Paul Templer survived a trip few can claim they've returned from. Namely, he was inside a hippo's stomach and lived to tell the tale. Templer shared his strange and tragic story about meeting a nasty two ton hippo in the Guardian on Saturday.
When he was 27 years old, Templer worked as a kayak tour guide taking tourists down the Zambezi river near the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. Templer met the hippo before and knew to avoid him. But for some reason the hippo attacked one of his aides, Evans, and took the party by surprise. As Templer was on his way to help Evans, the hippo went after him, too. That's when his whole upper body was engulfed. You'll never guess what the inside of a hippo's stomach smells like:
I was aware that my legs were surrounded by water, but my top half was almost dry. I seemed to be trapped in something slimy. There was a terrible, sulphurous smell, like rotten eggs, and a tremendous pressure against my chest. My arms were trapped but I managed to free one hand and felt around – my palm passed through the wiry bristles of the hippo's snout. It was only then that I realised I was underwater, trapped up to my waist in his mouth.
Templer and his group weren't doing anything to antagonize the hippo when it attacked them. Hippos are very territorial, but Templer knew the river well. He knew what parts to avoid so they wouldn't encounter the beast. Also, the hippo wasn't looking at Templer as lunch: hippos are herbivores.
Templer was eventually able to get away safely, though he lost an arm in the process. His aide Evans was found dead a few days later. They searched for the hippo in attempt to protect other river travellers from similar experiences but never found him. Please, read the entire thing because it's one of the strangest tales we've ever encountered. The craziest part? Templer continued giving tours on the river after his wounds healed.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.