Why It’s Nearly Impossible to Castrate a Hippo
February 18, 2014 6:50 PM   Subscribe

Chances are you’ve never wondered how difficult it is to remove the testes of a hippopotamus.
posted by Chrysostom (54 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
“Grasping the testicle with forceps proved laborious”

You don't say.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:56 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]


Didn't George Orwell write an essay about this?
posted by KokuRyu at 6:56 PM on February 18 [6 favorites]


Shooting An Elephant is no doubt easier than Castrating A Hippo.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:00 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]


I was just thinking about this, this very morning!
posted by sfts2 at 7:04 PM on February 18 [6 favorites]


I think about this on a regular basis. I hate hippos.
posted by eamondaly at 7:06 PM on February 18 [6 favorites]


I dunno Chryostom, are you sure about that?
posted by KokuRyu at 7:07 PM on February 18


Combined with a penis that the paper’s authors describe as “discreet,” it means it’s hard to tell males from females at a distance.

Perhaps there's a documentary in this.
posted by dumbland at 7:07 PM on February 18 [15 favorites]


Whether or not your penis is "discreet" is really a question of attitude.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 7:10 PM on February 18 [6 favorites]


Secret Hippo Cock
posted by planetesimal at 7:11 PM on February 18 [5 favorites]


Okay guys, show of hands -

How many of you involuntarily crossed your legs while reading about this?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:14 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


(raises hand, wincing)
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:16 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


That was continuously entertaining and enlightening.
posted by painquale at 7:19 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


...they used ultrasound imaging to find the testes—then used it again after cutting into the hippo, if the testis they were looking for had scooted farther away from them.

How male--testes with a mind of their own.

The whole hour-and-a-half procedure, based on a method for castrating horses, is described in detail for anyone who wants to try it themselves.

I'm thinkin' you'd best be having someone to hold the description and turn the pages if you try this at home.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:22 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


planetesimal, is that like Secret Meat Business?
posted by mollweide at 7:23 PM on February 18


> planetesimal, is that like Secret Meat Business?

It...could be! At first it seemed like a band name but it was so tantalizing that I didn't want to limit its application.
posted by planetesimal at 7:32 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Seriously, I know we don't say it around here too much, but best of the web. I haven't been sleeping too much lately, and the number of 3am giggles I get from here was worth the $5.
posted by nevercalm at 7:39 PM on February 18 [5 favorites]


Hippos hate him!
posted by thelonius at 7:40 PM on February 18 [21 favorites]


"CATEGORIZED UNDER: boys and girls, medicine, poo, posts that will bring me creepy internet traffic, weird animals"

I did not choose to view other poo-tagged posts.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:41 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


And I know it's really barely related and on a whole other side of the planet and whatnot, but on the improbably huge/bulky mammals tip: Overlord manatee.
posted by nevercalm at 7:43 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


I would hope that if anyone tried to castrate me, my testes would crawl 16 inches inside to escape. That's teamwork, guys!
posted by Dip Flash at 7:44 PM on February 18 [5 favorites]


In the past, hippopotamus anesthesia has been fraught with serious complications

I can imagine...

Drugged up hippo: Where am I? Where are your hands? Gah!
posted by arcticseal at 8:06 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


One zoo, though, reported that castrated males were harassed more by females.

Can you blame them? No more sexy-times; just lies around the house all day...
posted by Pudhoho at 8:15 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]


"Secret Hippo Cock"

Liiterally just laughed so loudly that I woke up my wife, who was sleeping in bed next to me.
posted by zarq at 8:24 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Visiting an old friend this weekend, and as we reminisced about folks gone and still here, he mentioned one of those still heres who has been helping out and that person's "Confront," which I guessed was a Scientology thing (my old friend was Sea-Org; now he's not a Scientologist), and which I also guessed was about what it sounds like (another Scientology thing); facing whatever it is that's got you stopped, and moving through it.

"I don't have a lot of Confront," I said.

"No," he said.

I'm not clicking the link.
posted by notyou at 8:35 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Man, my mom used to constantly yell at me "Stop daydreaming about how difficult it must be to remove a hippo's testicles and do your homework!" I mean, like, always On my case! What a buzzkill.

I tell you, I could not wait to get out of there, find a job & a little apartment of my own and just be able to think about how difficult it must be to remove a hippo's testicles whenever the hell I wanted to.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:56 PM on February 18 [11 favorites]


However the red sweat works, it shows that a hippo’s secrets don’t end with the location of his testicles.
Weird Twitter has nothing on Discover.
posted by Etrigan at 9:05 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]


I feel sorry for 'em! What a drag.
posted by Vibrissae at 9:07 PM on February 18


posts that will bring me creepy internet traffic

One of the fourteen kinds of post. The others are:

Posts that were made by the emperor
Archived posts
Markov chain posts
Posts about Alien
Posts about Sirens
Fabulous posts
Stray posts
Posts not included in this list
Deranged posts
The Treaty of Westphalia
Posts typed with a vintage Model M keyboard
ASCII art resembling flies
Posts that have just broken my heart
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:08 PM on February 18 [22 favorites]


Celestial Emporium Of Hippo Testicle Knowledge
posted by todayandtomorrow at 9:10 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


So 25 years ago I went on a date with a woman who worked at the Lincoln Park Zoo. It was one date only. I always thought I scared her away when she said to me at the end of the evening, "You have the package of a hippo". For 25 years I was proud to be like a hippo. Now I know the truth about why it was a one date relationship.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:34 PM on February 18 [17 favorites]


Things I never knew about hippo naught bits! :) thanks for this post!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:34 PM on February 18


Yeah - that red sweat stuff, I'm now curious about. And here's wikipedia on 'Hipposudoric Acid'.
posted by symbioid at 9:49 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


As I understand it, scrotums (scrota?) are a biological feature because mammalian internal body temperature is warmer than ideal for sperm. Keeping the testes stashed in a pendulous protuberance outside the abdominal cavity seems to be the solution for the majority of mammals, despite making them much more exposed and vulnerable to injury. Why then do some few species retain them internally, and what's the workaround for the body temperature conundrum?

Testicles: a mystery nestled in an enigma dangling (in most species) from a conundrum.
posted by Lou Stuells at 9:52 PM on February 18 [6 favorites]


Why then do some few species retain them internally, and what's the workaround for the body temperature conundrum?

Perhaps water-cooling?
posted by I-Write-Essays at 10:01 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


I learned from the booklet American Hippopotamus that young, castrated male hippos are the tastiest kind. The booklet is about an early 20th century scheme to populate American swamps with hippo farms (as a meat source; I read in the booklet and elsewhere that they are very tasty). There was a briefer This American Life radio story on this by the author of the booklet recently
posted by Bwithh at 10:04 PM on February 18 [7 favorites]


Why then do some few species retain them internally, and what's the workaround for the body temperature conundrum?

Wikipedia sez that it's in part a reflection of an old division between "boroeutherian" mammals with external balls and "non-boroeutherians" (incl anteaters, heffalumps, sloths, more) with internal ones, except that aquatic boroeutherians mostly have internal ones for to go faster.

Because knowing is half the battle.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:13 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


Shooting An Elephant is no doubt easier than Castrating A Hippo.
posted by Chrysostom


It's easy, really. If it's a blue elephant, you shoot it with a blue elephant gun. If it's a white elephant, well then you hold its trunk shut until it turns blue and then you shoot it with a blue elephant gun.
posted by azpenguin at 10:31 PM on February 18 [6 favorites]


Why then do some few species retain them internally

One reason.

15 cm of skin isn't going to do you much good if your external testicles are the hors d'oeuvre.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:46 PM on February 18


As I understand it, scrotums (scrota?) are a biological feature because mammalian internal body temperature is warmer than ideal for sperm.


I read this fantastic essay that says scientists now think the temperature theory isn't a good explanation. It's more likely that it's about animals that need to gallop or otherwise put severe forces on their lower abdomen not crushing their genitals in the process. It seems like hippos found different solution, though, having internal motility in their balls. Still, read the article, it's amazing.
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:51 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]


"Secret Hippo Cock"

"Surprise Hippo Cock "

what the !
posted by davejay at 11:39 PM on February 18


the animals spend most of their time in a pool of water packed with feces

Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:15 AM on February 19 [4 favorites]


Shooting An Elephant is no doubt easier than Castrating A Hippo.

Masturbating and elephant probably is too, and also more satisfying, at least for the elephant.
posted by homunculus at 12:24 AM on February 19


There, for want of proofreading, goes a very disappointed pachyderm.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:32 AM on February 19 [8 favorites]


My asshole of a friend rick-rolled me with a link to this post and that video by telling me there were puppies to look at on the FP.

I should have known better than to click on something that says "look, cute weiner!", but I was naively believing that a daschund's sweet face awaited me and I cannot resist a daschund.

The lies.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 1:23 AM on February 19 [1 favorite]


Honestly people, it's not hard to locate its testes. The Greeks managed it 2,500 years ago.

The square of the hippo's anus is equal to the sum of the length its two thighs. By knowing this, we can calculate the size and positions of the internal danglers.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:02 AM on February 19 [7 favorites]


The actual journal article is linked in the FPP page; I think I will print it out and share it with the urologist I am working with today. Of course, I found the description of the anesthetic used quite interesting. I was surprised to see, for example, that the IV catheter they used was about the same size as the largest IVs I start in people. On the other hand, I don't put them in the tongue. (Animals that showed sufficient anesthetic depth after anesthesia induction were safely approached and a peripheral venous catheter (Vasofix [1.3 × 33 mm], Braun Medizinprodukte, Maria Enzersdorf, Austria) was placed in a sublingual vein and a constant flow of 1 to 2 mL/kg−1/hour−1 of isotonic saline solution 0.9% (Isotone saline solution 0.9% ad us. vet, Braun Medizinprodukte) was provided)

Too bad this information wasn't out there when Colombia was having to put down Pablo Escobar's hippos.
posted by TedW at 5:16 AM on February 19 [2 favorites]


So the cowboy way - biting them off - is out of the question?

River Oysters???
posted by Lesser Shrew at 7:25 AM on February 19


You'd need to be able to hold your breath to bite them off. Maybe a special nasal oxygen supply could be devised for such diving attempts.
posted by planetesimal at 7:50 AM on February 19


Just home from hippo-watching. Now I get why they are under (poop-filled) water most of the time.
posted by mumimor at 1:22 PM on February 19


Poor self-esteem?
posted by Chrysostom at 1:34 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


It's not the discreteness of the penis that matters, it's the motion of the internal testes.
posted by Skwirl at 4:11 PM on February 19


The square of the hippo's anus is equal to the sum of the length its two thighs. By knowing this, we can calculate the size and positions of the internal danglers.


MuffinMan--Best. Formula. Evar!
posted by BlueHorse at 6:26 PM on February 19


hippocampus joke
posted by stevil at 8:46 AM on February 21


Animal Farm: the behavioural benefits of castration
posted by homunculus at 3:32 PM on March 14


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