Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/6/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Hippos are not the friendly, docile creatures found in storybooks

It began as an ordinary day for Paul Templer at his job as a river guide Zambezi near Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. The owner of a river tour business, the at the time 27-year-old Templer had been taking people on trips along the stretch of the Zambezi for many years. That would all change in a deadly encounter with a hippopotamus where he would find himself upside down and head first up to his waist in the hippo's throat.

Hippos are not the docile, friendly creatures you find in storybooks and cartons. Hippos continue to kill around 300 people a year, making them the third biggest killer of humans after mosquitoes and box jellyfish, despite only living in certain parts of Africa.

Hippos are not the docile, friendly creatures you find in storybooks and cartons. Hippos continue to kill around 300 people a year, making them the third biggest killer of humans after mosquitoes and box jellyfish, despite only living in certain parts of Africa.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

5/6/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Hippo attack, rier guide, brush with death, inspiration, survival

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - Hippos are not the docile, friendly creatures you find in storybooks and cartons. Hippos continue to kill around 300 people a year, making them the third biggest killer of humans after mosquitoes and box jellyfish, despite only living in certain parts of Africa.

Their gaping mouths span four feet and are lined with fearsome tusks. They're especially dangerous in the water, where the male bull hippos can become territorial.

Templer was well aware of the danger the creatures pose and knew to give them a wide berth. On the day of the attack he was accompanied by three apprentice guides - Mike, Ben and Evans, all in separate kayaks. All four were approaching the end of the tour when they came across a pod of around a dozen hippos wallowing quietly in the shallows.

Templer steered the group away from the danger before pausing a moment for Evans, who had been lagging slightly behind, to catch up. "I turned just in time to see Evans flying through the air before he splashed into the river." Templer immediately went back to help Evans who reached out his hand. Then all hell broke lose.

"My world went dark and strangely quiet, a few very long seconds ticked by as I tried to figure out what was going on.

"From my waist up I was not dry but I wasn't wet either not like my legs were I was head first down my waist down a hippo's throat. I pushed and I pulled and I wiggled about all to no avail.

"Then the monster loosened its grip long enough for me to escape. Bursting to the surface I came face to face with Evans.

"I remember looking up and I could see the different hues of green and yellow I watched my blood mingle with the water. I wondered what would happen first, if I'd bleed to death or if I'd drown."

One of the other apprentice guides, Mike, risked his own life to paddle back and help. Templer was able to grab hold of his Kayak and was hauled to the shore. But he was far from out of danger.

"I made the mistake of taking a look at myself," he continues. "My one arm from the elbow up had been crushed to a pulp and from the elbow down had been stripped of its flesh.

'Then a strange thing happened; I went incredibly calm and all the pain went away and I knew that it was my moment of choice. I knew right there and then I could shut my eyes I could drift off, I could call it a day or I could fight my way through this and I could stick around."

Templer had to endure a grueling eight hour journey to the nearest hospital in the city of Bulawayo. His left arm had to be amputated above the elbow, but the surgeons had managed to save his injured leg.

Just two years after the attack, he was back on the Zambeizi using a specially adapted kayak paddle to lead a three-month long Expedition.

Today, he is based in the U.S. where he runs his own speaking and coaching business and is married with three young children.

"What's Left of Me" was published late last year and is available though Amazon and digitally through the iTunes book store.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Living Faith

Pope Francis: Jesus is weeping over a WORLD AT WAR

Image of Pope Francis mourns a world at war.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has made it clear, Jesus is weeping over a world at war. It has become obvious that this is a time of extreme danger for all people around the globe. No population is safe from terror. The threats aren't just from terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al ... continue reading

Oxford to begin study of Catholic relics. Here are 5 macabre relics people venerate from around the world Watch

Image of The skull of St. Thomas Aquinas.


The veneration of relics in the Catholic Church has been one of the most debated practices in the faith. While such veneration is actually common in the human experience -even Communists did it with the body of Lenin, the veneration of relics in the Church is the ... continue reading

Nine bishops, one abbot, dine and dialogue with peace activists Watch

Image of

By Tony Magliano

During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops' fall assembly in Baltimore, several bishops and one abbot, decided to skip dinner at the downtown Marriott Waterfront hotel, and walked several blocks to an inner city parish to share a simple meal with about 30 peace ... continue reading

Woman turns her cancer over to Jesus Christ - survives, thrives Watch

Image of Heather King shares her struggles in her new memoir,

By Mary Rezac, CNA/EWTN News

Heather King never cared much for doctors. Los Angeles, CA (CNA) - It's an attitude she partly inherited from her mother, "who classified ginger ale as a medicine, considered Novocain a snobbish extravagance" and somehow managed to avoid a visit to the doctor's office ... continue reading

Top 5 ways to find joy Watch

Image of Find happiness in spite of the darkness.


It is easy to fall prey to depression and sadness with everything that has been going on in the world these days. The trick to maintaining a positive attitude and living in the joy God has for us is as easy as following five simple steps. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading

Want to lose the War on Christmas? Surrender Advent Watch

Image of What millions of Christians do a day after expressing thanks for what they already have.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Want to lose the War on Christmas? Surrender Advent. We Christians have gone out of our minds, arguing about Starbucks cups and greeters who (correctly) say "Happy Holidays" in place of "Merry Christmas." In all the bustle of the season, we have forgotten that Advent ... continue reading

Cardinal Sarah releases new book, 'God or Nothing,' on civilization's fall from grace Watch

Image of Without God, the cardinal said,

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

At the presentation of his new book, Cardinal Robert Sarah said that Western society is rapidly forgetting God, and expressed his desire to help people rediscover him through both prayer and witness. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "I would like to help people ... continue reading

Holy Door in St. Peter's basilica to open for first time in 15 years for Holy Year of Mercy Watch

Image of The rite of the opening of the Holy Door is intended to symbolically illustrate the idea that the Church's faithful are offered an

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Hidden since the Jubilee of 2000, the Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica was revealed Tuesday as the brick wall covering it was removed in anticipation of the Holy Year of Mercy launching next month. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the ... continue reading

5 powerful Bible verses you need when fear and terror strike Watch

Image of


Fear is a powerful thing. Fear can completely cripple the body and soul. Since the terrifying Paris terrorist attacks last week the news has been full of death, terrorists, murder and fear. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Those not in power are left wondering ... continue reading

Pope Francis: World War III has begun - Third Secret of Fatima gives warning Watch

Image of Is the Church preparing us for the end? Our Lady calls us to penance.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis has invoked World War III, saying that it has begun in a piecemeal fashion. The Third Secret of Fatima could provide Christians a framework for considering this terrifying new development. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - In condemning the Nov. 13, ... continue reading

All Living Faith News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • 5 unbelievable times children taught us to be better human beings
  • Advent Wreath Prayer HD
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, November 25, 2015
  • 'Domestic terrorism': 5 People shot during Black Lives Matter protest ...
  • St. Catherine of Alexandria: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, November ...
  • Couple heartbroken after doctor performs abortion without mother's ...
  • Prayer For Courage HD

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Daniel 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28
1 King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for his noblemen, a thousand of ... Read More

Psalm, Daniel 3:62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67
62 Bless the Lord, sun and moon, praise and glorify him for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:12-19
12 'But before all this happens, you will be seized and persecuted; you ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 25th, 2015 Image

St. Catherine of Alexandria
November 25: St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr ... Read More