They might seem like peaceful, lollygagging animals that spend their days grazing on grass, but hippos are among Africa's deadliest creatures. Chances are you've seen this impressive underwater charge, but these behemoths are best avoided on land as well... 

Note to self: If you see a lone hippopotamus, do not drive towards it.  

The intense clip was captured by welder Wikus Ceronie during a drive from Mozambique to his home in South Africa. "I was crossing the border from Kruger National Park when I noticed a hippo on the bridge," he told Latest Sightings, who uploaded the video to YouTube. "There were people walking around in the nearby vicinity, so I automatically assumed this hippo was used to humans. I was quite fascinated by this so I took out my phone to start filming."

Moments later, the four-legged tank came ploughing towards Ceronie's vehicle, crushing the bonnet (that's "hood" for you Americans) and driver's-side door. Hippos can weigh upwards of 1,500 kilograms (3,300 lbs) and charge at some 20 miles per hour – so this encounter could have ended significantly worse. (For a bit of perspective, a small sedan weighs around 1,300kg, or 3,000lbs.)

"He hit the [truck] head on and then tried biting it," recalled Ceronie. "I guess after that he decided he had won, because he just turned around and left."

A 50-metre drop-off next to the vehicle made the situation even more dire. "This was terrifying for me because I realised I had nowhere to go and no time to do it," Ceronie said. "Had he hit me on the side I have no doubt that the car would have rolled down the embankment." Luckily, neither man nor beast was injured. 

worrisome drought has hit the Kruger National Park this year [2016], pushing many hippos into fierce competition for grazing rights. This could explain why a lone individual might venture inland during the day – perhaps it was searching for food, or had been forced out of its wading grounds. Not only do hippos startle easily, but they also tend to be more aggressive after disputes over territory. That said, they generally show little interest if you maintain a respectful distance.



Top header image: Ray Muzyka, Flickr