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July 21, 2007 8:56 PM   Subscribe

It thinks it's people!
posted by thirteenkiller (84 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interesting. Hippos are the number one man-killer in Africa.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:01 PM on July 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


One the one hand, it doesn't do anyone any good to personify animals, especially wild ones, or encourage this kind of unhealthy dependency, but on the other hand, aaaaaaaaaaaaw -- "then there's the afternoon snack with the dogs."
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:05 PM on July 21, 2007


Burhanistan, the narration in the linked video mentions that.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:06 PM on July 21, 2007


Reminds me of Owen the hippo and his adopted tortoise mom.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:06 PM on July 21, 2007


look at that smile
posted by parmanparman at 9:10 PM on July 21, 2007


Those people are a little "cuckoo in the bunkhouse," as my father would say.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:10 PM on July 21, 2007


Oh god, I hate to see stuff like this - it's inevitable followed up a few years later by the animal attacking its caretaker, to everyone's surprise. And then the animal is destroyed, because it's not like you can release it into the wild, right?

So sad.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 9:13 PM on July 21, 2007


Anyone else getting "nude hippo striptease" as the first "related links" link? The internets are a strange, strange place.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:18 PM on July 21, 2007


Hippos don't subsist on marbles?
posted by bardic at 9:20 PM on July 21, 2007 [28 favorites]


look at it all curled up in the blankie!
posted by timory at 9:20 PM on July 21, 2007


Very cute!
And I don't think it's inevitable that the hippo will attack its caretakers later - though they do need to be careful.
posted by mrnutty at 9:22 PM on July 21, 2007


Also, the snuggled-up-in-the-blankie part was almost cute overload.
posted by mrnutty at 9:23 PM on July 21, 2007


I bet that blanket stinks to high heaven.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 9:24 PM on July 21, 2007


solipsophistocracy, I must confess I got this from cuteoverload.
posted by thirteenkiller at 9:24 PM on July 21, 2007


Oops I mean mrnutty
posted by thirteenkiller at 9:25 PM on July 21, 2007


It's seven years old now, he says - is that mature?

* goes to look *
posted by yhbc at 9:26 PM on July 21, 2007


I must confess I got this from cuteoverload.

Well, I guess that explains it!
posted by mrnutty at 9:28 PM on July 21, 2007


awww, that huge hulk in the pink blankie and the pillow. Yeah, it's true, the family is gaga for that whiskered enormity and the hippo will probably chomp somebody's hand off, eat one of the dogs or something nightmarish. But in the meantime...awwww!

In the jungle the mighty jungle, there's Kozo.
posted by nickyskye at 9:29 PM on July 21, 2007


That's remarkable. Perhaps this is a hippo specimen with rare genetic traits that make it non-aggressive and tamable, kind of like the first wolves that were made into dogs. Thus if they can breed it with another tame hippo in time it would be possible to domesticate the hippo.
posted by stbalbach at 9:30 PM on July 21, 2007


Yay! A hippo for every family!
posted by thirteenkiller at 9:31 PM on July 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


yeah, it was the last shot that got the awwwww from me.
posted by empath at 9:31 PM on July 21, 2007


would be possible to domesticate the hippo.

Is hippo meat tasty?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:31 PM on July 21, 2007


"... she spends time with [the wild hippos] but always returns here"

Fast forward to scene of blissed out hippo getting massage and a nice warm blanket after a day of all the food she wants

For the life of me I can't understand what she sees in those humans.
posted by Zinger at 9:31 PM on July 21, 2007


Exactly what FelliniBlank said.

With an extra "but still, awww..." thrown in for good measure.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:34 PM on July 21, 2007


My rudimentary research indicates that female hippos mature between 7 and 12 years of age, with an average of 9, and they usually weigh about 3,000 pounds (thats a ton and a half).

That didn't look like a 3,000 pound hippo wrapped up in the blankies to me, but then, I'm no hippo expert. Maybe it's a pygmy hippo?
posted by yhbc at 9:40 PM on July 21, 2007


How many times do you think I can type "hippo" in this comment? Hippo. Hippo? Hippo!
posted by yhbc at 9:41 PM on July 21, 2007


There's lots of room for him in our two-car garage,
I'd feed him there and wash him there and give him his massage.


(Caution: Sound)
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:46 PM on July 21, 2007


I like when she almost steps on the dog as she's going into the kitchen. There can only be so many near misses before she makes a big ole pile of canine jelly.

Also, knowing that hippos can open doors makes me more than a little uncomfortable. Truly, that is the stuff of nightmares.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 9:50 PM on July 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Those people are nuts. They're going to have to widen their doorways by at least two feet in each direction if Jessica is going to keep coming in and out.

Also, yeah, obligatory two-years-from-now-news-report: "Today in a heartbreaking development, previously tame hippo Jessica went on a killing rampage...", etc. etc.
posted by Avenger at 9:51 PM on July 21, 2007


A lot of "it's going to go nuts and kill them all" comments here, and I don't see the basis for them. "Known to be capable of killing" does not equal "arbitrary killer." Hippos kill people, sure, but who? What sort of person do you think a wild hippo is most likely to encounter? Poachers, and increasingly these days, bushmeat hunters. I wouldn't even be surprised if they were hunted for their relatively small tusks. Whereas killing someone you've bonded with is an entirely different matter. How often do hippos kill their family members? Especially female hippos?
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:01 PM on July 21, 2007


LOLZHUNGRYHIPPO
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:09 PM on July 21, 2007


That is one hungry hungry hippo.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:16 PM on July 21, 2007


Adorable. Like a cross between a pot-bellied pig and an elephant. I did think the hippo going to sleep in the blanket (with those long eyelashes swooping down over the closed eyelids) was a very cute moment.

But don't kid yourself. Most of what we are seeing is what essentially every mammal knows from birth: How to ask it's mother/caregiver for food. Nothing should change unless the hippo opens it's mouth and no food is put inside. That's not to say that anything bad will will happen then, either.

They are indeed wild animals. While we, collectively, have a lot of experience in dealing with other humans you can't say the same for (most) animals. You do not know if the Hippo considers it's caregiver it's mother, a family member, a hippo or just some disposable food-giving object. Despites it's obviously good nature, even the dogs are nervous about being around it.

What I saw didn't anthropomorphisize Jessica so much as make me nervous for those around her. Again, not that anything bad will happen, but as time goes by it's not the animal that will get more complacent.
posted by chemoboy at 10:28 PM on July 21, 2007


In the jungle theme, a mini-derail. Lovely pic of a sleeping leopard.
posted by nickyskye at 10:32 PM on July 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hungry Hungry Hippos
posted by jason's_planet at 10:32 PM on July 21, 2007


Sympathetic Hippo
posted by homunculus at 10:37 PM on July 21, 2007


A lot of "it's going to go nuts and kill them all" comments here, and I don't see the basis for them. "Known to be capable of killing" does not equal "arbitrary killer."

You know how Rascal turns out, don't you? Stuff of nightmares.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:47 PM on July 21, 2007


Ha, suckers. I lived comfortably for almost three years like this in my hippo suit. I am sure this is the same scam.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 11:03 PM on July 21, 2007 [7 favorites]


It thinks it's people too.
posted by LordSludge at 11:05 PM on July 21, 2007


"Hippos defecate copious amounts into the rivers and ponds in which they wallow all day and also partake of a charming ritual described by hippo experts as "dung showering." They blow crap mixed with urine all over the place to humiliate their hippo rivals and inferiors and mark the territory around their watering hole, swishing their little tails to be sure to get plenty of coverage at nose level..."
posted by growabrain at 11:07 PM on July 21, 2007


You know, that sympathetic hippo clip would have been a great moment in tv had it been narated by someone like David Attenborough instead of a generic "Awesome Deadly Animals That Will Deaden You In An Extremely Awesome Fashion" type guy. National Geographic really ought to get a new producer over there or something.
posted by tracert at 11:09 PM on July 21, 2007


What, 35 posts and no Michael Vick joke? Too early?
posted by scheptech at 11:12 PM on July 21, 2007


Jessica is expected to mate and breed

That might be the mistake. One thing to manage to avoid misunderstandings with an animal, but another altogether when parental protective instincts kick in.
posted by dreamsign at 11:14 PM on July 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Time to settle in for a long night of massaging the hippo.
posted by milquetoast at 11:18 PM on July 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


A lot of "it's going to go nuts and kill them all" comments here, and I don't see the basis for them. "Known to be capable of killing" does not equal "arbitrary killer." Hippos kill people, sure, but who?

Just about anyone that invades their large and rather ill-defined territory, I imagine.

Personally, I felt the same way about -- uh, whats his name -- the bear dude. "OMG! He's the bear whisperer!!!111!1! Taht is so cool!!!111!11" And then, well, nature took its course.

Evolution is a bitch, I'm afraid.
posted by Avenger at 11:35 PM on July 21, 2007


Seriously? A hippo? It's so big and out of place! It's like, "Hey, we've adopted a blue whale. His name is Frank and he can open doors but is only allowed in the kitchen." Or a stegosaurus. Or a herd of caribou. Come on in, nature, the eatin's fine and plus there are massages!
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:18 AM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Hippos, in spite of their rather peculiar dentition, are able to chop animals in half. One was seen snapping a 10-foot crocodile in half on the Pafuri. In 1964 another South African Bantu Affairs official, William Steynberg, was taken by surprise as he stood on the banks of the Pafuri. A hippo surged out of the river and bit him but once but that bite was enough to stave in his chest, exposing his heart and lungs. He died after a nightmare car journey through the bush to Messina."
--James Calrk, Man is the Prey
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:19 AM on July 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Clark, rather.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:19 AM on July 22, 2007


If by the bear dude you mean Timothy Treadwell, subject of Herzog's documentary Grizzly Man, then this is a way different situation. That dude was fucking loony and messed around with grizzlies that were in no way calm or accustomed to humans. I was in no way surprised when he got eaten.

From what I saw in this Jessica acted entirely differently than any hippo I've seen before. Not that I'd say it's totally safe or that people should get comfortable around her, but it's a much different situation. Although all sorts of things prove that even animals that are adapted totally to humans can be incredibly dangerous; a large animal doesn't have to mean to hurt someone to cause grievous harm, they're just big and strong and not really used to dealing with squishy humans.
posted by Stunt at 12:38 AM on July 22, 2007


Avenger said:
"Evolution is a bitch, I'm afraid."

What does evolution have to do with any of the rest of your point?

I'm genuinely curious.
posted by batmonkey at 1:05 AM on July 22, 2007


Well, it is evolution that made hippos into murderous behemoths. I mean, they didn't up and decide to be that way last Tuesday or anything.

But I digress. I really don't have a point, though. Just musing aloud about how much nature totally wants to destroy us oh god the humanity run for your lives-hey, is that puppy cuddling with the hippo? OMG!!! CUTEGASM!!! =^,^=
posted by Avenger at 1:34 AM on July 22, 2007


Plus I thought Treadwell was killed by a bear who was moving into the territory the bears who were used to him had vacated because he stayed in the area longer than he usually did.

Not that I'm willing to test that hypothesis, mind you.
posted by Auz at 1:35 AM on July 22, 2007


Tragedy is not inevitable. Who's to say that this family hasn't simply lucked out by stumbling into a previously unidentified imprint/substitution relationship, along the lines of the way we domesticated dogs [substituting for the alpha pack leader] or cats [substituting for the mother via feeding]? Jessica is free to leave at any time, so if instinct takes over after she's fully mature, she can simply choose to not return. I suspect she'll always keep coming around, but I'd expect her offspring to revert. The intriguing thing that strikes me is that hippos appear to rival pigs and whales (relatively close relatives -- coincidence?) in intelligence.
posted by Araucaria at 2:08 AM on July 22, 2007


PS: how much of that "hippo is the most dangerous beast in Africa" is male territorial behavior?
posted by Araucaria at 2:10 AM on July 22, 2007


Interesting. Hippos are the number one man-killer in Africa.

Also the number one heart-breaker. Less than / 3.
posted by oxford blue at 2:17 AM on July 22, 2007


"she's the hippo- hippo- hippo- hippoPOTAMUS!"
posted by lastobelus at 3:40 AM on July 22, 2007


Did anyone else have the "Come to the Zoo" record when they were growing up? and does anyone have mp3s?

The only place I can find it on the intarnets is Rhapsody, which is 'merkin-only :( .
posted by lastobelus at 3:45 AM on July 22, 2007


I've watched hippos doing the nasty thing with their tail. It isn't pretty, and I was having lunch at the time! There's a place near here that does Sunday dinner, and they have hippos. But they know when the hippo comes up by shore and turns his ass towards the shore, close the windows!

I've heard all the stories of the danger of hippos. I've been very close to wild hippos. I've also seen a photo of a bunch of boys riding a hippo, in the water. These guys can be surprisingly quick, on land. And their mouths open wide enough to easily fit a grown human.

Citrusfreak: Thanks! My aunt used to sing that song when I was llittle, assuming it's the same one (broken sound here).
posted by Goofyy at 3:51 AM on July 22, 2007


In 1964 another South African Bantu Affairs official, William Steynberg, was taken by surprise as he stood on the banks of the Pafuri. A hippo surged out of the river and bit him but once but that bite was enough to stave in his chest, exposing his heart and lungs.

Hey, that's not wanton aggression; it was an anti-apartheid protest.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:37 AM on July 22, 2007


Yikes, how can they afford to feed such a 'pet'.
posted by ItsaMario at 4:48 AM on July 22, 2007


Interesting: "their skin secretes a natural sunscreen substance which is red-colored. This secretion is sometimes referred to as "blood sweat," but is neither blood nor sweat. This secretion starts out colorless and turns red-orange within minutes, eventually becoming brown. There are two distinct pigments that have been identified in the secretions, red and orange. The two pigments are highly acidic compounds. They are known as red pigment hipposudoric acid and orange one norhipposudoric acid. The red pigment was found to inhibit the growth of disease-causing bacteria, lending credence to the theory that the secretion has an antibiotic effect. The light absorption of both pigments peaks in the ultraviolet range, creating a sunscreen effect. Hippos all over the world secrete the pigments, so it does not appear that food is the source of the pigments. Instead, the animals may synthesize the pigments from precursors such as the amino acid tyrosine."

Hippopotamus-polka

Pretty amazing that sympatico hippo defending the chomped on gazelle. I kept cringing when the hippo opened its tusked maw, thinking it was going to decapitate the little critter but instead it tried to support the dying baby gazelle's head.

wow, they have a lifespan of about 50 years.

The hippo dance in Fantasia, Dance of the Hours.
posted by nickyskye at 5:56 AM on July 22, 2007


When the hippo opened its mouth and waited for food to be dropped into it, was anyone else reminded of the allegedly tame Alex being fed in the hospital in Clockwork Orange?
posted by Aversion Therapy at 6:12 AM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


We humans are strange. Antrhopomorphising all kinds of animals and caring for them as if they were our children.
posted by jouke at 6:23 AM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


For another we-thought-it-was-tame data point remember the guy in the chimp house whose former pet flipped shit and ate his testicles.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:39 AM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hippos are genetically rather closely related to whales, whales being descended from land mammals something like modern hippos. You can almost see the whale resemblance in that huge snout..
posted by snoktruix at 7:37 AM on July 22, 2007


I found very little of this cute. I found rather much of it incredibly creepy.

Hippos scare me, and I feel entirely justified in this.
posted by Arturus at 8:16 AM on July 22, 2007


Hippos are the number one man-killer in Africa. Jessica can open doors. Jessica will breed. Okay, now I'm scared.
posted by effwerd at 8:16 AM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I swear we've seen this before, or something very similar, though I can't find it. I did find a gem from stavrigin, at least.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:23 AM on July 22, 2007


Why do hippos prefer to kill men?
posted by found missing at 8:58 AM on July 22, 2007


Maybe we taste like bacon?
posted by namespan at 9:50 AM on July 22, 2007


Hippos are the number one man-killer in Africa.

I rather suspect men are the number one man-killer in Africa.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:52 AM on July 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Nope, mosquitos.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:53 AM on July 22, 2007


They lure you in with those cute little twirly ears. Then they bite you in half just for fun.
posted by found missing at 10:04 AM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


> We humans are strange. Antrhopomorphising all kinds of animals and caring for them as if they were our children.

It's symbiotic. Animals give us something we often can't get from people, that animal bond unsullied by human complexities. The people in the video don't seem to understand there is risk and complications that will probably come later, but I can see why they're captivated by this funny waddling lump of a creature.

That big mouth open for food, reaching over the kitchen counter. Kind of an abomination, really. Wild animals belong in nature. Of course, we keep taking that away from them, one way and another. The whole human world is a strange thing.
posted by Listener at 10:50 AM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


When the hippo opened its mouth and waited for food to be dropped into it, was anyone else reminded of the allegedly tame Alex being fed in the hospital in Clockwork Orange?

Oh yeah. Tried googling around for a pic of McDowell with his mouth open, gave up and came back here and saw that. So yeah, totally.
posted by trondant at 11:42 AM on July 22, 2007


you're lucky if they only use their mouth.
posted by Busithoth at 11:57 AM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


On the whole "will eventually go on a rampage" bit, I was reading recently that big cats (ie tigers, et al) that are used in films and on stage need to be handled very carefully, even when raised by hand and apparently tame.

Essentially, it works like this: if you make the mistake of letting any "tame" big cat know that it is more powerful than a human, it's game over; once they have that knowledge (only takes a couple of times knocking a human being over, say) they're no longer tame.

The story in the book I was reading (non-fiction, but can't remember the name) mentioned a trainer's story wherein an adult "tame" big cat lived peacefully on a farm with people and other animals, until one day a young girl visitor got knocked over as the big cat walked by. The cat didn't attack the girl, but that same night it went out and slaughtered a bunch of farm animals that it had been peacefully co-existing with all its life, and that was the end of "tame".

So it makes me wonder if there's a similar thing going on here, wherein hippo will wake up one day and have an experience that makes him/her realize "I can snap you in two!"
posted by davejay at 3:07 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm a bit late to this thread, but I found it rather strange that Jessica likes sweet coffee. How on earth did they stumble upon that? And giving caffeine to a hippo? Twice a day? Well, I wouldn't do that if I were them.

Still cute as hell, though.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 5:01 PM on July 22, 2007


Y'know... I very literally just watched an episode of "Dirty Jobs" on the Discovery Channel this morning that was all about cleaning up after hippos. Their poop looked just like straw that had been sitting in water, really. Gotta say Jessica does look a lot smaller than the 3000 pounders on that show, but I agree... one of those dogs is going to be a pancake pretty soon.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:05 PM on July 22, 2007


I wonder if we can get Roy Horn (Sigfield & Roy) to give us the inside scope on big cat attacks...
posted by five fresh fish at 6:21 PM on July 22, 2007


So it makes me wonder if there's a similar thing going on here, wherein hippo will wake up one day and have an experience that makes him/her realize "I can snap you in two!"

It'll start with a dog being smooshed or bit. Then snip!, snap!, snup! Jessica's ett you up!
posted by five fresh fish at 6:23 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Their poop looked just like straw that had been sitting in water, really.

I bet it doesn't *smell* like straw...
posted by LordSludge at 6:42 AM on July 23, 2007


Now, I'm not saying I'd want to hang around with a hippo, but it seems there is a misconception as to why hippos are killers. They're not hunters, they're very large and powerful herbivores. They don't hunt men, they attack men when they feel that they are threatened. In which case, yes, I'd be extremely worried about letting that hippo breed.

Or letting me anywhere near it, in case I ran up behind when it was tucked up in its blanket and pumped its tail while a friend threw melons at its face. That might set it off too.

And it would probably do the spraying thing before it killed everyone. Not a dignified way to go.
posted by howfar at 10:44 AM on July 23, 2007


For another we-thought-it-was-tame data point remember the guy in the chimp house whose former pet flipped shit and ate his testicles.

That's not actually what happened; the guy was visiting his pet, and some other chimpanzees escaped their cage and tore his testicals off—also his fingers, his toes, and most of his face—while his pet looked on in horror from his cage.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:11 AM on July 23, 2007


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