Hippos may very well be the most underestimated land animal we know, but this latest video highlights just how formidable these rotund creatures truly are. Recently, some travelers visiting the Selinda Reserve spillway in Botswana caught an incredibly close call when a hippo bull warded off a lion pride trying to cross the waterway.
Three males began their journey across the seemingly quiet floodway when things quickly turned for the worst. As they quickly paddled towards their destination, the recording tourist panned right to reveal a giant hippopotamus splashing in just a few yards behind the pride. Within a few short strokes, the water-loving mammal was on the heels of the three savanna cats, its fierce jaws just one snap away from reducing the trio to a duo.
All the while, a fourth male made the safe decision and waited on the banks as he watched the territorial beast protect its domain.
Watch the heart-pounding moment below.
Despite their portly appearance and average weight of 3,000 to 6,000 pounds, hippos are terrifyingly fast on land and can run up to 30 miles per hour. And as we’ve seen, in the water, they’re just as dangerous. Their blubber makes them incredibly buoyant, helping them travel up to 5 miles per hour in the water. And, to top it all off, hippopotamuses have the strongest bite of all land animals, clocking in at 1,820 PSI.
So, yeah, those lions were in trouble.
Lion Barely Escapes Hippo, All Three Safely Make it to Spillway Banks
It’s true what they say – there is safety in numbers, especially when there’s a giant hippo charging toward you.
As the three lions smartly dispersed into different directions, the front-right male got the brunt of the attack. Behind him, the hippo closed the gap and seemed ready to crush the feline’s body. Thankfully, though, this seemed to only be a warning tactic as the hippo allowed the lion to escape to its destination on the other side of the water. One other lion was lucky enough to make it to the right side of the banks without coming too close to the hippo.
As for the last of the trio in the water, he, too, safely got away, but he had to exit the water on the same side he entered. So, crossing the hippo-owned waterway was still a feat the big cat had not yet accomplished.
According to the tourists, the remaining lions chose a land-based route and opted for a long walk to shallower waters. Lucky for the pride, they all made it out alive.
“It was exciting at the beginning, as it’s always great to see animals, especially cats crossing the river,” Field Guide Parks from the Great Plains Conservation told Latest Sightings. “When the hippo started chasing the lions, our excitement grew as I thought it would stop. I was very sad and worried that one of the lions were going to be killed by the hippo! Especially with how close and serious the charge was.”