'Puddles' the hippo

02/28/07 - posted by Alexy - brilabb<at>comcast.net

I've been wondering if anyone else remembers, or admits to remembering Puddles, resident hippo of Fleishhacker Zoo. In the 1940's, when admission was free, my buddy Don and I would trek, from our homes in the Sunset, across streets and sanddunes, to visit the zoo. Puddles was cute, but big, and very round. She offered a special kind of entertainment. TV documentaries about these beasts show that they live in groups, in wide spots in rivers. The water supports their great weight. Nature takes care of the delicate matter of pollution by affixing stubby little tails to their backsides. Said appendage spins like a powerful eggbeater when the animal defecates, making for a widespread shower of dispersed waste matter. More easily flushed away by the river currents. Without nature's foresight in this matter, the hippo ponds would soon be unliveable. So, our friend Puddles carried on this tradition at her home in the SF Zoo. We would enjoy standing a safe distance from her grotto, and we'd watch. Unsuspecting visitors could get a fairly close view of her, and, of course, she was fun to observe. When that tail started spinning, folks up close didn't realize what was happening, until lots of bits of pre-digested vegetation started falling all around them. A real shower. Now you just know that teenage boys would find that hilarious. Anyone else remember Puddles?

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