I recently bought a small bronze sculpture of a guy riding the back of a crocodile, mostly an impulse purchase. The vendor gave me a small wooden hippopotamus as a gift.
In Bambara, a "mali" is a hippo, and a "bama" is a crocodile. "Ko" means 'back', as in Bamako = the crocodile's back.
I'm imagining a cartoon. We'll see what happens.