating dinner was scary enough!

  3. Hippos are dangerous mammals. And on the contrary, Tish, their skin is about 1.5 inches thick and is bulletproof as far as most guns are concerned. And though a hippo is quite heavy, it can easily outrun a man

    1. You’re absolutely right about the thickness of the dermis, Mak. It’s the outer layer epidermis that’s very thin and susceptible to the sun. I should have been more specific.

      1. We’re into autumn now. Not too cold, but windy and rainy. And a bit of sun as I write this. I am fine thank you. Hope you are well. And on the subject of wellness, there’s an absolutely authorative scientific overview of coronavirus as a free download book by Profs Reiss and Bhakdi:

      2. It’s a quick read from what I’ve read of it. Very straight forward too. Bhakdi wrote an open letter to Merkel back in March trying to prevent lockdowns. He’s one of Germany’s most eminent medical researchers.

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