This is the classic hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibus – Shona: mvuu) yawning threat shot a fearsome sight for those who know the hippopotamus is the most dangerous animal to humans in Africa. Males of the species typically engage in jaw-to-jaw sparring from the age of six to seven years and yawning contests are frequent, often setting off a ripple of discontent through the pod. This is a known defensive display and is a reasonable indication that the animal means business. You are in the danger zone. This image was captured reasonably early during the day and this hippo will have returned to its pool quite recently from its nocturnal feeding, in the hope of leading a sedentary day digesting its intake. No Colgate smiles here!
(Canon 50D; f/5.6; 1/250sec; ISO-100; 250mm)
Picture ©2010 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography