If you're obsessed with all things cute on the Internet, you've probably watched more than few YouTube videos of chubby, round hippopotamus cubs flopping around the zoo. Don't be fooled by all those cute hippo photos or those adorable little neck and tummy rolls you want to squeeze - hippos are dangerous.
How dangerous? Well, according to some reports, hippos are the most dangerous animal in all of Africa. They're more dangerous than lions, hyenas, snakes, and mosquitos (who transmit deadly diseases). Hippos have gored humans, overturned boats and they've certainly stomped out an angry pack of lions or two.
As cute as they look, these animals are mean. Hippos are highly aggressive, especially when protecting their young. Just because they're pudgy doesn't mean they aren't fast and fierce. Here are some terrifying hippo facts that prove these roly-poly creatures should be feared.
Hippos are one of the most dangerous animals in all of Africa. They are estimated to slay around 3,000 people each year. One such casualty of a hippo aggression was a grandmother from Michigan. She was on an African safari when she was mauled by a hippo.
One of the worst cases of hippos ambushing humans was in 2014, when 12 children and an adult perished when a hippopotamus overturned a boat near Niger's capital, Niamey.
Hippos don't just ambush - they absolutely destroy.
In 2013, Paul Templer, a tour guide of Africa, nearly succumbed to an aggressive hippo. "The bull simply went berserk, throwing me into the air and catching me again, shaking me like a dog with a doll," he told The Guardian. Templer had over 40 puncture marks and bite marks all over his body after the incident. Thankfully, he made it out alive. But there have been plenty of others who haven't been as lucky.
Don't ever underestimate the strength of a hippo - they're the tank of the animal kingdom. Even lions know that they can't take down a hippo one-on-one. In fact, a single hippo can have the power to fend off an entire pride of lions. The Daily Mail reports that in 2014, a giant hippo took on a pride of lions when they tried to make him a meal.
The four lionesses chased the hippo into a ditch, but he didn't succumb to their vicious bites. Instead, the big guy showed his teeth and shook off the lions like they were nothing. He frightened them so much that they ended up running away. But instead of letting them go, the hippo started to chase them. That little extra step just proves that hippos are heinously vicious.
When you think about animals that are so vicious they would eat their own, hippos don't usually come to mind. But rest assured, hippos can be just as cold.
In 1999, the first ever hippo cannibalism was witnessed in the Shire River of Malawi. A group of vicious crocodiles were dining on a hippo when scientists spotted another hippo among the hunters. There's something unsettling about seeing a species feast on their own kind.