Come on in, the water's fine. For the past eight months, the management of London’s Bushy Park has been receiving reports of a hippopotamus swimming in the park’s pond. Local papers published photographs of what appeared to be a hippo. But, as it turns out, visitors were just spotting a remote-controlled boat.
You can’t blame them for being confused. The boat is shaped exactly like the top of a submerged hippo’s head. And a renegade hippopotamus in London should be cause for concern; the violent, territorial animals kill more people each year than any other animal in Africa, with the possible exception of the mosquito.
But park staff took the hippo sightings with a grain of salt, even from the beginning. "I’m sure it’s an amusing and somewhat surprising sight for others using the model boating pond in the park,” park manager Ray Brodie told the Richmond and Twickenham Times last week. Still, while the nature of the beast has been determined, the owner of the hippo-boat, and his or her motivations, remain a mystery.