"began to talk about a hippopotamus"

The hippopotamus is responsible for more human fatalities in Africa than any other large animal. Male hippos actively defend their territories, which run along the banks of rivers and lakes. Females have also been known to get extremely aggressive if they sense anyone coming between them and their babies, which stay in the water while they feed on the shore. 

 

'An extraodinary seat' (1888), photograph of (presumably) dead hippo by the Congo River
Public Domain'An extraordinary seat' (1888), photograph of (presumably dead) hippo by the Congo River - Credit: Alexandre Delcommune
Capture of a hippopotamus by Stanley Pool, Congo River (1890)
Public DomainCapture of a hippopotamus by Stanley Pool, Congo River (1890) - Credit: George Grenfell