Smiling Hippo at 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."
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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Photos, Caters News