Bull sharks are one of the planet’s most fearsome predators, but to 6,000-pound hippos lounging in an estuary, they appear to represent little more than a nuisance.
The accompanying rare footage, captured recently in South Africa’s iSimangaliso Wetland Park, shows a single shark investigating an area where about a dozen hippos stand in shallow water.
The hippos seem to be aware of the shark’s presence and the first real confrontation occurs 32 seconds into the video, with a large hippo rearing back and upward, as if bitten or nudged by the shark.
Stacey Farrell, the Heritage Tours & Safaris guide who captured the footage, told Earth Touch News Network that the shark probably was attracted by fish, which were attracted by the hippos’ waste matter.
“It would be the best place for the shark to be looking for a snack,” Farrell said. “The water was very muddy and the shark started bumping into the hippo, which caused them to start attacking [the shark].”
The shark makes a few more passes – bull sharks can adapt to freshwater and are sometimes seen in estuaries – and another hippo lunges toward the shark at the 1:30 mark, but the shark is much too elusive.
Presumably, the shark ultimately manages to catch some food, and the hippos are left in peace.
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