Pet hippo kills owner in South Africa

14th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

A hippopotamus named Humphrey has mauled to death a South African man who kept him for a pet, Beeld newspaper reported Monday.

The 1,200-kilogramme (2,650-pound) hippo bit 40-year-old army major Marius Els, dragged him into the water and killed him, the paper said.

The incident happened Saturday at the Vaal River near Els' farm in the Free State province in central South Africa.

Humphrey, who is about six years old, was rescued as a calf during a flood on the river and had been raised as a pet.

In a video posted online in March, Els feeds Humphrey apples, swims with him and rides on his back.

"I call him and he immediately responds to come and play with me. I feed him apples. He opens his mouth. Big jaws, and teeth like this," Els says in the video.

"It's a little bit dangerous, but I can swim with him. I go in the water. He allows me to get on his back and I ride him like a horse. He swims with me."

The video, which can be viewed at, ends with Humphrey tossing Els from his back into the water.

© 2011 AFP

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