A two-year-old boy who was partially eaten by a hippopotamus is doing better now that a man stoned the animal to get the boy out.
The attack happened on December 4 in Western Uganda, about half a mile from Lake Edward in the Kasese District, according to the Uganda Police Force.
Police said in a news release that the boy, named Paul Iga, was playing near his home when he was grabbed by the amphibious animal. The animal then ate half of the boy’s body.
Police said that a bystander saw the attack and tried to stop it by throwing stones at the hippo.
“It took the bravery of a nearby man named Chrispas Bagonza to save the victim. He threw a stone at the hippo to scare it, which scared it enough to let the victim go,” police said.
Police said that the boy was taken to the hospital for treatment. There, he was given a rabies shot as a precaution and then given back to his parents.
Police said that this was the first time a hippo had gotten out of Lake Edward and attacked a small child.
“Even though the hippo was scared back into the lake, all people who live near animal sanctuaries and habitats should know that wild animals are very dangerous,” police said in the release. “Wild animals instinctively fear humans, and any interaction with them can make them act strangely or aggressively.”
A formidable threat
Hippos are the third largest living land mammal, according to Live Science. They can grow to be more than 10 feet long and 5 feet tall, and they can weigh anywhere from 3,000 to almost 10,000 pounds. The National Library of Medicine says hippos are dangerous and aggressive, which, along with their size and hunger, makes them a big problem for other animals.
Hippos are strong animals with canine teeth that can grow up to 20 inches long. They use these teeth to fight off predators or other hippos. Because of the wild animals that hunt them in Africa, these defensive traits are often necessary.