Owen the Hippo and Tortoise Mr. Mom

Repost from the old site.

I bet you did not know that the horrible Tsunami that hit South and Southeast Asia a while back, killing 275,000 humans, also hit Kenya. It did. There are lots of critters still running around in Africa that the increasingly advanced Africans have not yet killed off.

There are hippopotamuses and giant tortoises. These tortoises are really giant, not like our desert tortoises here in California that are about as big as a football.

During the tsunami, the baby hippo, Owen, 350 pounds, and its hippo Mommy (name and weight unknown) got swept down the Sabaki River into the Indian Ocean. Though hippos can swim ok, they don’t like floods and tend to die in them. Owen’s Mom got killed, and Owen landed in the Indian Ocean. Then the tsunami waves swept him ashore with lots of other critters.

Somewhere in all this mess, Owen landed on top of a giant tortoise, male, age 100, name unknown. He probably landed on his shell and they both rode the tsunami waves onto the beach where they both kicked back and caught some rays of exhaustion until they were rescued.

Even though the tortoise is a dude, Owen either could not figure that out or didn’t care. He decided that Tortoise was his new Mom. They bonded well, and Tortoise, though being a guy and all, does not mind being Mr. Mom. They eat, swim and sleep together.

Owen follows Tortoise just like he followed his Mom, and he growls at anyone who tries to approach Tortoise. Hippos stay with Mom for four years, so Owen will probably live at home for another few years before moving out.

I thought it was interesting that Owen showed so many advanced emotions in these photos. He shows tenderness, love and kindness, and appears to be trying to kiss Tortoise, though I can’t see how any animal could kiss a tortoise. Tortoise either also has advanced emotions, or has undecipherable reptilian emotions, or I’m hallucinating. But some tortoises do mate for life, which is awfully advanced behavior for a mere reptile.

Photos at the link.

Tsunami Kills 134 People in Samoa

An incredibly huge 7.9-8.3 magnitude earthquake hit the South Pacific early on Tuesday.
The tsunami caused some waves that were 5 feet above height, and there were deaths from the tsunami in both American Samoa and Western Samoa, over 100 deaths in Western Samoa and 34 deaths in American Samoa. 1 New Zealander, 3 Koreans and 1 Australian were among the victims. 6 Australians and 1 Koreans were still missing. 5% of the Australians living in Samoa were either killed or missing. Another 145 people were injured and whole villages were wiped out.
Fautasi was one village that was completely obliterated. There were at least 5 dead in the village, and the death toll there could go into the 100’s in that village alone. The village of Salesatele was destroyed, and 37 bodies have been found there.
A reporter saw at least 20 bodies in the southeastern town of Lalomanu. The town and surrounding region were flattened. There were 7-8 dead in Malaela, and many are missing. There were also many dead in Vailoa and Aleipata.
The village of Sau Sau Beach Fale was wiped out. There were also an unknown number of deaths in Talamoa. 40 bodies had been brought to the local hospital in Apia. 20 bodies were seen in a hospital in the city of Upolu. 100 bodies were reported from the southern coast alone and the total was rising all the time.
Tsunamis were recorded at Apia and Pago Pago in American Samoa. Tsunami waves 15-20 feet high struck Tutuila Island, where Pago Pago is, and moved up to 1.6 miles inland. The National Park Service office on the island was completely obliterated. 80% of the park workers are volunteers are missing.
Hawaii was spared by the tsunami, but waves 1-2 feet higher than normal hit the California coast a couple of hours ago.