One of the fondest memories Canadians have of the late 90s is of the North American house hippo, a petite creature allegedly found "throughout Canada, and the eastern United States." It made its debut in a national PSA that aimed to educate viewers about critical thinking with regard to what they see in broadcast media. The message was simple - don't believe everything you see on television.
Though the attempt was admirable, the commercial may have backfired with younger viewers who started to think house hippos were actually existed. To this day, many of them remain to be loyal believers of the house hippo, and still cling to the hope that they'll one day run into one of them foraging for crumbs of peanut butter toast or nesting in a pile of lost mittens.
If you're Canadian and have no idea what a North American house hippo is, you 1) probably live under a rock and 2) need to watch the video below:
The obsession with house hippos is still alive and well today. Just a month ago, a new Reddit thread was started to remind Canadians of the mythical beast. Naturally, Canadians geeked out in conversation, and had nothing but nice things to say about the house hippo:
"It's a part of our heritage!!!" - topologyrulz
"Haha. House hippos are a gift that keeps on giving!" - underwearrepairclub
"My wife and I still want one!" - saltorio
"A piece of Canadiana!" - Pedropeller
Aside from the praise, people also shared hilarious stories that will truly hit you with nostalgia:
"This 100% backfired on me as a child, and my parents couldn't do anything to convince me that house-hippos did not exist. I would stay up with a flashlight (past the point where my parents went to bed) and looked for them until I was in 2nd grade. Those terrible sleeping habits have continued my whole life, and I blame this fucking commercial." - LeauKey
"My sister thought they were real, too. Once the lady started talking, she would just stop listening. Caught her stuck under our parents' bed as she left some mittens underneath it so they would use it for a home." - BarrikadeJ
"I tricked my nephew into looking for weeks after showing him this. He set traps and everything." - Ghost353
"Won't lie, I looked for their nest in the back of my closet as a kid. I'm a bit ashamed that I believed a commercial that explicitly says not to believe everything you see." - signanovella
The sad reality that house hippos don't really exist hasn't stopped some people from believing in it. One poster in another Reddit thread even pretended to have caught a house hippo, to feed on people's fantasies:
"LA LA LA! I can't hear you! House hippos are real. House hippos are real. House hippos are real." - RealityDodger
"I think all Canadian readers are looking for this post." - SonicFlash01
"That tiny hippo is literally so brave," - deleted
"Shut. Down. Everything. I need this creature in my life." - hippopalooza
Well, we can all still dream... What Canadian PSAs do you remember from the 90s?