Sleepy hippo lets terrapins sunbathe on his back

NewsflarePublished: June 20, 2018
Published: June 20, 2018

This is the touching moment a big old sleepy male hippo resting at a watering hole in South African allowed some terrapins to sunbathe on his back.

The scene was captured at Kruger National Park last month by a tourist on a midday safari.

He explains: "(The hippo) looked very lazy and sleepy at the same time. We suddenly noticed something on the back of the hippo. It was a turtle-lookalike reptile called a terrapin. Soon this terrapin was joined by another one crawling up the back of the hippo. From there it was another one and another one and another one. The reptiles eventually totalled seven individuals, all happily sunbathing on the back of this large hippo.

"Surprisingly the hippo did not move during this whole time and never seemed bothered by the reptiles enjoying their midday sunbathing session on his back.

"As with all reptiles, terrapins rely on their external environment to regulate their body temperature. These reptiles normally would be lying on a rock or a log in the water while warming up in the sun. This way they avoid moving onto land outside the water where they are vulnerable to predators. With no big rocks to rest on in this watering hole, the terrapins clearly decided that the back of a big old hippo will also just be fine."

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