Hippos Are Now Swallowing Children Whole

A hippo in Uganda attempted to swallow a 2 year old whole, stopped by a brave farmer using rocks.

By Jonathan Klotz | Updated

Recently in Uganda, a hippo tried to swallow a two-year old child whole, getting the top half of the poor toddler down its gullet before a local man came to the rescue. The information comes from CNN, noting that the attack took place along the shores of Lake Katwe in the southwest region of the country, around 3:00 PM local time. While hippo attacks are disturbingly common on the continent, a blatant animal attack that makes it this far is still a rare occurrence for the region.

Crispas Bagonza, a local farmer, saved the young boy by scaring away the hippo through a combination of loud noises and throwing stones. Bagonza reacted in time to stop the boy from sustaining any major injuries, with the local hospital discharging the toddler with only a minor wound on his hand. The hospital also administered a rabies shot before returning the young boy to his relieved parents.

The local police released a statement, warning locals about the hippo, which is still loose in the wild, as being an active threat to the community. The statement concluded by saying “Instinctually, wild animals see humans as a threat and any interaction can cause them to act strangely or aggressively.” Advice like that is especially pertinent around hippos, considered to be one of the most dangerous animals on the planet.

According to National Geographic, around 500 people in Africa die each year to hippo attacks. Capable of snapping a canoe in half with their powerful jaws, the hippo eats up to 80 pounds of grass each day. Weighing anywhere from 3000 to 4000 pounds, which is a ton and a half or two tons, hippos spend most of their time gracefully bobbing along the river bed.

A hippo and her calf

Hunted for their ivory teeth and meat, hippos are dealing with ever decreasing numbers. Between hunting and land development, the conflict between hippos and humans in Africa is similar to that of bears in North America. Land that was originally for the animals is slowly being overtaken by farming and housing, causing the number of attacks to slowly increase over time, no matter the continent, the results are the same.

Beyond humans, hippos don’t normally have to deal with predators in the wild, even lions hesitate before trying to take them down. Hippos, with thick skin and massive muscles, can still run as fast as a human on dry land. The odd combination of speed and power possessed by the hippo keeps it from being prey to all but the most desperate of predators.

Animal attacks are thankfully rare given how common they could be, especially attacks involving a human being eaten whole. Usually, the incident does not turn out well for the animal, as once a wild creature gets over the innate fear of humans, the chances of a repeat occurrence are increased. Be especially careful if hanging out around waterways in Africa, and not just for the deadly crocodile, the two tons of aquatic mammal under the surface is more than willing to, again, eat a living person whole.