In Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, Margrit Harris filmed a curious baby hippo pursuing a crocodile to have as a playmate. In the watering hole the hippo follows the crocodile, despite the croc’s attempts to swim away. Once out of the water the young hippo is still fascinated by the crocodile and exhibits some playful behaviour. By the looks of it, the crocodile is unimpressed. At the end of the video, elephants come to the crocodile’s rescue and chase away the hippos from the watering hole.
According to Harris, the founder of the wildlife organization Nikela, the young hippo was not exhibiting signs of aggression such as barring its teeth or being vocal. Jen Guyton, a National Geographic Explorer, said that this behaviour could have arisen because “there weren’t any young hippos around to play with, but … the more likely thing is that sometimes mammals will play with objects or other species in their environment just out of curiosity”. Prior to filming, Harris said they saw the baby hippo playing with a pipe.
Guyton also mentioned that crocodiles will often prey on hippo calves. Luckily this hippo was large enough to escape the fate of getting eaten by a crocodile.