Stranded lion attacked by hippos

A pair of hippos swim in the waters of St Lucia estuary, South Africa. Picture: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo

A pair of hippos swim in the waters of St Lucia estuary, South Africa. Picture: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo

Published Mar 19, 2023


In a viral video, which garnered over 24 million views on TikTok, a male lion found himself stuck between a rock and a hard place after being stranded on a rock in the middle of a river in the Mjejane Game Reserve. Kruger National Park.

If being stranded on a rock wasn’t enough, the lion was then attacked by a pod of angry hippos protecting their territory.

“I’ve seen some incredible sightings, but nothing quite like this,” said Steyn Jacobson, co-owner and guide at the South Post, a lodge sitting on the banks of the Crocodile River.

Speaking to Latest Sightings, Jacobson, who filmed the viral video, said that “we started off with a quiet morning, we went down to the river for our morning coffee stop so that the guests could enjoy the view, as it was my last drive with them.”

“Always looking around for something, I saw the hippo’s strange behavior. As we watched, the hippos grew increasingly agitated and started to circle a rock, clearly unhappy with it.”

Lions, as with most African big cats, are not strong swimmers and are seldom seen wading through rivers, seeing an adult lion seemingly stranded on a rock in the middle of not just any river but Crocodile River in Kruger National Park is certainly a rare sighting.

“Looking through my binoculars, I saw what appeared to be a male lion. Stranded on the rock, surrounded by tons of angry hippos. All of a sudden, a big hippo went for the lion, and the lion had no choice but to jump off and into the water. In the end, another hippo went for the lion, but luckily, he missed it,” said Jacobson

Jacobson later discovered that the male lion was a young nomad and not one of the dominant males in the area. Male lions typically defend a specific territory, but young males often roam around until they establish their own territory.

“For anyone lucky enough to witness a rare sighting like this, my advice is to take it all in and savor every moment. These moments are fleeting, and you never know when you might witness something truly special in the wild. Guests always ask us what’s the rarest thing you’ve ever seen, and this is at the top, a very unique sight indeed,” concluded Jacobson.

Hippos are extremely territorial and will attack and kill anything which encroaches on their territory.

Luckily, this young lion managed to escape in one piece.