While hippos may seem like quiet, slow-moving, docile creatures, they are actually anything but! Don’t let the absence of pointed horns, fangs or claws fool you, hippos are actually one of the deadliest creatures on the planet.
According to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), hippos kill nearly 3,000 people every year. They can grow to be up to 13 feet long and 5 feet tall, and despite weighing up to 7,700 pounds, hippos are extremely fast. Just watch how quickly the boat flies through the water to avoid an attack.
Hippos are actually very aggressive by nature and have frequently been reported to charge and chase after boats that come too close. Smaller boats are easily capsized and people have been killed in the past.
Some tourists discovered this first-hand and had a very close call with an angry hippo while on a photo-taking safari in Kasane, Botswana. In a video uploaded to YouTube, the hippo chases the boat through the water and the frightened people onboard are lucky to have gotten away. Check out the footage here:
In one instance of a hippo attack in Nigeria, a boat was capsized and 13 people were killed. Hippos have also been known to raid nearby crops, causing them to come into contact with humans. In these cases, both human and animal fatalities have been reported.
Hippos are actually the third largest land mammals after elephants and white rhinos, and those big “yawns” that you might be familiar with are actually signs of aggression. Not only do they charge at any outside presence that they perceive to be a treat, but they will also fight each other.
Fights occur daily, and if you find yourself anywhere near a hippo habitat, it would be wise to tread carefully. They are known to be unpredictable and will attack to kill.
While it may seem like a good idea to simply shoot these creatures when they get too close, sadly hippos are considered to be a vulnerable species. Hippos are slowing being pushed out of their natural habitats by humans as well as being hunted for sport.
They are now often placed in protected areas or in captivity for the preservation of the species. In fact, a zoo may be the best, and safest, place to see these animals up close without fear of an unpredictable attack.
ippos can run an impressive 14 miles per hour, so out running one is not very likely. Having a secure face between you and a hippo, such as one at a zoo, is a very good idea indeed. Not only is it safer, but supporting zoos that aim to provide protection for vulnerable species is a smart choice.
While African safaris are very popular, now you know that it isn’t the lion, or tiger, or even the rhino that you need to be worried about. Hippos kill more people per year than any other animal in Africa. Not even the snakes or reptiles are deadlier, and even if you’re in a boat, you might not be safe.
Beware the hippopotamus!