Please Help, I Have No Idea How to Care for This Hippopotamus I Got for Christmas

And I’m breaking several international wildlife treaties.

Bev Potter
3 min readDec 7, 2023


Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Look, I know I asked repeatedly for a hippopotamus for Christmas, and in fact insisted that only a hippopotamus would do, but I think I was probably speaking metaphorically.

Or maybe I meant that game, Hungry Hungry Hippos, since I am, after all, a small child, and no one in their right mind would give a small child a live hippopotamus for Christmas.

And where in God’s name does it say that hippos need to be massaged? I don’t remember Sir David Attenborough ever mentioning that, while he stood several hundred feet away and forced his cameraperson to get a tighter shot.

I never heard him say, “The hippo is the most high-maintenance of all the aquatic mammals and requires a daily massage.”

And it’s frankly irrelevant if a hippopotamus will fit in a two-car garage. Who even tested this hypothesis?

Where are my parents going to put their cars? My dad has a kayak and seven broken tents in there too — you’re telling me he needs to rent a storage unit because he gave his child a river horse and she’s turning the garage into a hippopotamus day spa?

This whole thing is extremely expensive, not to mention highly illegal.

Hippos are on the endangered species list. Interpol is probably on their way to Boise as we speak.

And what if I’m wrong? What if I, a toddler, have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about and hippopotami do not, in fact, like me? What then?

Has anyone ever considered that maybe my request is a cry for help? That asking for a member of the genus Hippopotamus amphibius may indicate a psychological problem that requires extensive therapy and possibly medication?

That if, instead of a doll or a Tinkertoy, the first three presents that spring to mind are a crocodile, a rhinoceros, and a hippopotamus, maybe there should be some kind of intervention?



Bev Potter

Legal secretary by day, insomniac by night. Ally. BA, MA. Humor, pop culture, and things that make you think. My weekly-ish newsletter is