When Do Hippos Play?

by Daniel Errico

Illustrated by Darina Yamoldinova


By the African river, know as the Nile,

The sun fell away and it rested a while.


The rhinos had braved all the smoldering heat.

They lay down to sleep as they wiped off their feet.



The elephants marched to their elephant beds,

And gently they rested their elephant heads.


The hippos went bathing in cool, shallow pools,

Thinking the rhinos and elephants fools.



Slowly the hippos sank into the river,

The water so cold that it gave them a shiver.


(Hippos can't swim, like the pelicans think.

They also can't float- they could easily sink.)



Underwater, they fell to the soft river bed,

On darkish green plants with a smidgen of red.


They strolled on the bottom, then bounced up for air.

They did it for hours, without any care.



The fish followed closely, and wove in an out,

Under their belly, and up to their snout.


Each of the hippos came up to the shore,

To feed on the grass by the river once more.


They dried off their bodies by shaking and stomping,

And took bites of grass, chewing and chomping.



With night fading fast, they were full from the feast.

The sun returned back, rising up from the east.



The hippos crept off to collapse for the day,

While rhinos and elephants got up to play.



Enjoying the warmth of the sun and its light,

Never knowing the story of hippos at night.