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Experience: I was swallowed by a hippo
May 6, 2013 11:25 PM   Subscribe


 
I feel incredibly shallow for thinking Well, does it really count as being "swallowed" if it was only his upper body?
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:33 PM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seems like a thing to be avoided.
posted by cmoj at 11:39 PM on May 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


I feel incredibly shallow for thinking Well, does it really count as being "swallowed" if it was only his upper body?

Right there with you, man.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:40 PM on May 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


/me makes note to stay the fucking hell away from the Zambezi.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 11:46 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is why I have a policy to interact only with baby pygmy hippos.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 11:49 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey: "I feel incredibly shallow for thinking Well, does it really count as being "swallowed" if it was only his upper body?"

Well, it's a quicker way to describe the situation than "I was a human sword in a hippopotamus's sword swallowing act". Not necessarily a better way, but a quicker one.
posted by barnacles at 11:50 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


... and this sounds absolutely terrifying. As a kid I had nightmares thinking about the people who got eaten in movies by things like dinosaurs or monsters or the Sarlacc. Being chomped on, suffocated, and digested? Nonononono
posted by barnacles at 11:51 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I was masticulated by hippo" is so much easier to visualize.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:52 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


That was a great read, by the way. Thanks for posting.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:54 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hippos are scary.

For one, here's one biting the crap out of a crocodile. And biting the crap out of a wildebeast.

But then again, here are some pictures of a hippo euthanising an injured wildebeest. And video of a hippo saving baby wildebeest and zebras.

And, sometimes, being eaten by lions (pretty graphic, also, ugh, Daily Mail).

Hippos, man. I guess it's a mixed bag.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:54 PM on May 6, 2013 [11 favorites]


I was swallowed by a hippo
I was swooped on by a bat
I was trampled by a donkey
I was scratched by a black cat
Kicked by a kangaroos
And then bitten by a squirrel
But when I got back home I got
A kiss from my sweet girl
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:09 AM on May 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh, and, here she is.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:11 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


People (and by people I mainly mean my wife and any other woman who comes with her on safari) think hippos are cute. I get it, they're pudgy and they wiggle their ears delightfully (their tail wiggles similarly as they scatter their shit, coincidentally).

One of the rites of passage as it were in Africa-related trivia is the age old "do you know what the most dangerous animal in Africa is?" and then people guess lions and snakes and stuff and then you drop on them NOPE ITS DA HIPPO.

I very stupidly once rafted the Zambezi and I was fricking petrified of the hippos we passed, and how nonchalant the guides were about them. Way more dangerous than the river itself, which gets enough victims of its own as it is. I was living in South Africa and later Zambia, and in that part of the world its not uncommon to hear a morning news item on the radio about some woman who went down to wash clothes or some kid out for a swim or some fisherman putting his boat out that suddenly became hippo food. Its very common.

I can also think of many other ways I would prefer to die.

Also, I'm not advocating anyone doing this, but its theoretically possible that if you find a pod of hippos in a pool (where you usually find them, if you find one out in the open its probably going to eat you in the immediate future), you could agitate them. From a relatively safe distance of course - say, you're 30 feet up a huge embankment with no discernible path of attack they could take towards you. Hippos do not like it when a stray stick or rock suddenly disturbs the water next to them or even worse happens to smack them on their blubbery backside. I'm not saying I have photos of a Masai guide with a slingshot who referred to this activity as "research."
posted by allkindsoftime at 1:38 AM on May 7, 2013 [16 favorites]


I can't imagine how terrifying it would be to have to "seal up" somebody's wound and seeing their lung in the open like that, especially since it was with the wrapper from a tray of snacks. I feel bad for the other guy, Evans, who didn't make it. What a way to go.
posted by gucci mane at 2:12 AM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


That must have been one hungry, hungry hippo.
posted by briank at 3:40 AM on May 7, 2013 [13 favorites]


I'd heard that hippos were the more dangerous than crocodiles, but I'd also heard that the cape buffalo was the most dangerous.
posted by dazed_one at 4:00 AM on May 7, 2013


Gruesome. But good on him for going back.

I once spent some time aboard a luxury houseboat on Lake Kariba. Big solid steel thing, about fifty-sixty foot long, four bedrooms plus crew/servant quarters. We'd got into the habit of tying up to islands at night so we wouldn't get in the way of fishing boats. That meant a certain risk from crocodiles, lions, elephants, etc, but we had a huge landing ramp/gate on the front of the boat and the crew kept a watch, so we figured we were reasonably safe.

But one night a hippo decided to come ashore through one of our mooring cables. Reconstructing the event afterwards with the help of the crew member who'd been on watch, we worked out that first the hippo hit the cable. It must have thought it was about to get stuck in fishing net, so it went batshit insane. Batshit meant charging sideways while still in the water and repeatedly ramming and biting the hull. It left huge dents and bite holes through the steel. Not so bad that the pumps couldn't cope, but bad enough that one of the crew did later have to do a patch job to get us home. That was kind of tricky in itself because where houseboats go on Kariba, crocs go. So the poor bloke had to go over the side and do it while we were underway out on the lake, while a couple of others stood watch with rifles aimed at the crocs following us.

Once it was done trashing us from the water, it came ashore. And attacked our front gate. The bloody thing had decided that a) a full size houseboat was just another intruder in its territory, and b) it could and would kill it. The ramp was three quarter inch (or so) aluminium and just did not stand up to the hippo repeatedly charging and biting it. It was torn to shreds and had to be cut off the boat before we could disembark back in port.

As for the hippo, I never even saw it. Just half an hour of terror in the night, massive prints, a churned up runway toward the gate, and a thoroughly trashed boat. But surprisingly little hippo blood on the ground.
posted by Ahab at 4:09 AM on May 7, 2013 [12 favorites]


"or some fisherman putting his boat out that suddenly became hippo food. Its very common."

Wait, Hippos eat grass and survive off the energy produced in their massive guts. They're a bit like cows. I don't think they eat people, although territorial bulls obviously get violent.
posted by panaceanot at 4:25 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


That must have been one hungry, hungry hippo.
posted by briank at 6:40 AM


It doesn't help that his bald, white head could easily be mistaken for a marble.
posted by orme at 5:03 AM on May 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


Wiki has this image of a hippo skull which DEAR GOD would be rejected out of hand as just too absurd by even the most genesplice happy Warhammer game architect. I mean, really!

Look at the way those canines (as thick as your arm) intersect to rub against each other when the mouth closes, constantly sharpening themselves. And the forward pointing incisors which serve no purpose other than to be puncturing rams backed by three tonnes of livid fury.

Sure, it eats grass like a cow. When it isn't pissed off. Then it eats your boat.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:33 AM on May 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


I'd heard that hippos were the more dangerous than crocodiles, but I'd also heard that the cape buffalo was the most dangerous.

Humans are still The Most Dangerous Game. I mean, as a whole. Obviously many individuals are less dangerous than an individual crocodile or hippo.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:41 AM on May 7, 2013


I don't think they eat people

Yeah, sorry, that was a bit misleading. They certainly don't eat people, they're herbivores. What I was getting at is that they literally bite people to death.

And they're definitely more dangerous than the cape buffalo in terms of total human death toll. Google it up - only "animal" that causes more human deaths in Africa is the mosquito.
posted by allkindsoftime at 5:41 AM on May 7, 2013


Attempts were made to find and kill the rogue hippo, but he seemed to have gone into hiding.

How exactly is this a rogue hippo? The hippo wasn't the interloper here.
posted by shoesietart at 5:43 AM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


well you know what they say... outside of a hippo, a book is a man's best friend...
posted by russm at 6:12 AM on May 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


If hippos eat grass, why do they have all those pointy back teeth? I understand the tuska and fighting teeth, but shouldn't they have cow teeth in the back?
posted by SLC Mom at 6:26 AM on May 7, 2013


...and inside of a hippo it's too dark to read.
posted by Splunge at 6:51 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


They do have cow teeth -- horses and cows have much sharper and pointier molars than you would think. Modern veterinary dentistry gives cared-for livestock flatter teeth because they get their teeth floated (rasped down) regularly to take care of the sharp edges that are created by the grinding motion of chewing.
posted by Concolora at 6:54 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


seanmpuckett: Wiki has this image of a hippo skull which DEAR GOD would be rejected out of hand as just too absurd by even the most genesplice happy Warhammer game architect. I mean, really!

Seriously. That is nightmare fuel.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:55 AM on May 7, 2013


Luckily, he knew first aid and was able to seal the wounds in my chest with the wrapper from a tray of snacks...

Oh, right. Section 47, subsection b, part iii. I had forgotten that.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:56 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hippo's aren't the only ones who EAT people! Warning! People! Being! Mildly! Ate!
This is why I only own a mini-schnauzer, and never, ever leave my house.
I've been bitten by horses, and that hurts like hell. I couldn't imagine surviving something some horrendous.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 6:58 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel incredibly shallow for thinking...

In a race to the bottom I thought, I was swallowed by a hippo once, but I was drunk, and it seemed like a good idea at the time.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:02 AM on May 7, 2013


cjorgensen: In a race to the bottom I thought, I was swallowed by a hippo once, but I was drunk, and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Being drunk is just as bad as getting swallowed. Just ask a glass of water.

#fordprefect
posted by Rock Steady at 7:06 AM on May 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I hate when that happens.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:07 AM on May 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Glad to see stavrogin's law has been observed.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:46 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the mosquito has a legitimate case for being more dangerous than the hippo.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:42 AM on May 7, 2013


> Gruesome. But good on him for going back.
...
posted by Ahab


I don't think I've ever done this before, but I can't resist: eponysterical!
posted by languagehat at 8:43 AM on May 7, 2013 [9 favorites]


"The hippo who tried to kill me wasn't a stranger – he and I had met before a number of times."

Strong candidate for the Lyttle Lytton contest.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:59 AM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Stroke of luck really, getting his torso up in the hippo probably averted this happening to his head.
posted by jamaro at 10:50 AM on May 7, 2013


Or as Dr. Mireya Mayor (@mireyamayor) tweeted: I'm jealous.
posted by TomSophieIvy at 11:20 AM on May 7, 2013


Oh man I feel like such a piker not having a hippo encounter to relate. Once a dog at the dog park charged me and left a massive bruise on my thigh and once a squirrel ran through my house. That's all I got.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:20 AM on May 7, 2013


Before the last Ice Age, North America was covered with massive beasts like this. They look so cuddly in the picture books, but I imagine it was just a shitshow in prehistoric times.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:24 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I imagine it was just a shitshow in prehistoric times.

Yes, we've got nothing but our brains and the abilities to use tools to defend ourselves with. Imagine how dangerous it was to be pregnant-- in their final months pregnant women can't even run or climb trees (I imagine) in order to escape.

That makes me think of the Gary Larson cartoon with the two (crocs? bears?) picking their teeth and ruminating on their meal, "Man that was sweet; no claws, no fur, no horns, just soft pink flesh.)
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:40 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


What happened to Evans?!? First he was there and then gone. Knocked out and drowned? Didn't seem like be got mauled.

Secondly, how the hell could he go back without shitting his kayak every 100 feet? I was charged by a very large, loose dog down a back yard alley near my house and I only managed to walk halfway down it months later before having to turn back due to adrenaline surges.
posted by amanda at 2:22 PM on May 7, 2013


I too was curious as to Evans's exact cause of death... drowning? Hippo? Dashed on rocks? It's a little strange how that isn't clarified.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:37 PM on May 7, 2013


It's not just river hippos you have to worry about: arboreal hippos will ambush you from above; the young males can be especially dangerous. Thankfully, the winged hippos are much less aggressive, perhaps because they have less to prove. As they get older and their wings fall off they become more docile and need more help to function, and in the end they all really just seem to want someone to care for them.
posted by homunculus at 1:15 AM on May 8, 2013


Yes, but most dangerous of all are the ones commandeered by cute little girls. Don't be fooled by charming toddlers atop these beasts!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:19 AM on May 8, 2013


(and the kid's got a knife, too)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:21 AM on May 8, 2013


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