Remember the hippo dancing in Disney’s Fantasia and how cute it was? Don’t believe it for a second; as guide Paul Templer relates to the UK Guardian, hippos can be monstrously violent and even swallow you up. Templer knows because it happened to him.
Templer had been leading people on tours of the Zambezi River near Victoria Falls for years. Traveling in kayaks with three apprentice guides named Mike, Ben and Evans, Templer suddenly saw Evans thrown out of his kayak from the gigantic hippo rising underneath it. While he shouted for the other guides to get the clients to safety, Templer paddled furiously to rescue Evans.
As he reached his hand out to Evans, he was swallowed from the waist up by the hippo and dragged underwater. The bull hippo punctured and bit Templer in 40 places as it hurled him into the air and then caught him and chewed again. Underwater again and holding his breath as long as he could, Templer was suddenly spit out. Mike rescued him, but his left arm was crushed, and the hippo’s tusks had ripped open his back so badly that his lung was visible.
A medical team nearby saved him but Evans was never found. Templer lost his left arm from the attack, but still led another expedition down the Zambezi two years later. He swore he saw the same hippo, screamed, then watched the hippo dive under the water and disappear.
Not quite Disney.