Rare footage shows an a.n.g.r.y hippo d.r.o.w.n.i.n.g an unsuspecting rhino after it refused to leave a waterhole during a drought at a South African game reserve.
As the rhino backs away from the duo, the first hippo opens its jaws and pounces on the intruder, dragging its head under the water.
A game ranger at Inverdoorn safari park, near Cape Town, captured the shocking footage as he guided tourists to the waterhole just as the rhino approached to take a drink in the heat.
But with water sparse in the Klein Karoo region in the Western Province, the hippo is clearly not happy to share what is left with a lone rhino with a raging thirst.
The rhino appears bemused as the hippo bellows a loud warning and when it is not heeded, the giant beast leaves the safety of the waterhole and c.o.n.f.r.o.n.t.s it on dry land.
The rhino – which is the second biggest land mammal and the hippo the third – would normally be firm favourite to win the encounter between the two big beasts over territory.
But in this case the rhino – which had been dehorned to protect it from poachers – has lost the one d.e.a.d.l.y w.e.a.p.o.n that would have seen it fend off the jaws of the a.t.t.a.c.k.i.n.g hippo.
Unable to g.o.r.e the hippo with its missing horn, the rhino is forced to give ground and it is literally bulldozed backward into the water and rolled over onto its back by its a.t.t.a.c.k.e.r.
The hippo ,having taught the interloper a lesson, backs off but tragically the rhino is unable to right itself in the glutinous mud and thrashes helplessly in the water until it d.r.o.w.n.s.
The ranger told LatestSightings.com, which posts videos of African wildlife encounters on its website: ‘This hippo was protecting his territory and was making sure he was not letting anyone else enter.
‘We arrived at a dam to find a rhino on its way to get a drink. It seemed to be pretty dry, and this could have been the major cause for the hippos being over protective of the waterhole.
‘Hippo’s become extremely a.g.g.r.e.s.s.i.v.e in drought. As the hippo pushed the rhino into the water, a feeling of adrenaline took over, next was complete and utter shock mixed with disbelief.
‘Never in a million years did I expect to see anything like this in my life.
‘The hippo was protecting his waterhole and pulled out one massive attack on the baffled rhino. The rhino didn’t stand a chance under the hippo’s sheer force.
‘It was hard to watch and not intervene, but that is nature. This is a very rare, rare sighting indeed. We stayed on at the sighting and watched how the hippo landed up d.r.o.w.n.i.n.g the rhino.
‘It was like watching a bulldozer move mounds of earth. Truly incredible to see the power play’.
The ranger said the rhino being dehorned to try and save it from poachers had ironically been the difference between life and death in this encounter.
The game reserve is not being named to try and protect the rhino that are breeding there.
The hippo is one of the most dangerous animals in Africa and k.i.l.l.s 500 people a year and can outrun a human.