Wednesday, May 14, 2008

River Horse

The matriarch hippo at The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo recently died. Which started me thinking about my love of hippos. It started when I was in fifth grade when we sang "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas." (Ear worm warning)

I got a hippopotamus for Christmas -- several actually -- and have been collecting them ever since. Obviously, it wasn't a real hippo. (I also got a Hot Wheels Mustang on my 16th birthday cake instead of a real car. Mom was a laugh riot.)

I have hippos made of crystal, wood, leather, tin, pewter and ceramic. I have stuffed ones and I even have a hippo cookie jar and hippo earrings.

The one to the left is one of my favorites, given to me by my mom and combining my love of hippos with my love for books. (The book he's sitting on is "Hippocrates.")

This one to the right is another favorite. My brother and his wife brought this little guy back from their honeymoon in Florida. He's relaxing on his lounge chair, soaking up some rays.

I'm not sure what this (very small) obsession says about me, but I do love hippos. Whenever there's a documentary on the hippopotamus on Animal Planet or the Discovery Channel, I have to watch. Although I cover my eyes or change the channel when the crocodiles start stalking the babies. Yeah, yeah, I know it's nature but I like my nature with less mauling of cute baby animals, thank you very much.

I also know "Despite the hippos' cute appearance, they are among the most dangerous and aggressive of all mammals. Their canine teeth and incisors grow continuously, with canines reaching 20 inches (51 centimeters) in length. Bulls especially use their canines for fighting. To ward off enemies, a hippo may yawn, scoop water with its mouth, shake its head, rear up, lunge, roar, grunt, chase, and make a loud wheezing sound, all of which are threat displays. A hippo can kill people if it's provoked or feels threatened. But the impressive tusks and canine teeth are used mainly for defense or fighting with other hippos."(Thank you San Diego Zoo.)

I don't worry too much about the ones in my house attacking anyone, but they are kept on their own separate shelf -- just in case.