The Congregation

Hippos are amazing. They make extraordinary noises. Heavy long distance grunts and hollers. They secrete sunscreen. They spray feces with their paddle-like tails. They graze in fields at night. They run much faster than you. They are the most dangerous animals in Africa. Yup, see those teeth. If you trouble them they’ll have no compunction about disemboweling you on their way back to the water. Respect!

This river in the Serengeti is a Hippo hotspot. They gather in the eddies and pass the daylight hours in large groups.

The roiling waters aren’t always caused by the current. The Hippos sometimes snap out of their sedate reverie and swirl around furiously as they address their space issues.

A friendly warning is issued to a younger hippo who strayed too close.

With order reestablished, a Hippo feels comfortable cooling his exposed back and momentarily sunning his pallid feet.

A mother feels comfortable enough to encourage her baby to climb on the back of a submerged neighbor.

Farther out, a loner settles into the current and stands firm while the water races by.

A Red-billed Oxpecker gets a free ride on its roaming buffet. They can easily logroll a Hippo if it rolls onto its back, sprinting onto any available surface above water.

Yup, they certainly are fierce. I was glad to be on ledge near the pool with good visibility in all directions.

There you have it. Hippos from front to back. See you tomorrow folks.

6 responses

  1. These are amazing hippo photos! Thanks for posting them for others to see.

    February 21, 2012 at 6:33 am

  2. Carin Lyons

    My favorite shot is the one with the feet in the air! But they are all so good. Thanks for another great post Walter!

    February 21, 2012 at 6:34 am

  3. adrianduque89

    These photos are amazing!

    February 21, 2012 at 10:54 am

  4. Wonderful to see so many non-standard shots of these creatures. I was especially taken by the feet which I haven’t seen before – certainly not in a pose like this. Hippo and bird going on as my desktop picture.

    February 21, 2012 at 7:37 pm

  5. ml

    Fascinating, scary and funny (feet)! Respect!

    February 22, 2012 at 7:22 am

  6. Jambo, Back in the day, I was the only one that slept in the truck, the others slept by the river exposed to hippos and chloriquine-resistant mosquitoes and everything else. Once the Kenyan Serengeti guards told us they will not be there to protect us if we continued to sleep outside. The spectacle was/is irresistible. But thank you for reaffirming a healthy respect for nature. She can be a harsh mother – and we are not in a Lion King/anthropomorphic movie. Be careful. I am indebted to you for sharing these pics – flooding me with memories and a cellular response to the grandeur of our cradle.

    February 27, 2012 at 10:20 am

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