Readers’ wildlife photographs

May 23, 2015 • 7:30 am

Today we have . . . . a passel of hippos (Hippopotamus amphibius, and remember that name). I’ve never seen so many! These photos are from reader Bob Lundgren:

The first four photos are of the Retima hippo pool in Serengeti National Park. It’s well populated as you can see in the first photo and typical of the several pools we saw. These pools are easily found since you can tell they are there long before you see them, particularly if you are down wind. I consider my life complete now that I’ve seen a hippo deposit a mass of semi liquid green poop on the head of his neighbor in the pool. The neighbor just yawned.


The second photo is a closeup of some hippos relaxing.


The third photo shows some impressive incisors. Wouldn’t want to cross paths with this guy. According to our guide you never want to find yourself in the bush between a hippo and his pool.


The fourth photo shows two hippos engaging in a mouthing behavior that was prevalent throughout the pool. I assume it’s some sort of ritualized dominance thing, but perhaps a reader knows. [JAC: the males slash each other with their teeth when dueling, and I have a pair of hippo boots—from legal culls to control overpopulation—in which the hide is deeply scarred from this kind of sparring.]


The fifth photo is a sunrise photo looking out across the Serengeti with a hippo heading back to a pool after a night of grazing.



And, of course, we can find a video of a hippo pooping on another hippo’s face in a pool. EVERYTHING is on YouTube. The defecatory event occurs about 1:25, and was filmed in Ngorongoro, Tanzania:

Hippos are famous for spraying their poop widely, and wagging their tails when they do so. I’m not sure why they do this; perhaps it’s a territory-marking behavior.  Perhaps some reader can enlighten us, but here’s another video of the behavior:

19 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photographs

  1. The best tribute to the Hippo is of course The Hippopotamus Song by Flanders & Swann


  2. Scooped! I have been preparing some hippo photographs for WEIT in the last couple of days. These are pretty good, though.

  3. “EVERYTHING is on YouTube.”

    I thought you could find everything on WEIT 🙂

    Re the poop-spraying, it surely can’t be territory-marking, considering the concentration of hippos in that pool.

  4. Impressive hippos! Can’t imagine why any animal would choose to tangle with them.

    Warning – dental school anatomy professor pedant mode: the curved teeth are canines, and the more medial straight teeth jutting anteriorly (under the hippo’s tongue in the third photo, and clearly visible for the hippo on the right in the fourth photo) are incisors.

    1. Ahh. Thanks for the tooth clarification. Lots of info on the internet and in the guide books get that wrong, too.

  5. We were there (Serengeti and Retima) in 2012 and loved it. But… you do not want to stand downwind from a hippo pool! For some strange reason, there is even a picnic spot by the Retima Pool. Nice pix.

    1. Yes. I remember the picnic area. We didn’t eat there. My wife appreciated the picnic areas wherever they were, however, since most picnic areas had decent toilets. It’s much more inconvenient for women to “check the tire pressure” than for us guys.

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