Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Licking Crocodiles

Hmm. Hadn't realized it'd been a week since I posted last, due to a combination of being both busy and unfocused. A series of short posts on miscellaneous topics shd follow, but before I forget here's a quick one that has to rank as perhaps the weirdest story I've come across lately.* Before finding this on the Huffington Green site I hadn't been aware that hippos like to lick crocodiles, and sometimes nibble their scales. Perhaps they just have a mossy flavor hippopotami enjoy, like cats love found water. In any case, it's not just the supreme confidence of the hippos wading into a group of swarming crocodiles who are in the middle of tearing apart and devouring their latest prey but the passivity of the crocs -- either they know full well that one wrong move gets them stomped flat or they genuinely don't much mind (cf. their famous habit of allowing small birds to forage among their teeth). Their forbearance towards a baby hippo suggests the latter.
Here's the link:


And, since weird hippo stories don't come up every day (though perhaps they shd, given documentaries like the one of the pet hippo who insisted on sleeping on her owners' bed, much to their dismay), I'd recommend anyone who likes a quirky, touching story to check out the history of Owen & Mzee -- the former being an orphaned baby hippo, apparently the only survivor of his herd from the 2004 tsunami, and the latter the giant turtle the animal rescue people put him in the pen with. Like all babies do, little Owen quickly bonded with the old (130-years) reptile. There's a great little children's book released about a year or so later that tells the story, but here's a link to many photos of the two together, this being a case where a good picture is worth a thousand words.


--John R.

*and much more cheerful than the story of the man who was shot four times by police for whittling

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