Originally from Los Altos, Camille Fritsch is living the dream of many – appearing on her favorite childhood television show.
Fritsch – a senior researcher and project manager specializing in hippopotamus research at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa – appears as a science expert in two episodes of National Geographic’s new television series, “Something Bit Me”, which delves into the stories behind the animal or insect attacks that sent people to the ER and the scientific explanations behind the attacks. He was featured in the April 17 episode and will also be in an episode airing on Sunday.
Fritsch, who in a previous Town Crier article (February 23) said he had been an avid National Geographic fan since he was young, noted last week that it was “awesome” to have the opportunity to become the show’s hippo expert. He added that the experience was a “true ‘icing on the top’ moment” – a culmination of his hippo research in South Africa.
“They did a preliminary interview to see if I would be able to survive on camera, and apparently I could, so that was really awesome,” the Los Altos High grad said. “It was a fantastic moment, worthy of a fairy tale.”
The eighth episode of last month’s “Something Bit Me” follows the story of tourist Kristen Yaldor from Tampa Bay, Florida, who went kayaking with her husband on the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe.
we, Africa. Her kayak overturned, and as she attempted to swim ashore, she was dragged underwater by a hippopotamus and suffered a serious leg injury. Fritsch’s role in the episode was to provide the scientific explanation for the hippo’s behavior.
“As a scientist, you don’t want to be there to say her feelings or her story aren’t viable — it’s completely viable,” he said. “For me, it was about contextualizing it and making sure that ultimately hippos wouldn’t be seen as these incredibly dangerous and ferocious creatures, because they’re not; it was just the wrong place, the wrong time.
This week, Fritsch will appear in Episode 11, titled “It’s All Gone Dark…”. He was not allowed to share a detailed description of the episode, although he did mention that it will be on “another charismatic river with a large population of hippos, a large population of crocodiles, a lot of animals different savages, (and) all big and ‘there are scary ones – elephants, leopards and lions.