Esté Langeveldt

It was during a family holiday to South Luangwa, Zambia, that David Cox, 66, managed to snap up these happy hippos in their natural habitat.

Pic by David Cox/Caters News

The Driving Instructor, from Gloucester, was at Shenton’s Safaris Hippo Hide which overlooks the sandbanks of the Luangwa River when he witnessed the affectionate behaviour.

David managed to get within 50 metres of the hippos and he was pleasantly surprised to see the mammals enjoying each other’s company – with one even resting it’s head on a friends back.

Pic by David Cox/Caters News

David said: “When I first saw the images I thought it was a very touching moment of not only life in the river but also what appeared to be affection between these huge creatures.

“I was taking a photograph of one baby who appeared to be dozing when suddenly from behind another baby appeared and proceeded to put his head on the other’s back.

Pic by David Cox/Caters News

“A few minutes later another hippo, who was slightly larger, came up to join them.

“The baby hippos appeared to be in what looked like crèches and the mothers were looking over them.

Pic by David Cox/Caters News

“Usually when you see a photo of hippos it is generally of huge, imposing animals fighting for its territory, but these show a totally different story.”