Scientists Build Crocodile-Shaped Boats to Study Hippopotamus Poop

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are studying the water quality of the Masa River in Kenya. Approximately 4,000 hippopotamuses live in that river. On average, a hippo produces about 22 pounds of excrement every day. This has caused serious problems for fish and humans downstream. To learn more, the researchers had to survey the river. But this brought them into close proximity to the hippos, which are savage, dangerous animals.

Hippos generally leave crocodiles alone. So the scientists built autonomous boats which look like crocodiles swimming along the surface of the water.

(Photos: Carnegie Mellon)

The project was successful. The hippos usually ignored the boats and the scientists were able to gather their data.

(Video Link)

There was, however, one incident in which a herd of hippos chased a crocodile boat. The research team made this video of the attack. Appropriately, they included music from Jaws to heighten the dramatic tension.

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