Monday, 21 November 2011

Pet Hippo Humphrey Mauls His Owner To Death

A hippopotamus called Humphrey who became an internet sensation after being raised as a pet has mauled his keeper to death.

The animal, which weighs over a ton, reportedly bit Marius Els, dragged him into the water and killed him on his 400-acre farm in South Africa.

The man's mutilated body was found submerged in the river where years earlier the creature had been rescued from a flood.
Humphrey had learned to swim with humans and found a home with Els when it became too big for the people who had initially adopted him.

The 40-year-old farmer, who said the animal was like a "son" to him, was confirmed dead by medics early on Sunday morning.

Netcare 911 spokesman Jeffrey Wicks reported paramedics attended Els' home on the banks of the Vaal River in Free State province.

He said: "Paramedics responded to the scene to find that the man had been bitten several times by the animal.

"It had also been immersed in the river for an unknown period."

Humphrey, who is six, was found as a calf and had been raised as a pet in Free State.

Els built a bond with him that enabled the former army major to ride on his back, feed him and even brush his teeth.

But neighbours said there were signs Humphrey was perhaps not quite as docile as Els suggested, as he was spotted wandering off the farm and onto a nearby golf course.

Els said he returned when he was called.

"We tried to warn him, but he wouldn't listen," an unnamed neighbour was quoted as saying by the Afrikaans daily Beeld.

The hippo is one of the most aggressive creatures in the world, especially when young calves are present.

And it is often regarded as among the most dangerous animals in Africa.

Hippos are very aggressive towards humans, whom they commonly attack whether in boats or on land with no apparent provocation.

Read more here ...

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