"time passes very slowly when you're in a hippo's mouth"
August 23, 2019 11:43 AM   Subscribe

Experience: I was swallowed by a hippo [Paul Templer in The Guardian, 2013]
posted by readinghippo (33 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
EponiGULPicle
posted by Bee'sWing at 11:46 AM on August 23 [6 favorites]


EponiGULPicle

Swallowing a guide or swallowing a book, whichever.
posted by readinghippo at 11:48 AM on August 23 [2 favorites]


From the headline, I was expecting this to be a humor piece and that the byline was going to be:

— A. Marble
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:03 PM on August 23 [13 favorites]


article does not cast OP in the most forgiving light
posted by poffin boffin at 12:13 PM on August 23 [9 favorites]


Yes, I really didn’t think it would literally be about a human who nearly got eaten by a hippo. Very interesting! Thank you for posting it.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:14 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


Ace Ventura 3?
posted by sallybrown at 12:19 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


Guardian experiences should end with a 1-5 star rating for the experience like Andy Daly's Review. This one would get a poor rating.
posted by zachlipton at 12:26 PM on August 23 [4 favorites]


Thank you for not posting the latest "Experience" column in the Guardian from this week, as that would have made not three but FOUR phallic-themed posts on the front page.
posted by bitteschoen at 12:28 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]


I think we need to talk to this hippo about the ethics of catch and release.
posted by Dumsnill at 12:33 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]


I have now gone down the rabbit hole of Guardian “Experience” columns and it was well worth it.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:40 PM on August 23 [7 favorites]


So, lost an arm, traded his kayak for a canoe and kept giving tours on the same river and got surprised by another hippo. Fool me once, shame on you?
posted by starfishprime at 12:56 PM on August 23 [6 favorites]


I have now gone down the rabbit hole of Guardian “Experience” columns

yes same, some of them are a bit rubbishy but the ones that are not make up for it.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:04 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


And teacher said a hippo is a vegetarian? See, should've listened to your mother!
posted by Pinback at 2:15 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]


Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.

Inside of a dog it's too dark to read a book.
posted by Splunge at 2:15 PM on August 23 [8 favorites]


Mind you, hippo bites can be very nasty...

Aren't hippos vegetarians, not omnivores? I don't think the purpose of the attack was to eat him, it was to kill him with extreme prejudice...
posted by Chuffy at 2:20 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]


some of them are a bit rubbishy but the ones that are not make up for it

They are indeed a bit of a roller coaster...there are really heart wrenching ones like Both my children have a terminal illness, followed immediately by I got my head stuck in a pumpkin.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:21 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


I tunnelled under the Berlin Wall is well worth the read. So is the sidebar on that about memories of the Wall. (I disagree with the title of that, though. I can still remember exactly how terrifying that thing was.)
posted by MissySedai at 2:32 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]


Fool me once, shame on you?

Fool me twice... won't be food again.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:59 PM on August 23 [19 favorites]


I don't think the purpose of the attack was to eat him, it was to kill him with extreme prejudice...

Well, yeah, hippos are extremely territorial and just are plain fucking ornery and the author acknowledged it was intent on murdering him.

Hippos are...assholes? Maybe that's anthropomorphizing but they're sure not very tolerant beasts. Here's a (very graphic, warning) video of a hippo first scaring wild dogs off an antelope, then the hippo gets fed up that the antelope is stuck in his mud so he just kills the poor antelope.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:31 PM on August 23 [4 favorites]


I lived in Africa for the better part of a decade working with a humanitarian NGO that did relief and development work in 3rd world contexts. It also meant I went on safari a lot - it was essentially an easy weekend camping trip for me in the 2 countries I lived in and many more that I traveled to.

Mosquitos are the deadliest creatures on the continent followed by humans themselves, but in my estimation hippos were the deadliest non-human mammals there. They were certainly feared more than lions or all the myriad deadly snakes. I mean, you wouldn't see a guy just walk up to a puff adder or something, and lions weren't to be taken lightly if you were out of a vehicle, but it was clear that folks who lived in proximity to hippos were most afraid of running into one of them, more than anything else.

You would hear about hippo attacks on news radio almost daily. Often people going down to the river to get water would simply never come back. Sometimes they'd find a body, or what was left of one, but many times the person was disappeared for good. I suppose every hippo attack on a human is different, but apparently a hippo can bite a person clean in half with their first bite, which is how many people die. I saw the aftermath of a couple different attacks and there was a lot of blood.

When we would camp on the north edge of the Masaai Mara, we would hire local Masaai guys to guard our camp at night - basically they'd sit around a fire with a radio on loud enough for hippos nearby to hear, and they'd sing along with it. We'd fall asleep to the sound of them, and the hippos down in the river grunting at each other. Hippos typically won't seek out a human making noise by a fire, but it wasn't uncommon to hear them come through the campground at night, and the guards to significantly up their noise production when they got wind of one.

I had a wrist rocket sling shot that I mainly used for target practice plinking about during the mid-day between when we'd go out on game drives. One afternoon, the Masaai guide we'd bring along as navigator, told me to stop about 40 yards from a herd of elephant. He reaches under his red shuka (robe) and pulls out my slingshot that he had borrowed from the campground apparently. I look at him and ask "What are you going to do with that?" and he grins at me and says, matter of factly: "Research."

He then produces a handful of pebbles and proceeds to plink a big bull elephant on the hind parts with one, which ensued in quite a ruckus, and me driving away rather quickly. Later that afternoon we got to the river where the hippos were and he did some more research from the safety of the embankment of the river. The now mrs. allkindsoftime was not a fan of this because of how "cute" she found the hippos to be, but man - watching a bull hippo rage in the water after a rock slaps his back, that'll put the fear of hippo into anyone.

Fortunately I rafted that part of the Zambezi where this dude got swallowed before I knew enough to know better. I'd certainly not do it again or let my kid do it. This guy was lucky to have survived.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:47 PM on August 23 [51 favorites]


Good lord, allkindsoftime - now I too possess the fear of hippo.

> They are indeed a bit of a roller coaster

Indeed! Quite a few of them deal with very heavy subjects, but there's also been some real sweet gems, like My namesake found me after 24 years.
posted by rather be jorting at 4:07 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]


And THAT’S a premium swallow [/ extremely Griffin McElroy from 2013 voice ]
posted by dismas at 4:36 PM on August 23


This guy was lucky to have survived.

Some years back, I read a blog post by a fella who was working in Africa and constantly had to tell the n00bs that Hippos Will Fuck You Up. (Might have even been the topic of a post here, I can't find it and it's driving me bonkers.)

One of the guys in particular treated the whole thing like a joke - paid no attention to rules about where/how to pitch his tent, regularly left food in his tent, and in general just acted the fool...and got stomped by a rampaging hippo.

Evidently, he got his testicles ground to a paste and suffered numerous other injuries. He lived, but I expect he wished otherwise.
posted by MissySedai at 4:40 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]


Here I thought I was Billy Badass because we occasionally paddle alongside a rattlesnake :/
posted by Ogre Lawless at 5:32 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


I have now gone down the rabbit hole of Guardian “Experience” columns
Goddammit what the hell happened to the last 5 hours of my life? Here's one for the next emotional labor thread
posted by Hal Mumkin at 5:42 PM on August 23


There was once a man who had an encounter with an elephant, only the other end. [47s]

Sorry, not sorry for linking this.
posted by hippybear at 7:29 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]


Aren't hippos vegetarians, not omnivores?

Hippos do occasionally consume meat. Here is a video of hippos eating a zebra.
posted by vegartanipla at 11:10 PM on August 23


There are hippos in Columbia now, though, so far, there have been no reports of attacks. I'm sure that will change as the population increases (which it is doing, since they seem to be very happy in Columbia).
posted by eye of newt at 6:10 PM on August 24


"time passes very slowly when you're in a hippo's mouth"

Cicero said it first, I think.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:08 PM on August 26


optimates propaganda
posted by poffin boffin at 12:37 AM on August 27


In retrospect, St. Augustine was the obvious joke there. My apologies.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:38 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]




(That almost happened to me in Indonesia, although my wife was on the other side of the crater and nobody was around. Plus the hissing of the vent would drown out any cries for help. Probably not a great idea to go hiking around a crater by yourself.)
posted by Burhanistan at 9:45 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


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