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Hippo Keeps Crocs From Dead Juvenile

The sequence of pictures below was taken on the banks of the Chobe River in northern Botswana.

We were on a Botswana camping safari and, after visiting the Okavango Delta area in Moremi National Park, were spending some time in Chobe National Park.

We'd pulled up next to the river to watch a pod of hippos. Lying partly-submerged near the water's edge was the body of what we, at first, thought was a baby elephant. Only later did we realise it was the body of a young hippo.

Two crocodiles were investigating (below):

crocodiles investigating dead hippo juvenile

Then two hippos approached from deeper water (below):

hippos approaching

The crocodiles slipped away and, to our amazement, the one hippo, standing in the shallow water, began trying to move the body with its open jaws (below):

hippo trying to move body

It looked like the hippo was either trying to push the body towards the bank or maybe help it back on its feet (below):

picture of hippo nudging dead juvenile

Then, as the hippo took a break from its exertions, sinking its body deeper into the water, one of the crocs resurfaced (below):

crocodile and hippo

At this point the hippo, still partly submerged, seemed to give the body another push, spooking the croc which again backed off, jaws in the air (below):

hippo, crocodile and dead juvenile

The hippo then stood up once more, again trying to move the body with its open jaws (below):

picture of hippo trying to move carcass

This continued for a while longer, then we had to leave, uncertain as to the final outcome.

Although I am making assumptions in describing what we saw, the overriding impression was that the hippo was protecting one of its own from the crocodiles.

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