The Thoughtful Animal

This Photo Needs A Caption

This photo, titled “Zookeeper Ernie Bowman and Hippopotamus, Joan, London, 1934” comes to us via The Guardian.

i-76f6407170e7e4b7b1a40f2c75856b08-hippo zookeeper.jpg

Comment with your best photo caption – as many as you want. Winner will get a limited edition Scienceblogs Thoughtful Animal mug. I will chose a winner in 24 hours.

The photo is © 2011 Curatorial Assistance, Inc/E.O. Hoppé Estate Collection


  1. #1 Stan
    February 15, 2011

    “Forgot my deodorant today. They can always tell.”

  2. #2 Ari
    February 15, 2011

    I’ve heard of dogs attacking mailmen, but this is not what I was expecting when I signed up to deliver milk.

  3. #3 Matthew Garcia
    February 15, 2011

    “Well, me and Joan been together…oh, ‘most forty years now. Eats a lot, but she’s been good to me, sure enough! Hey, don’t make fun of the uniform… [whispers] Joan kinda’ likes a man-in-uniform, servin’ her dinners, knowwhatImean? [wink]”

  4. #4 Ari
    February 15, 2011

    I don’t think I brought a big enough picnic basket…

  5. #5 OgreMkV
    February 15, 2011

    “It’s a little known fact that hippos can be trained using fish and chips as a reward.”

    “Mommy, he’s trying to breathe on my lunch.”

  6. #6 Michael
    February 15, 2011

    “Alas, this is as close as I’ll ever get to having a pet dinosaur.”

    “Remember not to bite the hand that feeds you, please.”

    “No more blind dates for me…”

    “That nutritional supplement works great, but it does have a few side effects.”

    “Serves me right for not getting a graduate degree…”

    “I could have sworn I left my pet budgie right here.”

  7. #7
    February 15, 2011

    Zookeeper Ernie Bowman explains that zookeeper training begins with animal replicas before moving on to real animals.

  8. #8 KeithB
    February 15, 2011

    “Joe, the blind animal-keeper, soon learned the hard way that Hippos are not above grabbing the occasional meat for their diet.”

  9. #9 Mr Z
    February 15, 2011

    To the cheers of all Britons, Mr Ernie ‘Herbal Life’ Bowman of the London Zoo has discovered that by feeding ‘joan’ herbal extracts and tea leaves she has shed an amazing 37 stone and will soon once again be accepting male ‘guests’. Ernie is quoted as saying this is proof that his vitamin pills are a tonic for the ages.

  10. #10 ABradford
    February 15, 2011


    “If you ever find yourself being snuck up upon by a hippopotamus, just bop it on the snout and it will leave you alone.”

    “I know you’re supposed to say ‘hippopotamus’ to stop a sneeze, but how do you stop a hippopotamus’s sneeze?”

  11. #11 Hannah Waters
    February 15, 2011

    “I can’t thank you enough! Can you imagine how hard it is to pick your own nose when you have webbed toes?!”

  12. #12 jami
    February 15, 2011

    “Thanks alot, Ambien”

  13. #13 redundant
    February 15, 2011

    …play along…he thinks he’s the Easter Bunny…

  14. #14 friendthegirl
    February 16, 2011

    “Morning, Sam!”

    “Oh… mornin’, Ralph. Have a good day.”

  15. #15 Traveler
    February 16, 2011

    “Got yer nose!”

  16. #16 Enrique Gutierrez
    February 16, 2011

    Hokey Pokey!

  17. #17 Thonoir
    February 16, 2011

    “I don’t know what to tell you. The bloody thing keeps following me home.”

  18. #18 Zoonotica
    February 16, 2011

    “And this is my pet human, Ernie. I’ve trained him to scratch me whenever I have an itch I can’t quite reach and to bring me baskets of food. My next project is to train him to use a bigger basket…”

  19. #19 Howard D. Hamlyn
    February 16, 2011

    “Is that all you’ve got Pops?”

  20. #20 Betelgeuse
    February 17, 2011

    ‘The hand that pets the HippoP is the hand you’ll miss the most.’

    (I could be past the deadline, but worth a shot anyway!)

  21. #21 Jim
    February 18, 2011

    Hippos, although large, are gullible. They can be led around by the nose.

  22. #22 Knightly
    February 18, 2011

    Though it retains its rich history and meaning, the solemn vow of the Hippocratic Oath no longer requires an actual hippo.

  23. #23 Inky
    February 22, 2011

    Hippo jaw drops in dismay when she was vigorously rebuffed from sharing a cheese sandwich with her love.

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