I don't recall if I mentioned during my trip to the animal safari park in Oregon last month that I love hippos. They are definitely in my Animal Top Ten, along with polar bears and penguins, pigs and naked mole rats, bees and dogs, cows and hedgehogs, and, of course, tapirs.
Here are a few more hippo photos from my trip, unfortunately all taken from inside the car due to park rules. Then we'll meet Jessica and see why she rules.
Okay, now about Jessica. Here are some highlights from the Sky News story:
"Jessica weighs almost a ton and enjoys sweet coffee and a massage before she goes to bed. She's a hippo with a big identity crisis - she thinks she's a family pet.
Tonie Joubert, a retired game warden from Hoedspruit in South Africa, found her washed up on his land by flood water when she was just a day old.
He hand raised her, fully expecting her to return to the wild as soon as she was old enough. That was seven years ago and Jessica has never left.
"I don't know whether she thinks I'm a hippo or she thinks she's a human," Tonie explained as he deposited another fistful of sweet potato inside Jessica's gaping mouth. "But we have the most fantastic bond."
Me again. Hmm, as a retired game warden Joubert must know how deadly the big creatures are - they kill more people than any other mammal in Africa. Wonder if the news story when that happens will be the follow-up YouTube video to this delightful introduction to Jessica...