Dude, Don’t Mess with a Hippo. An Unlikely Encounter With a Shark and See Who Wins

by Carolyn Sotka

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Hippos can weigh as much as 8,000 lbs, have 20 inch canines, can run up to 20 mph and really aren’t afraid of any animal including humans. 

Having spent time in the Serengeti, East Africa studying wildlife – the number one rule was never, ever get between a hippo and the river or her calf. Hippos are the main cause of death for about 3,000 people per year in Africa. Way more than the commonly thought of predators like lions.

In this video, filmed in South Africa’s iSimangaliso Wetland Park by tour operator Stacey Farrell, a bull shark or Zambezi shark (Carcharhinus leucas) has made its way upstream from the ocean and swims right into a horde of hippos. The hippos watch the shark circle for a minute or so and then attack the shark underwater.

Video from EarthTouch News Network

Hippos aren’t exactly picky about where they drop their waste, so they often attract congregations of hungry fish. “It would be the best place for the shark to be looking for a snack,” explains Farrell. “The water was very muddy and the shark started bumping into the hippo, which caused them to start attacking [it]. The shark was much faster and managed to get away at the last second.”

Unlike most shark species, bull sharks can adjust their biological processes to increase salt retention in fresh or brackish waters, such as in Africa’s largest estuarine system protected by the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. It’s not that unusual to spot them upstream but this behaviour in action has not been documented before. – CS

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