Ode to Hippopotamus

In which I take a break from my October mission of posting Halloweeny Horrors to celebrate a magnificent and comical Beast.


Behold Hippopotamus! via wikipedia.com

O, Hippopotamus! O, River Horse!

For that is what the Ancient Greeks in their wisdom called you!

Hippos + Potamos = Your Name.

You are almost, but not quite, heaviest of all land mammals.

Only Elephant beats you!

Though you weigh thousands of pounds,

You swim and dive well.

And can remain under water for five minutes.

Yet you gallop on land with surprising speed!

Thus do you earn your title.

O, River Horse! O, Hippopotamus!

An oily, red substance called “blood sweat” flows through your pores and covers your skin when you become excited.

And you mark territory by spinning your tail while defecating.

You are so cute!

When you rise from your bog you spout water much as Whale does.

And your enormous mouth opens up to four feet wide,

Revealing incisors which grow to over one foot long,

These you use not to eat,

Nay! But for combat!

How aggressively you kill or displace nasty Crocodile from your riparian habitat.

So feisty you are!

Hippo, an underrated mammal are you.

Now, Hippopotamus…

Beware the Hunter!

Know that you are easily shot from land.

Hide well in water, with only your ears and eyes showing.

And take courage in how easily you upset the boats of those who dare attack you.

It is said that your rough, spongy skin, inches thick, is virtually bullet-proof,

That the Hunter must hit you in the brain to bring you down.

River Horse, you are practically Zombie!

So be strong, Hippopotamus!

Be you.

hippo final

image via the 1962 World Book Encyclopedia on my bookshelf, which I fear may contain many incorrect statements about Hippopotamus




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19 thoughts on “Ode to Hippopotamus

  1. You may have heard the story of a captive Hippo that fell out of a truck on the highway in Manitoba a few years back? In this alleged country great indignity is done them, like insipid telephone adverts. Thank you Walt, for such a kindly tribute to my spirit animal, Hippo.


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