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Dangerous Animal Of The Week: Hungry Hippos

This is a recurring PGP series. Catch up with all installments of Dangerous Animal Of The Week by visiting the archive.

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Every Thursday, we take a look at one of the most dangerous animals in the world. Avoid these gnarly creatures, and stay safe out there in the wild.

You think this is a game? This is not a fucking game. They can weigh up to 6,000 pounds, run at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, have teeth that grow to be three feet long, and kill more people in Africa than any other animal. Hippopotamuses are not here for your bullshit. They will bite off your fucking head.

They’re rotund and silly-looking, which might lead you to assume they’re not all that dangerous. Boy, oh boy, would that assumption make an ass out of you and me. Hippos are extremely unpredictable, violently territorial, and irrationally temperamental like a teenage girl who doesn’t understand why you won’t just let her wear that skirt out of the house.

“Fuck you, Dad!”

Below is crazy footage of two female hippos chasing a speed boat after it ventured too closely to their pod. A speed boat. And these wild lady hippos keep up momentarily.

What is so scary about a damn hippo?

Hippos kill around 3,000 people annually. Is that enough murder for your inquisitive ass? How many more innocent people have to die before you’ll take hippos seriously? Although they’re the third largest living land mammals, they spend 16 hours a day in the water because it’s miserably scorching hot in Africa.

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Hippos even snooze in the water, and their bodies automatically bob up to the top periodically so they can take a breath, then they sink back down to the bottom. Their eyes and nostrils are on top of their heads so they can breathe and look around while the rest of them is still under water. Pretty gnarly. All of this makes more sense when you consider the hippo’s closest living relatives are whales and porpoises.

Obviously, they do not like boats. If your water vessel accidentally gets too close to some submerged hippos, they will flip your shit and drag you under. Try to take a deep breath before getting grabbed, because they can stay underwater for up to five minutes without surfacing for air.

Hippos eat roughly 80 pounds of grass each night, traveling up to six miles in darkness to get their fill, store food in their stomachs and go three weeks without eating if need be, and live for up to 40 years.

What should I do if I encounter a hippo?

Do not, for any reason, come between a hippo and a body of water, join a hippo inside a body of water, or even think about H2O in the presence of a hippopotamus. Here’s a story about a guy who got swallowed by a hippo and survived. If a hippo eats you, try to be like that guy.

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Ross Bolen

Ross Bolen is a New York Times Bestselling author, co-host of the Oysters, Clams & Cockles podcast, co-host of the Back Door Cover podcast, perpetually disappointed Rockets fan, Astros fan, and Texans fan who attended the 2017 Masters.

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