Wednesday, February 27, 2013


There are a lot of tiny hippo figurines in my collection. They are a bit difficult to photograph, as I can't get close enough with a "standard" lens. Taking a picture and then crop it, is an option, but most of the time I do not like the results as some details are lost. Luckily, it was my birthday last week and my dear husband gave me a wonderful micro-lens as birthday gift. Micro-lenses are very nice but tricky things! Anything looks huge, like these mother and baby hippo made of glass. Actually, they measure less than a quarter of an inch (smaller than one centimeter). I am having so much fun with my "new toy" ;-). It is amazing what it can do. You will see plenty of shots in the future! Unfortunately, I have no idea how I got these cute little hippos, but I am very happy to have them, as some of my other glass hippos look a bit scary... It looks like they are floating... friendly Hippo-Ghosts?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pygmy Power

At the Ragunan Zoo, Jakarta, Indonesia, the Nile-Hippo-Family is sharing the premises with a few Pygmy Hippos. Not that they live together, the Pygmies have their own enclosure. If you look at the Conservation Status on Wikipedia, you will see that the Hippopotamus is classified as: Vulnerable. The Pygmies however are: Endangered. They live in the forests and swamps of West Africa, but their numbers decline. Mainly because of loss of their habitat. I hardly got to know them (I even forgot their names), as they are very shy. On one occasion I could touch one of them, and I noticed they felt more "slimy" than any of the Nile Hippos. Like their Nile cousins, they like sweet potatoes as snacks, but never came too close to the fence, so I always ended up throwing some potatoes in their direction... Taking photographs of them was not easy, always far away, and almost the same color as the  mud they were standing in. But most of the time  they were hiding under water. Fortunately, some yellow leaves give this photo a little bit of color. It looks like they are about to kick each other (want to join them, David? :-)), but they were rubbing noses and saying "Hi" to each other.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Keep Out?

Last year, I did not get presents from one Secret Santa (see post: Exchange-(Hip)Pos), but of two! The other Secret Santa gave me the most wonderful ceramic Salt and Pepper Shakers I have ever seen in my life. The Hippo-Girl is looking absolutely adorable. Poor thing! I think it is a very cruel to have such a sign on the fridge... as hippos are not supposed to be skinny, now are they? Most Salt and Pepper Shakers are not designed to make people laugh, but these certainly are. They make me smile every time I see them. Dear Shirley, thank you for being my Secret Santa and arranging for this lovely gift. I can't wait till next year's X-mas-Hippo-Exchange!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Getting up close!

As many of you already know, a few years ago, I had the amazing opportunity to spend a lot of time up close and personal with the hippo family in the Ragunan Zoo of Jakarta, Indonesia. At first glance this photo of Jacky, the Hippo Dad of the family, does not look very appealing, but it is a very interesting close up, so let me walk you through some of its details.

If you look closely, in the upper left corner, you can see a few drops of the red "natural sunscreen", sometimes referred to as "blood sweat" but it is neither blood nor sweat. This secretion produced by the hippo's skin does not only work as sunscreen, but it also makes sure disease causing bacteria can't grow. In the middle at the top of the picture you can see some cracks and bumps on Jacky's skin.... telling that he is not a very young hippo anymore.

The light brown dust on his head is not sand or saw dust... but rice husk. The Zookeeper feeds the hippos huge amounts from time to time, just to give them something extra besides the grass, fruits and vegetables, to diversify their diet.

The only disadvantage is that this stuff is rather difficult for them to eat.... demonstrated below by Reno, Jacky's son. They scoop it up with their mouths, then throw their heads back.... at the end of their meal it is definitely time for a bath!