Man swallowed by hippo in savage attack that left him looking like a kebab

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A man who was attacked and almost swallowed whole by an aggressive bull hippo while canoeing in Zimbabwe said the attack left him looking like a "kebab".

In 1996, Paul Templer was working as a canoe safari guide in the African country and was having a quiet trip until his party came across a herd of hippos.

After observing the enormous creatures for a while, the atmosphere on the river turned aggressive as a hippo made a beeline for the convoy and threw Paul's fellow guide off his canoe.

After sending his clients to the nearby shoreline, Paul made an attempt to rescue his friend and that's when things turned ugly.

Speaking to 7 News, Paul detailed the horrific moment he became lodged in a hippo's mouth.

He said: "As our fingers almost touch, the water suddenly explodes and everything goes dark.

"From my waist up, I’m not dry, but I’m not wet – I get one hand free, and I can feel the bristles on a hippo’s snout. So now I know where I am."

Paul described the hippo's mouth as smelling like a "rotten egg" and said that he only managed to free himself by holding on to tusks and wriggling out.

That wasn't the end of the grisly encounter though, as the hippo came back for him and tossed him "like a ragdoll" up into the air.

While in the beast's mouth, Paul claims he was able to think "in slow motion" which proved essential in saving his life.

He continued: "I could think, ‘OK, hold onto the tusks’. Because I had hippo tusks boring through me, and I figured out if I held onto them, then my flesh didn’t tear so much."

Finally, the hippo let Paul go, but his troubles were far from over as the attack had left him with savage injuries.

He had a massive 38 major bite wounds and his left arm had been crushed to a pulp.

Both his arms had been detached and he was suffering from a punctured lung as well as numerous other incisions to his body.

"‘I was kind of like a kebab. I was a mess," he later admitted.

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After doctors had performed their work, amazingly Paul made a full recovery – albeit with less limbs than before as his left arm had to be amputated.

It wasn't long until he returned to canoeing though and he even claims to have seen the hippo again.

He said: "I think I saw the hippo one more time. I was told by my fellow guides that I screamed so high, and so loud, that it scared the hippo off.

“I never saw him again, though.”

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