Hippos spend most of the day wallowing about and grunting in the river, leaving the water at dusk to graze on land through the night. I have rarely been lucky to capture decent photos of hippos out of the water because light at that time of day is poor and I am usually bobbing about on a boat, so it is difficult to keep a steady hand. A while back I was lucky and managed to get a few decent shots, which I have shared in my Hippo Series. You can see them here, here and here.
They may look cute and cuddly but in reality hippos are not your friend.
Being territorial animals, hippos don’t like it when people invade their personal space, and like all mothers, they are also fiercely protective of their young. So woe betide anyone who looks like they might be a threat to their wrinkly offspring. We always stay far away from hippos and try not to come between them and the land (or adults and their babies).
It is reputed that hippos have caused the deaths of more humans in Africa than any other large wild animal and most of their victims have been subsistence fishermen in makoros (a canoe-type boat made from a hollowed out tree trunk). They don’t actually eat people, but they do bite – their teeth are very long. Usually the hippo overturns the boat, and since the majority of the fishermen are unable to swim, many of the deaths are through drowning. Occasionally people have been unfortunate to come across a hippo on land and if they were unable to outrun the hippo (hippos can run 23Km/h) the result is always violent and often results in death.