Smiling Hippo at San Diego Zoo

Is this hippo smiling for the camera? Jay Parker says he was surprised that the hippopotamus appeared to pose in its tank as he snapped the photos at the San Diego Zoo.

Parker, 35, of Little Rock, Arkansas, says he told his wife, Lauren, to say "cheese" and the hippo responded.

The three-ton animal, Otis, even kept his pose while Lauren snapped a photo of her husband.

Earlier in the day Otis and another hippo, a female named Funani, were fighting in the tank. Scars can be seen on Otis's back. Parker says, "this is normal hippo behavior, but I don't think he won."

Smiling Hippo

Credit: Caters News

Apparently the hippo's mood later improved, at least for the camera.

"When I look at his face I think he looks pretty tired by it all, or maybe he's having a happy dream – either way it's a great picture," Parker says.

The images have become an internet hit. Parker says he's even getting fan mail.

"It's kind of strange to think there are people out there with a picture of me on their computer, but I guess I'm just the hippo man as far they're concerned," Parker says

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