The popularity of Fiona has catapulted hippos, the giant water loaves of our collective hearts, to viral fame. Does that mean you can show up at the zoo and smack one on the butt? NO. If you really love Fionas (hippos), you will leave them alone.
The LAPD has opened an investigation against a man who was seen in a now-popular video smacking a sweet 4-year-old hippo named Rosie at the Los Angeles Zoo last week. Filmed from across the enclosure, you can see him crawl over the fence and creep toward Rosie, quickly hitting her on the rump before scrambling back out. It’s unclear how she reacted, but her mother, Mara, raised her head in alarm as the man jumped away, evidently pleased with himself.
Because Rosie didn’t have any signs of injury, police are investigating the incident as a trespassing case rather than on the basis of animal cruelty, the LA Times reports.
Still, the idiocy of the move was two-fold. First, there’s no need to harass a giant submersible marshmallow in the first place. Secondly, hippos are actually incredibly agile and can be very aggressive—so much so that National Geographic declared them the most dangerous animal in Africa.
“Every animal is different and we don’t know exactly what they were thinking,” zoo spokesperson April Spurlock told the paper. “But, it’s an invasion of the trust we work so hard to build with these animals.”
In conclusion, don’t slap the hippos. Don’t slap any animals! If you simply can’t abide by these rules, just stay home.