Hippos (Hippopotamus amphibius)
are usually placid, occasionally vicious and often very curious. One famously inquisitive and innocently friendly animal was a hippo called Hubert which wandered around the South African Cape and Natal provinces from late 1928 until early 1930, peeping into doorways, trampling gardens, blocking roads and, on one occasion, stopping a train by lying on the tracks. He was eventually shot by an irate farmer whereupon he was discovered to be a female. There is little chance of a similar occurance now as the hippo population has been drastically reduced everywhere except in the Nile valley in East Africa. The hippo, despite its bulk, is a graceful swimmer, can run faster than a man and is surprisingly agile when clambering up the rocky precipices beside rivers. When angry it is fearsome and, with its huge canine teeth, is capable of chomping through crocodiles, boats and people.