Three lions trying to cross a river in Botswana learn in a hurry who owns the pool in a video posted on Youtube by Latest Sightings on Tuesday. A furiously charging hippo sends the big cats scrambling in each of the cardinal directions, nearly chomping down on one lion’s backside.
The video, filmed by a Great Plains Conservation field guide with the surname Parks, opens with the male lions starting to swim across a stretch of the Selinda spillway. A warier fourth pride member remains in the grass along the river bank. As they swim, the lions keep glancing to their left—and we soon find out why. After a large off-camera splash and a threatening snort, a hippo enters the scene, plowing its way through the water with surprising speed, intimidating jets of mist shooting up from its nostrils every several strokes.
“It was exciting at the beginning, as it’s always great to see animals, especially cats crossing the river,” Parks told Latest Sightings. “When the hippo started chasing the lions, our excitement grew as I thought it would stop. I was very sad and worried that one of the lions were going to be killed by the hippo! Especially with how close and serious the charge was.”
In the video, as the hippo steams forward, it zeroes in on the lead lion, nearly engulfing the cat’s back end in its enormous jaws. But, the agile feline twists its way free and, reaching the other side, dashes into the grass.
Hippos, which can weigh up to 2 tons, are fiercely territorial—and dangerous. Outside of humans, they are the deadliest mammals on earth, killing an estimated 500 people each year, which makes them about twice as deadly as lions.
Park said that the separated pride did eventually reunite. “The coalition got separated with two lions on our side and the remaining two on the other side. They had to take a long walk around the pool and used a shallower crossing to get to their partners. Luckily, none of the lions were severely injured.”
A veteran safari guide, Parks had never seen anything like it. He told Latest Sightings, “I have been working in the business for over 10 years and this was a first for me. This was a lifetime experience. A sighting like this was definitely not something that was going to be repeated in the near future. I consider myself super lucky to have seen a sighting like this in real life.”
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