Hippos are responsible for an estimated 500 deaths annually, compared to lions, 22 deaths. That’s staggering statistics. On December 4, 2022, a two-year-old Ugandan boy mysteriously survived after a hippo swallowed half of his body.
At the time of the incident, the child, Iga Paul, was playing near Lake Katwe in the Kabatoro district when the hippo attacked him, Uganda Police Force confirmed.
In a statement by the police spokesperson, it took the bravery of Chrispas Bagonza, who was nearby, to save the boy after Bagonza stoned and scared the hippo away, causing the animal to release the boy from its mouth, the statement read in part.
The child was rushed to a nearby clinic for medical care for one of his hands. He was later transferred to Bwera Hospital, situated in western Uganda, for further treatment.
After recovering, the child was released from the hospital and returned to his parents. While at the health facility, he was vaccinated against rabies, a deadly virus that is usually spread via animal bites.
Authorities noted that it was the first time a hippo has strayed and attacked a child from its natural habitat.
“It’s worth noting that animals always regard human beings as a threat; thus, any interaction with them can lead to the animals acting strangely or aggressively,” the statement said.
Hippos have the ability to hold their breath under water for about five minutes, and a hippo’s jaw has a tremendous bite force that can snap a crocodile in half, if need be. Current statistics show that hippos kill at least two to three people every three days.