Saturday, November 8, 2008

Adorable baby pygmy hippopotamus; don't be fooled

It IS true that the Taronga Zoo in Sydney's new baby pygmy hippopotamus is adorable. It is ALSO true that pygmy hippopotamuses are generally docile creatures that do well in captivity.

DO NOT BELIEVE YOU ARE SAFE. If you are unlucky enough to encounter a real hippopotamus and mistake it for a pygmy, you are as good as dead. Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter, once said that a sequence he filmed with hippos was the most dangerous he'd ever done. Steve Irwin! If that's not enough to convince you to stay away, you should consider that "[t]o mark territory, hippos spin their tails while defecating to distribute their excrement over the greatest possible area."

Finally, in the grand tradition of Renaissance Europeans completely making shit up about "the Orient", here is a bizarre painting of humans and dogs fighting a hippo fighting a crocodile, or something, I don't even know. By Peter Paul Rubens (click to make it bigger):

The Dutch always do it weirder.

No comments: