Hippo Swallows 2-Year-Old Boy, Throws Him Back Up Alive

Hippo Swallows 2-Year-Old Boy, Throws Him Back Up Alive


A hungry hippo appears to have bitten off more than it could chew when it swallowed a 2-year-old boy alive—only to spit him back out again.

The infant was playing in his house in Katwe Kabatoro Town Council in the western Kasese District of Uganda when he was seized by the animal and gobbled head first, local police reported.

A man named Chrispas Bagonza managed to save the boy by throwing stones at the hippo, police said. The startled animal then regurgitated the infant and retreated to Lake Edward—which sits on Uganda's western border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo—half a mile away from the boy's home.

"This is the first such kind of incident where a hippo strayed out of the Lake Edward and attacked a young child," the Uganda Police Force said in a statement on Monday. "We want to remind all residents of Katwe Kabatoro Town Council, which is located within Queen Elizabeth National Park, to remain vigilant and always alert [park] rangers about animals that have strayed into their neighborhoods."

The boy was rushed to hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries and vaccinated against rabies. He has now been returned home to his parents.

Hippos can be very aggressive and are considered to be one of the most dangerous animals in sub-Saharan Africa. National Geographic estimates hippos kill around 500 people every year.

The third-largest land mammal after elephants and white rhinos, adult hippos usually weigh between 2,800 to 7,000 pounds—about the same as a car—and grow to between 7 and 16 feet. They are found in wetlands, rivers, lakes and swamps.

Hippos can open their enormous mouths 150 degrees and have an extremely powerful bite. "Their bite strength...is around three times greater than that of a lion," Lochran Traill, an ecologist and conservation scientist from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, previously told Newsweek.

"That is why they are so dangerous—they cause substantial trauma to the human body through crushing force, whether this be through biting or by trampling."

In September, a hippo was reported to have bitten a large chunk off a man's shoulder in Kenya. "I stepped out of my house when I heard the neighbors screaming, and that's when I came face to face with the beast," the victim said. The man was rescued after he played dead.

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