The photograph of Russian photographer Evgeny Borisov was highly commended in the Society of International Nature and Wildlife Photographers’ Competition this year.
As the other hippos look on, the bull hippo takes up the rival calf in its mouth and drags it from the river. As it is pulled up by its neck, an arc of blood spills from the trapped calf.
The hippo is one of nature’s deadliest land animals, despite its peaceful appearance. When given the opportunity, hippos have been known to crush bones, pull off limbs, and even consume humans whole.
Male hippopotamuses can weigh more than 2.5 tons when fully mature and are highly protective of their area. Their massive jaws, armed with razor-sharp teeth, may easily snap a bone.
Matthew Wanjiuku was ambushed by one of the giant creatures and held captive for 10 minutes while it continued to bite him. His ordeal in Kenya’s Lake Naivasha was captured by photographer Frederico Genovese.
“Stamping its feet and swinging its head vigorously, the hippo appeared to be trying to trample its victim,” he said.
The hippo can then be seen chomping on his arm, shoulder, and torso, before onlookers eventually managed to scare off the huge mammal, leaving Mathew covered in blood.
In 1996, Paul Templer was swallowed by a hippo but somehow managed to survive. His near-fatal attack took place near Victoria Falls in his native Zimbabwe and started when the animal knocked one of his friends out of his canoe.
He said: “I couldn’t move – I was like wedged in this tight place. I knew it was in a hippo or croc either way it wasn’t good. “I managed to move my fingers around and was able to feel the bristles on the hippo’s snout. “So then I knew where I was – I was headfirst up to my waist in a hippo’s throat.”
Paul was eventually spat out before the animal swallowed him again, this time from the feet first. The animal thrashed him around before spitting him out and then charged towards him with jaws wide open, dragging him to the bottom of the river.
Describing the attack, he said: “I can see green and blue and the sunlight on the water surface. And when I look around, I can see my blood mingling the water.”
Hippos are believed to kill more people every year than any other animal, and an estimated 500 people die per year in Africa from hippo attacks.
I was headfirst up to my waist in a hippo’s throat
Paul TemplerHippo Attack Survivor
Despite Evgeny’s dramatic snap, this year’s competition winner was a far more peaceful pic. Mark Lynham’s beautifully-framed snap of a stag staring down his lens at London’s Richmond Park won the highly-coveted award. The shot beat off competitors including a sweet shot of a rare Arctic fox cub in Norway and a kestrel in flight with its prey. Mark, 58, from Newport Pagnell, got his shot on his first-ever trip to Richmond Park with his wife Amanda in October.
He said: “We’d never visited before but had wanted to for a few years, but finally decided to pay it a visit. “We arrived as dawn was breaking and wandered along some pathways and it wasn’t long before we saw our first stag as the light was starting to come up.” He added: “We went further into where all the ferns and trees were. It was very quiet and very still, and after a while, I had that feeling that I was being watched. “I stopped and looked around slowly and I saw the Stag, just standing looking at us from within the ferns. “It was eerily quiet.
“I raised my camera very slowly and managed to take some shots quickly. “It stayed still for around a minute before turning around and walking off into the distance.” He went on: “It was an incredible moment I have to say and looking at the back of the camera I knew I had a beautiful image of the stag and the autumnal tones really add to the image. “The trip was well and truly worth it.”
This article by Anthony Blair and Tariq Tahir was first published by The Sun on 7 February 2022. Lead Image: The hippo lifted the calf into its jaws before throwing it back into the waterCredit: SWNS.
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