The Story of Laguna’s Hippos – Bubbles and Herman

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The Story of Laguna’s Hippos – Bubbles and Herman

The Story of Laguna’s Hippos – Bubbles and Herman

    In 1978, I had just moved to Laguna and the town was astir. It had been 19 days since Bubbles, a hippo at the popular Lion Country Safari (now the Pacific Verizon Amphitheater) managed to burrow under her fence, squeeze past a barricade and lumber away from her pen.

     No easy feat for a hippo I’m sure.

Well, after sashaying over the hill she crosses the Canyon Road and submerged herself in one of the Laguna lakes. (Up until a couple years ago the natural lake was separated into two lakes by the canyon road) It turned into quite the scene with rescue people making a vigilant effort to entice her out in every creative way possible, but to no avail.

    Of course the media was all over it, as was Johnny Carson who make references to Bubbles in his famous monologues. It surely was the talk of the town.

Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles was all you heard in all the bars and town. I was not sure this was the place for me.We’re spending all our time talking about a hippo.

    She’d hid under water during the day and put her nostrils out during the night. One time she did come out and was shot with a tranquilizer gun but still managed to chase away the 3 rescuers and wade back into the lake.

    Now the sad part – After the 19 day siege she made a run for it up a hill side and again was hit with the tranquilizers but this time she fell on her side and her organs crushed her lungs and she died.

      Needless to say everyone was devastated. The bars were silent.

A Happier Laguna Hippo Story

 
    But believe it or not there’s a happier Laguna hippo story about Herman who was saved by his close friend Lisa the elephant.
 
    This story takes place back in 1968 when Herman was a star hippo with a circus along the coast in Huntington Beach. It was not unusual for him to take a swim in the ocean and then come back to his cage.
Well one day he did not come back and a huge search ensued.
 
    He was lost for three days until he finally was found eating hay 15 miles south at the Thoroughbred Sea Spa, a health resort for race horses, located in Laguna Beach. The thinking was that he swam down the coast and saw the beautiful shoreline of Laguna and decided to try to move here.
 
    But like Bubbles, Herman when discovered, jumped in a deep water hole that the horses used to bath and once again there was no prodding him out.
It took Lisa the elephant, friend and cage mate of Herman, to entice him out.
 
    But it didn’t come easy, it took days of the elephant pleading with bellowing blasts to his friend to come out.
 
    Finally Lisa went into the water and Herman followed her out.
 
    Off they went in a trailer.
 
    A happy ending. Whew.
Herman
 
 


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Sean McCracken

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