harB Hippo

The Miniature American Hippopotamus: a distinct breed, or merely the result of a vitamin deficiency? Should it be disqualified from Best of Breed? The facts, the controversy, the love of these special animals.

Here are the harB archives, with the older pictures and entries on harB's weblog.

harB in the old west...

Ft. Parker was recently honored by a harB visit. Old Ft. Parker is near Groesbeck, TX, and is where Cynthia Ann Parker was kidnapped as a child by Native Americans, after other settlers were killed, in the 19th century. Cynthia later gave birth to Quanah Parker, a respected chief and historical figure, who would no doubt have made harB an honorary member of the tribe.

That's harB on the barrel to the left of the door.Here we see the harBinator sitting atop a barrel at one of the rebuilt cabins on the property.

The weekend that harB was there, he met a group of history enthusiasts, all in costume and having fun, who then taught harB how to start a fire with only flint and steel. Well, he was also allowed to use a little grass and charclot. Later, harB asked for a charclot soda, but everyone just laughed at his joke. Sometimes harB is silly like that.

fan mail from somebody with pretty eyesHarB has an invisible internet lady friend who sends him post cards from all parts of the country.  This would be the lovely and talented Gracie, whose poetic writings harB follows faithfully.

harB is covering up the message, which is very personal and private, and which says something like "a hippo could learn to love it here." There is likely a hidden, deeper meaning which is beyond the rest of us.

He insists that it isn't really a "thing," they're just invisible internet friends.

Sure, harB. Whatever.

harB loves RiaeBaying HarB

Guess what harB is doing now? He's taken up buying and selling on eBay. He's making lots of new friends out there in the free market, and here he is wearing a pin (which he thinks is an earring) he just bought from one of his favorite new seller friends on eBay. harB falls in love way too easily... but then that's partly what makes him so charming and irresistible to the ladies. You go, harB! But you might want to start asking grampa before you put his Beatles record collection up for auction.

harB's vacation in Georgia

harB and his little panda friendharB recently took a vacation to the great state of Georgia, where he delighted in the wonders to be seen there. He made a harrowing trip into the city of Atlanta, where he met Scarlett and Rhett, and shared a mint julip with them. While there, he bought a membership in Zoo Atlanta, where he saw the rare pandas they have on exhibit, borrowed from China. He made a friend, who came home with him for a visit, and they played with their souvenirs until Lun Lun had to go back to the exhibit.


Since harB is too young to drive, he got the job of navigating around Georgia for Grampa and Gramma, who depended on him for touring suggestions.  Here below, you see him studying the map, to find the most scenic routes to take for hiking. Hiking is a little more strenuous for a miniature hippo, because they have such short legs, but harB was up to it, and did a lot of nature-study. He saw harB studies the mushroom

spectacular waterfalls, and mountain vistas, and drank his share of cider. And because of the heavy rains at the time of harB's visit, there were mushrooms that would make Campbell's soup jealous. He could almost have sat on this one, but harB doesn't want to have too much of an impact on the natural landscape, being environmentally conscious and all.

harB in the fire truckOne highlight of the trip was the visit to Rock City, which has been advertised shamelessly on barns throughout America since the Great Depression, which harB doesn't remember. While there, he posed in the local fire truck just for fun. There weren't any fires while harB was posing, but even if there had been, you can bet that harB would have saved the day. They're good with water, you know -- they said so on Animal Planet.



harB's vacation in Hawaii

harB recently took a vacation to Hawaii, the big island, to see the volcanoes. Here he is, properly buckled up in his seat on the plane. He was very good, and refrained from talking to much and disturbing the other passengers. The flight attendants were so impressed with his good behavior that they fell in love with him -- of course, most women and girls fall in love with harB. And the way so many rude passengers treat the nice flight attendants these days, it's no wonder that they loved him so much. Here you can see them expressing their affection for him, after the other passengers had made their hurried way off the plane to make the next connection.harB buckled securely for safety

harB, of course, sat quietly until the way was clear, setting a good example that nobody followed.


Due to a little inconvenient weather, there was an unfortunate delay in Los Angeles, but the fine folks at American Airlines put harB and his gramma up in a nice hotel for the night. Here's harB scampering to keep up with Gramma as she hurries into the lobby to make it in time for happy hour. Soft drinks for Harvey -- he's too young to imbibe.

harB scampers into the lobbyHarvey was a good little hippo in the hotel, only bouncing on the bed until 9:00 at night, and he only filled up on hotel ice because Gramma told him to.






harB gets all the cute chicksWhen harB arrived in Hawaii, they didn't have any lei's his size, so one of the lovely Hawaiian babes gave him a flower behind his ear. Doesn't he look cute? Red becomes him. He's posing here on top of the lava landscaping which is so common in the Kona area.



Then harB decided to do a little exploring in Volcanoes National Park. There are many lava bubbles in the park, just harB's size, so here you can see him checking them out:

going in

It goes!







Wow, look at that fissure!But most of the lava and volcanic special effects are a little too big for such a small hippo -- remember, he's a miniature -- so gramma was kind enough to give him a lift for a better view. Here's harB studying a fissure, from whence came lava came spraying out into the night sky some years ago.



harB has rare antigensBlood donor harB...

HarB decided to see if the Red Cross Blood Center would let him donate platelets. They tested his blood and he is qualified, with a relatively rare H positive blood type, and they said he also has rare antigens. He made two new friends at the blood center, both little Red Cross bears who encouraged him as the nurses readied the needles and hoses. This picture was taken just after the donation was completed, and he still has the little bandage they put on him.

Special diet for harB

harB's special dietHere we see harB trying out his new vitamin enriched Purina Hippo chow, packed with the vitamins and minerals he needs to grow big and strong. This specially formulated diet has imported African cane and reed mix, fortified with peanut butter and tuna, blended and baked into convenient earth-toned pellets. The latest research seems to indicate that the lack of canes and reeds may be contributing to harB's lack of growth, but that the Miniature American Hippopotamus is, indeed, a separate breed. Genetic testing is being considered, and the results will appear here first.

you can do it, harB!One thing we know for sure about harB is that he is physically fit. He likes to train with weights, aerobic exercise, and isometrics.

No pain, no gain. Here we see him working out to keep his boyish figure intact. And in answer to the question everyone is asking when they see him on the treadmill...

Yes! His sweat is pink!

musicians take noteAnd harB's education is not being ignored by his caretakers, as you can see in this picture on the right. He practices his scales each day, just to warm up, and then enthusiastically plays his favorite tune, "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas." At Christmas time, he makes a point of caroling in the neighborhood, singing the same song.

He also writes considerable poetry, but only while in seclusion, so there are no existing photographs of this activity.

frying that baconharB really enjoys camping, getting out into the great outdoors. You can see him here, cooking breakfast on the old Coleman stove at the campsite. Harvey loves the smell of bakin' bacon. But then, harB is an accomplished chef, though he doesn't like to brag. He makes a tuna broccoli casserole that's to die for, and he has begun researching the low carbohydrates issue out of respect for you Atkins people.




whew, that was close...Lately, he has involved himself in community theatre. He was recently cast in a major role in West Side Story, the Summer Youth Musical at Backdoor Theatre. This has really cut into his camping time, but he says it's worth it.

 The script was only slightly adjusted to allow harB to fit into the story -- originally, there were no hippos involved in the turf wars of the play, as hard as that is to believe.

Here is harB, who was only trying to bring peace to the warring gangs, about to be the object of a violent "rumble" between the Sharks and the Jets. Fortunately, he was rescued just in time by the lovely and gracious -- er, I mean the tough but compassionate Anybodys, played here by Cayti Reed.

harB is in trouble now!All the critics agreed that the subtext of the show, with the tough gang members showing compassion to an orphaned hippopotamus, was just what the story needed, though some felt that "Hippopotamus for Christmas" didn't exactly work with the story line, so that was dropped in favor of "I Feel Pretty."


The CACA cleanup

Harvey with CRF tagYou might be surprised that harB is devoted to the environment and conservation of natural resources. This is evidenced by his volunteer work at Carlsbad Caverns, NM. Here, Harvey proudly displays his CRF tag which identifies him as a volunteer. He has always wanted to clean up the muck in Lower Cave.


Here, Harvey carefully stands on a clean kneeling pad, because he couldn't find any aqua shoes in his size. He was very careful not to shed while sponging off the mud in the Rookery.

Harvey and the cleaned area

Harvey at lunch breakAt right, Harvey eating his gorp during lunch break. Cave restoration makes a hippo hungry, and as a special treat, his Hippo Chow is mixed with delicious raisins. This gives him energy for the hard work still ahead.



you missed a spot. there, ya got itGramma Georganne is doing a little follow-up brushing, as Harvey points out the spots she has missed.







harB and Ms. BarkerAfter a hard day's cave cleaning (right), Barbe Barker shows harB how to fill out the paperwork required by the Park Service. This is time well spent, as harB can now take over that chore for Barbe.

After all the paperwork is done, harB settles in to rest on one of the official CRF bunks, tired for now from all his labors.

harB resting

Joe Camel on the way  backAnd on the way home, harB is excited to see a neighbor from his home continent. The camel waves hello as the sun sets slowly in the west. He waits until we're gone to light a cigarette -- so as not to make a bad impression on young harB.



Harvey travels out west and makes friends

Harvey sometimes feels a little awkward when meeting new friends, but he nevertheless tries to "jump right in there" and say Hi. He's real outgoing for such a little guy.

wanna play?

down boy!

In some cases, however, Harvey really needs to not sneak up on people. He really startled this poor horse, who wasn't expecting harB to yell "Wanna Play??" while he was quietly grazing. It's OK, though -- he and the horse swapped cowboy jokes around the campfire later on. (This cowboy walks into a bar, and says "Do you serve tuna sandwiches here?" The barkeep says -- no, wait, I can't tell that one here). Anyway, harB has ordered a nice pair of cowboy boots in his size, which isn't easy.

And as long as he was in the neighborhood, harB decided to play on the welcome sign just outside of Sonora Caverns. at Sonora CavernsHe offered to help clean up inside the caverns, but the management there said "No, harB has to buy a ticket like everybody else, but thank you very much."

Harvey tends the pumpkin in the pumpkin patch

almost ripeYou may be wondering why harB has those stickers. It's no mystery: he isn't allowed to have tattoos at his age. Besides, stickers are cheaper - he gets them in the mail for free all the time.

Here, Harvey tends his pumpkin patch as part of his agricultural studies. He didn't have the heart to make a pie of his new friend.




ready for halloween



harB goes on vacation to the Caribe...

packed and ready

Notice that harB isn't wearing his stickers in these photos. He decided that would mess up his tan. And the bottle is just a playful prop. Harb doesn't drink the hard stuff.

harB is too young to drink


harB can't vote, but if he could...