Watch: Angry hippo charges, takes bites out of safari vehicle


Wildlife photographers on a safari in Botswana’s Okavango Delta got more than they bargained for when a perturbed hippo suddenly reacted violently to their presence.

Bill and Linda Klipp were photographing and filming a lone hippo “doing what hippos do” at a watering hole when things turned dicey.

“It’s not unusual for elephants and hippos to make false or mock charges, demonstrating who is the boss or to protect their territory,” Bill stated in their YouTube post. “While we were expecting a short mock charge this was not the case, he came rapidly at us through the water and within seconds was out of the water rushing towards our car.”

The car motor was turned off to avoid shaky photographs, but by the time the driver started the car and revved the engine, and attempted to go in reverse, it was too late.

“He rose up, mouth wide open then clamped down on the front passenger side door, preventing the car from moving and us from escaping,” Bill wrote.

“Hippos can open their mouth 150 degrees stretching up to 4 feet and as he bit down on the front passenger side door multiple times his upper canines started to splinter the wooden frame on the door, while his lower incisors and canines ripped a gash in the door.

“The impact bent and dented the door, fender, windscreen frame and mirror making the door and windscreen inoperable. Our guide kept revving the engine while reversing and after the Hippo’s third bite on the door he finally let go and backed off, retreating towards the water as we zoomed away in reverse.”

Bill was sitting less than 4 to 5 feet away in the seat behind the impact. Fortunately, only the vehicle was injured in the encounter.

“You always hear about how powerful a hippo can be, but one really doesn’t have a clue until a 7,000-10,000-pound animal crashes into and attacks your car,” Bill said. “What an exhilarating event to experience, and we are thankful to be around to share.”

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This article by David Strege was first published by For The Win on 9 October 2023. Lead Image: David Strege.


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