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Hippo? Dang near killed him! Wait…I don’t think I did that right.

La Crosse, WI, United States / Classic Rock 100.1
Hippo? Dang near killed him! Wait...I don't think I did that right.

I read a story on The Guardian about a fella, Peter Hoffman, that lost his arm after a hippo attack. I have heard, or read, or imagined, that hippos are pretty serious animals. They look all cute and pinkish-purply and docile but they are stone cold killers. They are notoriously territorial and kill almost indiscriminately but are REALLY cute when you animate them and put them in tutus.

The gentleman in question was leading a kayak trip down the Zambezi River near Victoria Falls and had been doing so for years. He tells the story of how the bull hippo flipped a kayaker behind him into the air. When he paddled toward them to help, he suddenly, without warning, found himself INSIDE OF THE HIPPO!

Lets put that together…

  1. Kayaking in the river when hit from behind by flying person
  2. Consciously decides to swim towards the source of the man flying through the air, which he knows to be a bull hippo
  3. Suddenly inside of a hippo BUT STILL ALIVE

Our hero was only in the mouth, and throat of the hippo. Fear not, dear reader, hippo’s can’t swallow you whole…but they sure can fit you in their mouth. Basically, what this fella went through is when you cut a big ol’ hung of steak and just cram it into your mouth. Only then realizing that you have WAY too big of a hunk of beef in your mouth so you panic a bit. Wildly chewing AND trying to breathe but not really doing either very successfully. That is this hippo. The dude…the steak. The story…still horrifying.

And here is something you might not be thinking about just yet…hippos are herbivores! HE WASN’T EVEN DOING IT FOR FOOD!!! The monster just wanted to kill!

At this point, our hero shoves his hand into the hippos nostril from the back side and the hippo opened his mouth. DO you know what the first step to chewing is? If you said opening your mouth, you would be correct. Cause that is what happened. The hippo started chewing and treating the dude like a dog does it’s favorite toy. Gnashing and thrashing the man about while chomping on him with his hippo teeth. Then, the hippo dove back down under the water.

“Then down we went again, right to the bottom, and everything went still. I remember looking up through 10 feet of water at the green and yellow light playing on the surface, and wondering which of us could hold his breath the longest. Blood rose from my body in clouds, and a sense of resignation overwhelmed me. I’ve no idea how long we stayed under – time passes very slowly when you’re in a hippo’s mouth.”

After that the hippo surfaces and spits him out and another guide scoops him up and paddles to the shore. He was lucky that a medical team was training not far away and that they were able to keep him stable until he could reach a hospital.
All of that is ridiculous. BUT NOT AS RIDICULOUS AS RETURNING TO THE RIVER AGAIN! Cause that is what he did! He lost his arm to a hippo bite.

This thing… 

…Bit his arm off and he returned to the scene of the crime! Not only returned…but went down the same stretch of river and SWEARS he saw the same bull.

“Two years later I led an expedition down the Zambezi and as we drifted past the stretch where the attack had taken place, a huge hippo lurched out of the water next to my canoe. I screamed so loudly that those with me said they’d never heard anything like it. He dived back under and was never seen again. I’d bet my life savings it was the same hippo, determined to have the final word.”

He…HE WENT BACK! I mean…fool me once, right? When I was bartending a guy told me a really crass joke that involves a guy getting sexually assaulted by a bear for three straight years. On the fourth year, the bear stops and says to the guy “You really aren’t in this for the hunting are you?”

National Geographic
Myths Made Real
Animal Fact Guide


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