The last post from Day 4 in Botswana, contained one of the most dangerous (to humans) animals in Africa, the Buffalo. This post contains a couple more that are vying for the ‘most dangerous’ title.
Firstly we have the Hippotamous. Like the Buffalo, another herbivore, so why dangerous to man? Well it is bad tempered and aggressive, it is big, with males reaching weights of 2 tons, even occasionally up to 4 tons, and they can outrun a human with ease over a short distance. This information was gleaned from Wikipedia.
Their aggressiveness seems to be maintained when in the water. It is certainly true that our guides on the river treated them with a lot of respect. If a hippo or pod of hippos submerged in the general vicinity of the boat, then the guide would open the throttle and ‘get the hell out of there’.
We have seen the Nile Crocodile before in these posts. It’s yet another animal vying for the title ‘most dangerous’, though this may well be up for debate. It certainly looks dangerous with those teeth, and in the water it can be very fast and athletic. Basking in the sunshine, one might be fooled into thinking that they were gentle beings.
Now I did promise a little excitement a while back. This is where we had it. I’m not sure whether our guide set it up or not. I suspect that he may have, but if he did, then it’s a bit out of character for the guides, as they are normally very safety conscious.
The guide was taking the boat around the back of an island, on which this hippo was standing. We were quite close to the bank. The hippo took one look at us and broke straight into a charge. I can believe that they can out run humans because after this photo was taken my next shot had the hippo plunging into the water a yard or two behind us as our guide took us away on full throttle. Sadly, this shot was not good enough to show here as the lens was too long and I didn’t get time to focus.
It is apparent from this experience, just how fiercely territorial hippos are. It was instant. As soon as he spotted us he charged. I don’t like to think about what would have happened if the outboard motor had stalled.
As I said earlier, I am a bit worried that the guide set this up because he knew this particular hippo’s territorial claim. If he did, he really should not have, as it obviously caused some stress to the hippo. I like to think that it was a natural encounter, which gives me something to write about in this blog.
The next post will finish this river safari off with a few more birds. If you are interested, please come and have a look.
The beginning of this african story can be found here.