A 2-year-old Ugandan toddler miraculously survived a hippopotamus attack after the herbivore swallowed half of his body before spitting him out. According to The Telegraph, a local man who witnessed the attack had to intervene before the humongous animal let the minor go.
The minor, identified as Paul Iga, was playing around his home when the incident occurred. Paul’s home is said to be close to Lake Edward. The hippopotamus was reportedly trying to swallow the minor after it clenched him with its jaws. A local man who witnessed the attack eventually scared off the animal after he threw stones at it.
The hippo retreated to the lake after it let the toddler go. “This is the first such kind of incident where a hippo strayed out of Lake Edward and attacked a young child,” Ugandan Police said in a statement, adding that the animal “grabbed… the boy from the head and swallowed half of his body.”
“It took the bravery of one Chrispas Bagonza, who was nearby, to save the victim after he stoned the hippo and scared it, causing it to release the victim from its mouth.”
The minor was initially taken to a clinic to receive treatment for the injuries he sustained from the attack. He was later taken to a hospital where he received a vaccine for rabies.
Hippopotamuses are herbivores. But they are known to react with extreme aggression when they feel threatened, The Telegraph reported. The number of annual human deaths stemming from hippo attacks is said to be at least 500. Their tusks can grow more than a foot, and their bite is three times stronger than a lion’s.
“The hippopotamus, with his ferocious jaw force, unique mouth size and sharp teeth, can easily bisect a human body in a single bite,” a study titled Hippopotamus Bite Morbidity stated.
In the wake of the attack, police in the East African nation urged locals to take precautions. “Although the hippo was scared back into the lake, all residents near animal sanctuaries and habitats should know that wild animals are very dangerous,” police said.
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“Instinctively, wild animals see humans as a threat and any interaction can cause them to act strangely or aggressively.”