Hippo appears to be using lily-pad as a hat – but birds see it as an eating platter

By Laura Dale


Sitting in the heat day-in, day-out can require some protection. So this hippo‘s lily-pad hat is definitely one to make the swamp jealous!

This hippo appears to be shading itself from the heat thanks to a hat that has been fashioned out of lily-pads.

Pic by Juan van den Heever / Caters News

However, the hippo was only peaceful until a Jacana bird came and landed on its head – scouring its ‘hat’ for tasty insects.

These photographs were taken by Juan van den Heever at the Chobe National Park in Botswana, Southern Africa.

Juan said: “We came across a small cover in the Chobe river with a small hippo pod being lazy.

Pic by Juan van den Heever / Caters News

“The cove had a few Hyacinth plants growing in it, which one of the Hippos surfaced through – covering his head in it.

“A family of Jacanas flew in and inspected this strange looking ‘lily-pad’, looking for insects and other food particles to glean from the now exposed plant roots.

“I loved the interaction between the two species – hippos are commonly used as ‘rocks’ or landing pads for a variety of animals, but this was the first time I’ve seen Jacanas using hippos for this purpose.

“The hippo acted as a ‘platter’ for the birds to feed on the insects and edible material on the exposed plant roots.

“I also loved the content ‘smug’ on the hippos face, almost enjoying the presence of his passengers.”