Hippo + watermelon = big crunch

Courtesy of reader blue, we have a hippo, apparently in Japan, who seems to be regularly fed a round watermelon in front of tourists. He disposes of it in a few seconds—rind and all.  Check the dentition that allows him to do that!

I’m not a fan of zoos, especially not when they keep large, free-ranging animals. But if they allow zoos to exist, at least give the prisoners some novelty—like this.


  1. Merilee
    Posted August 15, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    He seems to be missing one of his lower “canines.”

  2. tomh
    Posted August 15, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    “I’m not a fan of zoos”

    I agree, I’ve hated zoos since I was a child, sixty years ago. I still remember how a gorilla looked at me, the saddest eyes I’ve ever seen.

    • Posted August 15, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Me too. Seeing polar bears anxiously pacing back and forth drives me crazy too.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 15, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Hey, don’t even remove the seeds? Probably not necessary.

    • Merilee
      Posted August 15, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Maybe they can learn to spit them out at annoying visitors…

      • JohnnieCanuck
        Posted August 15, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        One of my memorable childhood experiences at a zoo involved a large crowd standing out in front of the lion’s cage. I don’t recall what attracted so many people in the first place but the male soon dispersed the homo saps with a very impressive act of micturation.

        Memorable too for those who got sprayed, I should think.

        • Merilee
          Posted August 15, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

          Lol- probably even nastier than housecat pee.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted August 15, 2016 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        … not necessarily spitting them through the mouth.
        This is a hippo we’re talking about.

  4. Kevin
    Posted August 15, 2016 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I used to think that polar bears were probably the best at one on one competition against any animal, but I think hippos might actually give them a serious run for the money.

    • Posted August 15, 2016 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      At least if they are attacked by a pack of wild rolling watermelons!

      Herbivores never seem too nasty to me, although I am sure they can kill you in the water or protecting their young.

      • ploubere
        Posted August 15, 2016 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        Apparently hippos are responsible for killing more humans than any other large animal in Africa.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted August 15, 2016 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          I’ve had that warning too.

        • Posted August 15, 2016 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

          One of my colleagues, while visiting South Africa, was bitten quite seriously in the leg by a hippo that attacked the boat he was in.

          • Michael Day
            Posted August 16, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink

            I volunteered at a zoo in Norfolk, VA way back when (1990’s), and was allowed to feed the hippo a couple of times (we’d give it sections off of a hay bale). I was told that hippos, even though they look like they are lumbering along when on land, can pivot rapidly on their hind legs. You think you’re approaching a big, slow beast from the side, and then next thing you know they’ve whirled around and then you’ve got that mouth to deal with.

      • merilee
        Posted August 15, 2016 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        I understand that hippos are very dangerous, cute as they are. (Mud, mud glorious mud)

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted August 15, 2016 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

          “Nothing quite like it
          For cooling the blood …”
          [Next …]

          • merilee
            Posted August 15, 2016 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

            My favorite lines are
            “His inamorata
            adjusted her garter”

            which bring up visions of Disney’s hippo in tutu from Fantasia.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted August 16, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

              “And sang her this sweet serenade (in Russian),
              гланс, гланс …”
              (And I never could make out the rest of Swann’s soliloquy) Which reminds me that I should be doing my German.

              • merilee
                Posted August 16, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

                That Russian version was a hoot!

                I learned just enough Russian to take the subway in Moscow. Mud never entered into it…

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted August 19, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

                Still trying to pick up enough Russian to really work with.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 15, 2016 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        Large herbivores are, notoriously, much nastier and more dangerous than large carnivores. They (herbivores), like e.g. buffalo, tend to be bad-tempered.

        Large carnivores, so long as they’re not hungry, will ignore you.

        Or so I’ve read.


        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted August 16, 2016 at 6:45 am | Permalink

          Large carnivores, so long as they’re not hungry, will ignore you. Or so I’ve read.

          Could make a good epitaph.

        • Filippo
          Posted August 16, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          I confess to some cathartic satisfaction in watching hippos manhandle crocs.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 15, 2016 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      My money would be on the hippo. They have such thick skin and fat underneath that, I’m not sure a bear could damage them very easily. But I’m not sure what animal could withstand a hippo bite. Maybe an elephant?


  5. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted August 15, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink


    Thanks, Blue!

    • bluemaas
      Posted August 15, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      You are welcome, Dr Sturtevant.

      Who dudn’t just love* watermelon ? !


      *I, too, loathe seeing wildlives determinedly un – wilded inside zoos.

      Sort of relatedly re legal but utterly unwarranted activities and as a former labor & delivery / nursery and postpartum nurse: over this very past weekend I have had the pleasure of meeting for my first time a newly minted obstetrician physician (a high school friend of the bridegroom) who, when someone else asked him how he scheduled and then handled “elective” caesarean section surgeries, answered his questioner back with thus, “I do not have to handle them because I refuse — ever — to schedule them. I do not believe in doing them. At all.”

      For me … … heartening !

      • merilee
        Posted August 15, 2016 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        I don’t love watermelon, but then I guess I’m weird on this count. Do love hippos, though.

  6. teacupoftheapocalypse
    Posted August 15, 2016 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Quite a treat for the hippo, as watermelons are Japan’s most prized fruit and very expensive. In-season, one would be lucky to find one retail for less than $10, and at least three times that out of season.

    The season’s first black watermelon was recently auctioned for the best part of $5,000.

    Those fed to the lucky hippo were probably regarded as second-rate, in some small way, as the Japanese like their fruit to be as perfect as possible, in both flavour and appearance.

  7. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 15, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Dentition? He ain’t using any teeth, he’s just crushing them.

    Messy eater, too.

    Seriously, I’d sooner argue with a crocodile.


    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted August 16, 2016 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      Another epitaph?

  8. Geoffrey Howe
    Posted August 15, 2016 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    While some animals definitely shouldn’t be in zoos, I wonder how many, if they fully understood the situation, prefer it.

    Always enough to eat, protection from any kind of predators and health care.

    Animals can’t really give consent, obviously, but if they could, and were intelligent enough to understand health care (the ‘no predators and free food’ I think they’ve already got), I do wonder how many would choose it.

    I’d bet that fewer ‘higher on the food’ chain animals would go for it than more regularly prey species. Hippos and tigers are more likely to die of age or disease than a rabbit, for example. They might see the health care as living a crappy life longer.

    But for the rabbit, not feeling a sense of fear and worry every time it’s outside of it’s burrow would, ironically, mean that it’s cage would be a larger world, since their ‘safe’ world is now much larger than before.

    • Diane G.
      Posted August 16, 2016 at 1:25 am | Permalink

      I agree that there’s some gray area here. Especially now that many zoos in the first world understand far better how to attend to the animals’ social, environmental, and activity needs. The closest zoo to us has an engrossing African veldt exhibit, encompassing several acres (such that some of the animals are not always in sight), housing giraffe, zebra, ostrich, storks and a handful of antelope species. It also has a splendid walk-in aviary with a very high ceiling and gorgeous plantings. And as is the case in most modern zoos these days there’s an abundance of interesting & educational signage throughout the campus and frequent talks and demonstrations at various exhibits.

      (Haven’t really cared to go there since the kids grew up though–so many doofuses amongst the gawking species.)

      I think there still is something to be said for exposing the general public to real wildlife in natural settings and teaching relevant facts about the species, lessons that frequently cover broader issues as well such as habitat loss in the wild, poaching, etc. There obviously needs to be stringent oversight, from both the zoological organizations themselves AND the knowledgeable public.

  9. Filippo
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    One of my more enjoyable memories of the zoo was watching a most irritated male alpha chimp charge and spit at a gaggle of ululating human primates on the other side of the fence. I couldn’t blame him. I guess he had no poo at the moment to fling. I confess that I was disappointed not to get to see someone get so hit.

  10. Pamela Turner
    Posted August 17, 2016 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    The keeper is saying, “I’m giving Momo a watermelon.” “Momo” means “peach” and must be the hippo’s name.

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