Hippos are the animal that I have the most
'respect' for--read fear.
We always hoped to see hippos out of the
water, but that's hard to do. They come out in the evening and then it's
too dark to take photos. Many of these were taken at dusk so the color is
not so great. Here's what you usually see of hippos.
Keep in mind that for every one you see,
there are probably several underneath the water and you don't know where.
Hippos are very set in their ways and because of that are responsible for more
human deaths than any other animal. They don't like you near them in the
water by day and they don't like you on the paths that they take to
feeding areas by night. (Remember the jaws we saw earlier.)
You want to see
..........but if you're not in the
vehicle, you don't want to see this--especially with the baby behind making Mama
We heard a lot
and saw a little fighting between males in a pod.
About fifty meters from a large pod we saw
this lonely old male who had obviously been kicked out with a fight--note the
scars on his back. Every once in a while he would lie down on his side and
raise two feet in the air. We don't know why unless the water he was
allowed to be in by the other males was too shallow and he couldn't immerse
himself to keep cool any other way.
Note also the thick tail. Hippos use
this to mark their territory by fanning it back and forth very rapidly as they
defecate, thereby spreading the dung all over the place.
Frank and I wanted to get great pictures
of the famous hippo tooth-display 'yawn'. The hippos must watch and when
you lower your camera from your eye, they do a big yawn which you, of course,
miss. They do the 'yawn' mostly as they are getting ready to come out to
feed when the light is fading. We never did get what we thought was the
perfect one, but here's a collage of some we did take.