One of the guides here by the convenient to western tourists name of John grew up in the Delta. His people used to hang spears attached to rocks in trees under hippo trails. When the hippos came out of water to feed at night they tripped a line that released the booby trap.
The villagers always had a feast when they bagged a hippo. Fat was rendered into oil and all the meat not eaten at the feast was dried into jerky. But the feast meat? Grilled to allow most of the fat to escape. Even so the meat is so oily that feast-goers stripped naked to eat it cuz the squirts came violently and without warning. Think about that ye mourners of the Twinkie, you could be sitting in a pile of your own hippo-infused excrement at the family barbeque.
We zipped around the bend to find the channel choked with hippos. The water was so low that there often wasn't room to go around them so we had to wait to see what they'd do.
Males run the show in hippo groups and the big guy lunged toward us then dove under the water. He surfaced a few seconds later much nearer to us and closing the gap. Jacques threw the outboard into reverse and we decided the sandbank back downstream would be just fine for fishing, after all.
Once the boat was turned around and motoring, we noticed a dead hippo in a little back channel. I grew up on a mink farm, pierced the stomach of the first deer I skinned, and have removed boa constrictor shit from a terrarium, so I know stink. The top fragrance in the "Worst smell" category now belongs to dead hippo.
Bubbles escaped from the mouth and anus of the rotting animal as the gases of decay made their way to the surface. We marveled at how big they are when you're only a meter away until the gag reflex threatened to win.
I decided to fly the guests over the hippo two days later. I was pretty sure I had the right bend in the river because I could see lots of crocs on the sandbanks as the heli got closer.
Reason 719 that helicopters are superior to airplanes: You can hold a helicopter in a hover over a dead hippo whose hide is a vibrating, undulating mass because the crocodiles are tearing it apart from the inside out while tourists from Spain snap photos.
The skin is too thick for crocs to bite through it to get to the goods. What's a hungry reptile to do? Well start where there's a hole and make it bigger. That's right, kids, crocs rip the hippo a new asshole and crawl inside for hunks of greasy goodness.
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