This Guy Got Swallowed By A Hippo And Survived

Illustration for article titled This Guy Got Swallowed By A Hippo And Survived

Look, a lot of people have crazy life stories to tell. They bought a used car formerly owned by Bob Saget or they were on a camping trip, peeing behind a tree when a bear walked by. Quality stories all. But this South African tour guide was, and I can't emphasize this enough, actually in the mouth of a hippopotamus. So, yeah.


Paul Templer ran a tourism business where he took visitors on trips down the Zambezi river near Victoria Falls. One day he was out training a few guides with a group of tourists when they got attacked by a bull hippo. Templer knew from past trips that this particular hippo could be extra territorial, but usually he just avoided the areas where the hippo liked to hang out. In this case, though, the bull charged a kayak carrying two tourists and a guide-in-training. The tourists plus the rest of the people on the trip got to safety, but the one guide was trapped.

When Templer paddled over to try and help his colleague, the hippo basically swallowed him.

I was aware that my legs were surrounded by water, but my top half was almost dry. I seemed to be trapped in something slimy. There was a terrible, sulphurous smell, like rotten eggs, and a tremendous pressure against my chest. My arms were trapped but I managed to free one hand and felt around – my palm passed through the wiry bristles of the hippo's snout. It was only then that I realised I was underwater, trapped up to my waist in his mouth.

Templer sustained major puncture wounds and other injuries from the hippo's huge teeth and the struggle that ensued between them. Ultimately he lost a hand, but managed to survive because one of the other guides knew first aid and there was a emergency medical response team nearby. Tragically, the guide who was originally attacked died. Not that anyone was planning to after this, but don't mess around with hippos, okay? Just don't. [The Guardian]



Hippos—the coolest new gadgets to be featured on Giz.

Also, doesn't "swallowing" require going into (or even beyond) the esophagus and not merely being trapped in the mouth?

And I just have to remark on the WTF-ness of kayaking in hippo infested waters...