Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pods of Hippopotami dancing through my head

I always liked hippos. Maybe its the cute name, Hippo or hippopotamus.
Or that they have little tiny ears. Or that there are dancing hippos in the movie Fantasia (they do ballet) or that I have read a plethura of children's book featuring cute, friendly, gray hippos with names like Henrietta the Hippo or Harry the Hippo. But apparently my Hippo friends are not so wonderfully cuddly and likable after all.

My friends returned safely from Zambia with stories of the wonderful things the Lord is doing there. I was encouraged and captivated by all their stories. Maybe I will relay some of them here. But today. Today I am thinking about hippos. I had no idea they were so deadly and territorial and FAST.

So while they were in Zambia they were blessed to be able to take a few safari trips. One that Brian and Heidi went on was a 3 hour river boat tour. Before they left it was all worries about lions, bugs, maybe even crocodiles but apparently it should have been hippos. So a few interesting facts I have recently learned about hippos that just keep bouncing around in my head:
(these are from Heidi and Brian and Kareem and Ashley and Matt but also supplemented by my own personal research over the past few days online)

A group of hippos is called a pod
their ears and eyes and little nose holes are all placed on the tippy top of their head so they can be underwater but poke those holes just out of the water and breathe, see and hear.

A hippo has what is called "specific gravity". This means they have a special body density that allows them to sink in water. This also allows them to enter the water and walk along the BOTTOM of the river!!!!! (God is amazing, creative, unique, awesome!!!!)
They can stay submerged for 5 to 6 minutes.

They also can run along the bottom of the river.
On land a hippo can outrun an Olympic althlete, they top 35 miles and hour - but only for a few hundred meters.
The closest relative to a hippo is not an elephant or rhino but a whale and porpoise.
Their bodies secrete a natural sunscreen to protect them from the sun, its red.
Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter and psycho (may he rest in peace) was quoted as saying that a five minute river crossing of hippo infested water was the most dangerous and scary thing he ever did!!!!

So anyway...Brian and Heidi were on this river boat tour and hippos were on the shore and then sent out sentry hippos. Hippos are known to attack human and boats because they are soo territorial, especially in water. They submerge and then go under the boat and flip it and their enormous jaws snap you like twig. They dont eat you, they are happy herbivores. They just kill you. SO hippos were in the water and they were terrified. and you cant see them because they are under water just temporarily surfacing to check out their small boat and their location.I cannot even imagine being in that situation. Apparently their tour guide was new and he seemed amused by all of this. I am not sure I would have not succumbed to heart failure.

They lived to tell the story so Praise God there.
Hippos own crocodiles also.
and a hippo will run you over to get to water. It will not divert its route to avoid you.
They are the number one animal responsible for deaths in Africa.
Yes, hippos.

(I still think they are cute though)


Aaron said...

Just wanted to let you know Sarah I am back homie!

Anonymous said...

Took me time to read the whole article, the article is great but the comments bring more brainstorm ideas, thanks.

- Johnson