An overheating hippo was so desperate to cool down that he climbed over the side of a 3m (10ft) water tower for a nice long soak. However, after happily splashing around for a while, the mammal found it could not get out of the pool and was well and truly stuck. Luckily, a farm worker noticed water spilling over the side of the concrete container and spotted two enormous nostrils poking out of the tank.
He immediately rang for help and, within hours, rescuers arrived at the farm in Alkmaar, just outside Nelspruit in South Africa. Equipped with a hydraulic crane and a cage, hippo hunter Chris Hobkirk and his team from the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Association set to work. In a four-hour operation, they drained the tank and used poles to gently nudge the hippo into the 3m-long (10ft) steel cage before winching it to safety.
Mr Hobkirk – who has rescued more than 180 stranded hippos in the past six years – said it was a tricky procedure but he was glad with the outcome. 'Maybe we got lucky with this one. In the past, I have removed hippos from small dams. In those cases, the water levels have always been much lower so this was different.' Although this hippo went to extreme lengths to cool down it is by nature a semi-aquatic animal. They usually stay in water all day until stepping on to land at dusk to graze.