Africa’s Deadliest Mammals

Hippopotamuses have a deadly reputation. They can be huge, weighing up to 3,628 kilograms, and, though they live primarily on plants, they can be very aggressive. They are territorial and will fiercely protect their young. Hippos can use their enormous jaws to turn over small boats, which they mistake for crocodiles. With their sharp 30 centimeter long teeth, they can easily bite a man in two.

Another mammal with a fearsome reputation is the lion. Lions are powerful animals, capable of breaking the necks of wildebeests with a single blow of one of their massive paws. An adult lion is strong enough to drag a carcass twice as heavy as itself.

Lions will only attack humans when food is scarce or injured and cannot hunt faster prey. The deadliest lion struck in Tanzania in 2004. This one lion killed 35 people, and it is thought he did this due to toothache discomfort.

Wild elephants have a far better reputation and are considered peaceful animals that look after each other and rarely attack humans. However, a male elephant can behave aggressively when looking for a mate, and female elephants will attack when their calf is threatened.

Whole herds of elephants have been known to stampede when they feel threatened or anxious. When this happens, people can be crushed under their enormous feet or gored by their long tusks.


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