Watch this baby hippo toy with a sleepy croc and get away with it

2015-10-09 12:05
(File, iStock)

(File, iStock)

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Harare - Like all small boys, George the hippo loves teasing his friend. There's just one thing: his friend is a crocodile.

An amusing video has emerged of 9-month-old George chomping and chewing at a crocodile's tail on the banks of the River Turgwe in south-eastern Zimbabwe's Save Valley Conservancy.

The chubby youngster can't keep away from the reptile who looks like he's trying to snooze.

The croc shifts in irritation as George dances triumphantly around him. He just can't leave him alone until finally his mum Tacha appears to call him away.

What George is doing, says Karen Paolillo who took the footage, isn't really teasing and it's not as dangerous as it looks.

Paolillo, who founded the Turgwe Hippo Trust, says hippo calves often "groom crocs".

"[They] play with them like this by chewing their tails. It is a frequent behaviour," Paolillo told News24 in an interview.

"When they groom them they always lick their tails and chew the top of the tail area."

"It is not dangerous," she says, adding that in her experience, "the crocs never go for the hippos."

So happy together

She has lived with hippos in the conservancy for 25 years.

However, George's mum did go for a crocodile that was eating her afterbirth when George's sister Bonbon was born.

That was when Bonbon "went right up to the croc", says Paolillo, who has written a book about her love affair with the Turgwe hippos.

Tacha grabbed the croc in her mouth "and threw him in the air into the water. She was at the edge of the pool in very shallow water."

"The croc sailed through the air back into the water and continued eating the afterbirth as if nothing had happened," she said.

"Obviously mum hippos will protect their babies against any predator but in general [crocs and hippos] live harmoniously together," she says.

"Crocs often get on the backs of semi submerged hippos probably by accident and the hippo lunges up in the water and chucks it off. I have watched this a lot but there is no malice."

George was born in December last year and is his long-suffering mother's third calf.

See the video of George and the croc below:

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  animals

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