Oh the great hippo! Stomper of gnomes! Savior of all Second Life! How we worship thee!
The tale of the hippo began simply enough in a forum thread by Darwin Appleby in which he strikes a long lasting topic about hippos, which became one of the longest lasting threads on the SL forums. It was then carried over into the grid when Hikaru Yamamoto started a zoo in which a small hippo family could be found. This small yet humble family loved to be fed by visitors and soon became a crowd favorite! Soon enough hippo statues and avatars began to appear through-out the grid! This hippo mania did not end with the residents themselves. Instead, it was caught by the Lindens themselves and seeped into the core of Second Life (Ctrl-Alt-Shift-H)! Whenever bugs were found (planted by evil gnomes) the hippos would be unleashed and they would skip through SL stopping the bugs and gnomes while residents were kept out (hippos are very shy about their job)!
Some may have forgotten about the beloved hippo, but to others the hippos shall never die! Living on as the legendary folk heros that they really are!
Do not forget to celebrate SL National Hippo Day on Febuary 15th!
HIPPO was also the name of a Linden-made object that you could put keywords into and it would detect other people wearing HIPPOs that had the same keywords in them as well. Example: Oz Spade has "cats" in his HIPPO, Bob Boberson has "cats" in his HIPPO, Oz walks past Bob, and both of their HIPPOs light up. The HIPPOs still work, but are not used by many residents, becoming one of those things that "never really caught on".
The Ctrl-Alt-Shift-H easter egg was removed from the main viewer in version 1.21, leading to a resident protest centered around the JIRA entry (VWR-11118) asking for the shortcut back. Soft Linden challenged residents to get 1000 votes on the JIRA entry to see it reinstated. The hippos finally returned after a long and difficult gestation in version 2.0, now as floating text, but only when the Develop menu (Ctrl-Alt-Q) is switched on.
Here's the original thread.