Hip-hip-away! Hilarious moment baby hippo runs scared from flock of birds
This is the hilarious moment a terrified baby hippo ran screaming for its mum when a flock of bird landed on its back.
The hippo was seen screaming, running and twisting from side to side in a desperate bid to shake off the red and yellow ox-pecker birds.
Ox-peckers and hippos usually have a mutually beneficial relationship where the birds help free hippos of ticks and other parasites by feeding on them.
But judging by these images the oxpeckers proved to be a bit of a BIRD-EN for this young hippo who looked terrified during his first encounter with them.
Shocked by the bird’s arrival on its back the calf ran towards the water in the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia in an attempt to shoe them away.
And it wasn’t long before they gave up trying to feed on the hippo and flew away.
The hilarious moment was captured by photographer Marc Mol, 56, who said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the young hippo running towards him.
Marc from Switzerland, said: “I was crouched low in a river hide that was cut into the bank of the Luangwa River.
“I was busy concentrating on a pod of hippos, when all of a sudden I saw the baby running toward me with his pursuers.
“I was at first astonished as to what was going on, seeing this baby hippo running towards me and the safety of water and then realised it was a small flock of Ox-peckers that were the culprits. It was very amusing to witness.
“The baby hippo was clearly not used to the Red & Yellow Ox-peckers on his back.
“It was only a matter of 10 seconds or so before the little guy had had enough.
“And he was attempting to rid them off his back by twisting & shaking as he scrambled back to the safety of mum and the water.
“In time the baby will soon come to accept that these birds mean him no harm.
“Hippo & Ox-peckers share a symbiotic relationship, whereby the hippo gets groomed by the ox-peckers of annoying ticks & insects and the ox-peckers have a feed.
“One will always see Ox-peckers on the adult hippos, as they share a symbiotic relationship, but a first for me with such a young one and his associated funny antics.
“I had a real laugh when I realised that I had captured something a little different and yet very amusing.
“I love the expression on this little guy’s face as he frantically tries to fend off what he sees as annoying pests.”