Thinking about Veterinary Dentists

This post features photos of the African hippo from our trip in November 2022 to South Africa and the Schotia Game Reserve. Hippos are one of the most aggressive animals on the planet, and one of the largest and heaviest. Only elephants and white rhinos are bigger. They kill 500 people each year. Hippos may look slow, but a hippo can outrun any human. And they’re territorial. Don’t get between a hippo and the water!

This hippo was submerged in a watering hole, minding his own business….

He eyed the safari jeep rather crossly when he spotted us. When we didn’t leave, the hippo began to open his jaws.

And open. And OPEN. AND OPEN. This is his (extremely effective!) way of warning potential threats what they’ll deal with if they’re stupid enough to want to come any closer. He gave a shockingly loud roar and held his jaws open for quite a while.

Is there a dentist on call in the game reserve?

Eventually he grew disgusted, or bored, and left his watering hole. Not without giving us one last, long meaningful look…. A gaze that said, “Just wait til next time, suckers. I’ll get you yet.”

Time to go forage for dinner

Hippos are listed as a vulnerable species. Save Animals Facing Extinction Org lists ways we can help.

NOTES: A hippo’s closest relative is (wait for it) WHALES. I kid you not. Source: Natural Habitat Adventures A shout out to Theresa at for guessing correctly! To learn what to call a group of hippos, go to my earlier posts The Animal Kingdom: 16 & The Animal Kingdom: 36 ©2023 Jadi Campbell. All photos © Uwe Hartmann. Uwe’s photography may be viewed at

My books are Broken In: A Novel in Stories, Tsunami Cowboys, Grounded, and The Trail Back Out

Broken In: A Novel in Stories was  semifinalist for the international 2020 Hawk Mountain Short Story Collection Award and Finalist for Greece’s 2021 Eyelands Book of the Year Award (Short Stories). Tsunami Cowboys was longlisted for the 2019 ScreenCraft Cinematic Book Award. The Trail Back Out was American Book Fest 2020 Best Book Award Finalist: Fiction Anthologies, Runner-Up for the 2021 Top Shelf Award, 2021 IAN Book of the Year Award Short Story Collection Finalist, and awarded a 2021 Wishing Shelf Red Ribbon. The title story The Trail Back Out was longlisted for the 2021 ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Award.

Click here for my author page to learn more about me and purchase my books.


8 thoughts on “Thinking about Veterinary Dentists”

  1. Wow! What amazing photographs of the hippopotamus’s mouth and teeth. Can you imagine a human head being held and crushed by the jaws of a hippopotamus?

    1. Gary, if you’re dumb enough to even GET that close to a hippo after he’s given this kind of warning, you probably don’t deserve to remain in the gene pool…

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