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Heroic Hippo Saves Gnu From Crocodile

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Heroic Hippo Saves Gnu From Crocodile

A heroic hippo? Who knew hippos had it in them. We have all heard of heroic dogs rescuing people, dolphins warding off sharks to protect swimmers, and cats adopting and nursing orphaned rabbits, but a heroic hippo?  If it was not for the video footage by tourist Vadim Onishchenko that shows a hippo clearly coming to the rescue of a gnu being attacked by a crocodile in Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya, it might be hard to believe.

After all, hippos are commonly perceived as the most dangerous animal in Africa, as they are responsible for more human deaths than any other big animal on the continent. They are infamous for being extremely territorial and aggressive. Their massive jaws and teeth are excellent crushers, and they do not hesitate to use them to deliver whatever point they want to make. Humans and other animals in the know, even toothy crocs, give hippos a wide berth, despite the fact that hippos are vegetarians.

In this incredible footage (see page two), a crocodile has caught a hapless gnu (also called a wildebeest) crossing a river. A few hippos observing the scene quickly make their way over to the struggling duo and one hippo aggressively scares off the crocodile. That scenario alone would be amazing footage, but the scene continues to unfold with the hippo escorting and nudging the scared witless gnu back to the shore. In one image, the hippo even seems to have a big smile on his face as he watches his rescued gnu step safely onto the river bank.

Hippos and crocs share the same waterways, so they spend both their days and nights in close vicinity with each other – undoubtedly with caution. One would think that the crocodile would be the dominant animal, but interestingly it is usually the hippos that dominate. There are countless instances where hippos have chased crocs off a shoreline or even out of a waterway, especially when a hippo calf is present, and there are numerous recorded instances of a hippo killing a crocodile.

As gregarious herd animals, the hippo is much more aware of social relationships and circumstances than we likely give them credit. Hippo mothers (cows) and calves share a very strong bond, with the mother licking and nuzzling her babe(s) on a regular basis. The mother also communicates with her offspring with nudges and gentle biting. A cow may have up to four youngsters following her. Perhaps the hippo in this story was not a he but a she, who had recently lost one of her babes to a crocodile. That could readily explain this hippo’s protective behavior. Onishchenko’s comment on the video clip when interviewed by MailOnline was exactly that: “I think the hippo’s parental instincts took over.”

What do you think? Was this a true act of interspecies compassion or a mother hippo just naturally reacting to a vulnerable animal in harm’s way?

Either way, Team Mammal comes out on top and that cold-blooded crocodile had to go elsewhere to find his next meal.

Click on the next page to watch Onishchenko’s footage.


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Cherise Udell

Cherise Udell is a mom, clean air advocate, anthropologist and feline aficionado with the nomadic habit of taking spontaneous sojourns to unusual destinations. Before her adventures in motherhood, she was an intrepid Amazon jungle guide equipped with a pair of sturdy wellingtons and a 24-inch machete, as well as a volunteer at a rainforest animal rescue center.


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2:03AM PST on Feb 22, 2015

thanks for sharing :)

4:23AM PDT on Apr 21, 2014

Lovely to see that kind of interaction between species..

3:13PM PDT on Mar 29, 2014

And so - we want that poor crocodile to just STARVE TO DEATH?
What makes crocodiles "evil" and the "enemy"? They're "Satan", now???

Oh well, this is just to be taken lightly - it IS unusual and worth recording -
and, still in a light vein, us WARM-BLOODED MAMMALS have to stick up for each other!!!

8:24PM PDT on Mar 23, 2014

Thank you!

4:36PM PDT on Mar 23, 2014

Hippos also attack ppl. more than any other animal. Very aggressive..

11:33AM PDT on Mar 22, 2014

Beautiful!! Now, do we learn from that??

11:32AM PDT on Mar 22, 2014

Absolutely beautiful. Now do we learn from that????

7:06PM PDT on Mar 21, 2014

Three cheers for that heroic hippo. The gnu did look exhausted....and maybe injured, but the hippo was still a hero for his efforts.

2:20PM PDT on Mar 20, 2014

Thank you.

12:01PM PDT on Mar 20, 2014

Regarding the poll "intersecies compassion vs. motherlove", regardless, we need more women in office, and for mothers to train their sons (especially 1st borns) to overcome unrestrained self-nature. This would help prevent predatory social laws and prdtry capitalism.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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