I love Hippos. I have for as long as I can remember. We have a picture of Little Me in front of the Hippo habitat at the zoo. Hippos are a bit of a strange animal for a little girl to like. They’re not furry and they don’t really say “Please cuddle me!” But what can you do, they have been on my list of favourite animals since a very young age. Other little girls may have loved horses; I loved the River Horse. *Insert Side thought here.* This love of Hippos may have started with a record I had as a little girl called “There’s a Hippo in my tub” *End side thought*
Over the years, I have acquired various Hippo trinkets. I have a pink Hippo in a tutu, a stuffed green Christmas Hippo, a small stuffed pink Hippo with hearts for nostrils. I have a beautiful ebony Hippo from Uganda and a realistic looking Hippo figurine from my Grandmother. I love the fact that Abby on NCIS has a Hippo named Bert. I get supremely annoyed when stamps or figurines that claim to be Hippos have snouts that resemble crocodiles. Yep. I think Hippos are adorable.
With the stage set, you can now appreciate my excitement over the conversation I had with a Hippo a couple weeks ago. No, the Hippo was not stuffed or a figurine. Yes, he was talking to me! (I know you were wondering, don’t pretend you weren’t!) Okay, so we didn’t really have a “conversation” per se. Mostly it was one-sided. But I was the only one there and he was definitely popping up and looking at me. And he went back to his nap under the water when I walked away. But look at me getting ahead of myself.
A couple of weeks ago my mom, cousin and I were at the Toronto Zoo. We did so much walking but we saw almost all of the sections. The only “stop” on the around the world zoo tour that we didn’t visit this time was the Indo-Malaya section because we just didn’t have the time or the energy left at the end of the day. We saw so many of my favourite animals, including a snowy owl and arctic wolves. I enjoy seeing so many different types of animals, but being a lifelong Hippo fan, seeing the Hippos is always one of the highlights.
When we entered the African rainforest pavilion I was looking forward to seeing the Lemurs. *Insert side note here* I started liking Lemurs when I was a bit older due to the television show Zaboomafoo. Oh Zaboo you were so adorable. *End side note* I was also looking forward to getting to the other side of the pavilion because I knew that was where the Hippos lived. I always forget that the pygmy hippos live inside the pavilion. And on this zoo adventure the pygmy hippos, especially one in particular, were one of the main highlights.
When the exhibit with the first pygmy hippo was crowded, I wandered away to look at other exhibits (I don’t really like having to fight for space if I can help it.) I watched the Lemurs for a bit and then I found him. He had a bit of a mustache (which is why I am referring to him as *he*), and he was relaxing in his little pond when we had our little chat. When I first approached, he was chilling under the water in his hippo pond and I figured that was all I would see of him. Then he popped his head up over the water and started moving around a bit! I was chatting with him a bit (yes, if you’d walked by you would have heard a strange gal chatting out loud with a hippo), and he was looking back with his cute hippo face. After a bit my mom and cousin found me and it was time to move on (you really can’t stay and chat with a hippo all day). *Megra12 note: Here comes the exciting bit! Pay attention!* As I was turning round the corner I said, “goodbye hippo friend!” and he turned and looked at me opened up his mouth to say goodbye and then popped back under the water for the rest of his nap!
See! I told you. That Pygmy Hippo and me connected! It was super duper exciting and that has probably been the main zoo story I’ve told to people over the past couple weeks.
What’s your favourite animal? What is it that makes you love them? Let me know in the comments.
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