Pet hippo mauled owner to death

The hippo, called Humphrey, mauled his owner, Marius, to death. Photo / Supplied
The hippo, called Humphrey, mauled his owner, Marius, to death. Photo / Supplied

A hippopotamus named Humphrey has mauled to death a South African man who kept him for a pet, Beeld newspaper has reported.

The 1200kg hippo bit 40-year-old army major Marius Els, dragged him into the water and killed him, the paper said.

The incident happened on Saturday at the Vaal River near Els's farm in the Free State province in central South Africa.

Humphrey, who is about six-years-old, was rescued as a calf during a flood on the river and had been raised as a pet.

In a video posted online in March, Els feeds Humphrey apples, swims with him and rides on his back.

"I call him and he immediately responds to come and play with me. I feed him apples. He opens his mouth. Big jaws, and teeth like this," Els says in the video.

"It's a little bit dangerous but 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."

The video ends with Humphrey tossing Els from his back into the water.

- AFP

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