A farmer in South Africa was killed by his pet hippopotamus named Humphrey who he described as “like a son to me”.
After being repeatedly bitten by the massive animal, which weighs more than a ton, farmer Marius Els was discovered dead in a river.
In 2011, Els was photographed riding on Humphrey back. “He’s like a son to me, he’s just like a human,” He said. “There’s a relationship between me and Humphrey and that’s what some people don’t understand.”
“They think you can only have a relationship with dogs, cats and domestic animals. But I have a relationship with the most dangerous animal in Africa.”
Humphrey, the six-year-old pet hippo, repeatedly mauled Els and pulled him into the Vaal River near his home.
Mr Els, 40, previously stated that Humphrey would like playing with him and would answer to his calls.
“It’s a little bit dangerous, but I trust him with my heart that he will not harm anybody.
“I can swim with him. I go in the water. He allows me to get on his back, and I ride him like a horse. He swims with me.”
Ambulance service spokesman Jeffrey Wicks said: “Paramedics responded to the scene to find that the man had been bitten several times by the animal.
“It had also been immersed in the river for an unknown period.”
Humphery had been adopted by Els when he was just five months old — He was rescued during a flood in the river.
The hippo weighed 2,645 pounds at the time of El’s death.