Friday, February 20, 2009

Hippo, Bite and Run

Another guest post from my sister. If you have a story from your encounters with wildlife in Africa, and would like to see it on this blog, please let me know.

Hippo Story:

One year for mid-term break, my parents took me and my best friend Elora to stay in some lovely cottages by Lake Baringo for a little holiday. One particularly dry hot afternoon Elora and I sat on the cool stoop doing a jigsaw puzzle. We were pleasantly surprised when two hippo's came out to graze about 20 meters in front of us. We were surprised because in the day time the hippos tend to stay in the water and also because the cottage staff usually supervised the wildlife coming onto the premises and it was now quite a distance from the lake (that seemed to have receded over the years).

Growing up in Africa, I was well aware that hippos were very dangerous animals however the grazing seemed harmless enough. I called my mom to come have a look. Just as she arrived on the stoop, suddenly the one hippo opened his great massive jaws and attempted to take a bite of the other hippo!

There was a bit of fight that ensued dramatically and it was enough to make me and Elora run into the cottage door, still watching these giant animals fighting! Then suddenly one of the hippos decided he'd had enough and started to charge-in OUR DIRECTION!!!

We didn't know what to do. We slammed the door shut and ran to the back end of the cottage and prayed that he didn't try to enter the cottage!!! When you see the actual size of an African Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibious), you are very easily convinced that it could storm right through any cottage with great ease!

We were lucky that actually the hippo ran towards our cottage and then turned and ran down the side between our cottage and the next cottage! Soon the staff were on the scene and no one was hurt but it certainly was adrenaline pumping action!

Blog owner's note: There has been a lot said about the danger of African hippos and perhaps this story illustrates the point quiet well. Hippos can be aggressive, and they are dangerous and ill tempered creatures. But the reason for their high kill rate of humans is often more related to the situation, where human activity moves right up to the banks of the river. Hippos spend most of their time in water, but not all. Where grazing starts to compete with gardens, hippos and humans are often in constant conflict. In Africa, often water is scarce, and the rivers are a life blood for growing populations. Something always had to give. No stats are talking about the number of hippos that are killed each year by humans.

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