A dramatic video taken on safari in South Africa shows a bull shark charging a herd of hippos, and wildlife experts say the shark was in more danger than they were.
The video was shot by Stacey Farrell, a tour guide from Heritage Tours and Safaris. She licenced the footage to Kruger Sightings, who posted the viral clip on YouTube.
“While we were on a hippo and crocodile safari, we spotted a small bull shark swimming close to a pod of hippos,” Farrell wrote. “We stopped the boat along the bank, so we could watch hippos return to the water. Since hippos defecate in the water, this draws a lot of fish. If there are a lot of fish, it grabs the attention of the nearby sharks looking for a quick meal.”
“This water isn’t very clear,” she went on, “causing visibility to be very low. This made the shark a bit disorientated and it started swimming right into the [hippos]. This caused the hippos to get angry and start charging the shark. Luckily for the shark, it was much faster than the hippos and managed to swim away without serious damage.”
The video was shot in iSimangoliso Wetland Park -- one of the most popular destinations in Africa for wildlife tours and observation. Typically, tourists expect the shark to be the the most terrifying thing in the water. This clip is particularly remarkable for showing the way a “pod” of hippos can scare off one of the most efficient predators on Earth.
While they’re big and slow, a full grown hippopotamus typically weighs between 2,900 and 4,000 pounds. That’s a lot of weight to throw around, especially compared to the bull shark, which is generally between 210 and 290 pounds.
In a setting like this, a bull shark might have been able to sneak up on one hippo. The shark has strength, agility and razor sharp teeth on its side. However, the herbivorous hippos are still dangerous, as a single stomp could mark the end for the killer shark. Add to that the whole pod of hippos standing together, plus the murky water distorting the shark’s senses, and it didn’t stand a chance.
Bull shark sightings always raise the alarm for wildlife lovers, as the species is blamed for more attacks on humans than any other type of shark. However, hippos are reportedly responsible for more human deaths than any animal in Africa, so this was a truly a showdown of titans.