Hippo Eats Dwarf

image I came across this peculiar news story about a hippo eating a dwarf. It's been floating around the internet for a while, though I'm not sure exactly how long. Google 'hippo eats dwarf' and you'll pull up a bunch of pages. There's even a band named Hippo Eats Dwarf. The article has been circulating as an image file of a scanned article (click the thumbnail), but here's the text of it:

A hippopotamus has swallowed a dwarf in a circus accident in northern Thailand. "A dwarf, nicknamed Od, died when he bounced sideways from a trampoline and was swallowed by a yawning hippopotamus, which was waiting to appear in the next act," the Pattaya Mail reported. "Vets on the scene said Hilda the Hippo had a gag reflex which automatically caused her to swallow." The vets said it was the first time the hefty vegetarian had ever eaten a circus performer. "Unfortunately, the 1000 plus spectators continued to applaud wildly until common sense dictated there had been a tragic mistake. Police said the trampoline has been sent for forensic analysis."

The one true detail in the story is that the Pattaya Mail did indeed report this. However, everything else seems far too outlandish to possibly be true. Though, who knows. Weird things can happen.

Animals Death

Posted on Wed Feb 23, 2005


Snopes has "An Austrian circus dwarf died recently when he bounced sideways from a trampoline and was swallowed by a hippopotamus. Seven thousand people watched as little Franz Dasch popped into the mouth of Hilda the Hippo and the animal's gag reflex forced it to swallow. The crowd applauded wildly before other circus people realized what had happened."
Allegedly from the Manchester Evening News.

Hey, wouldn't it be great if it wasn't the same guy, and Hilda was an evil serial killer?
After all, no one ever suspects the hippopotamus...
Posted by Boo  on  Thu Feb 24, 2005  at  03:29 AM
I tend to think it's BS (or HS, in this case). I don't think it would be possible for an hippo to swallow a dwarf without chewing him (or her) up first. I think their throat would be too small (the hippo's, not the dwarf's). I also don't think it's possible to "bounce sideways from a trampoline" at a shallow enough angle to end up in a yawning hippo's mouth.
Posted by JoeSixpack  on  Thu Feb 24, 2005  at  05:32 AM
I've bounced sideways from a trampoline...although, usually this occurs when there is another bouncer.

Yeah...how the hell do you swallow a dwarf?? I can't even swallow rice w/o chewing it first.
Posted by Maegan  on  Thu Feb 24, 2005  at  05:41 AM
The distinctly un-Thai name of Hilda makes me suspect that the Pattaya Mail has simply recycled the story cited by Snopes. Unless, of course, Boo is right, and Hilda is a roving serial dwarf-eater.

I can't blame the paper, though. What editor could possibly resist the headline, "Hippo Eats Dwarf"? It's right up there with "Jesus wept" for sheer evocativeness.
Posted by Big Gary C  on  Thu Feb 24, 2005  at  06:59 AM
I'm tempted to believe it. Stranger things have happened.
Posted by PlantPerson  on  Thu Feb 24, 2005  at  07:51 AM
The Darwin Awards also acknowledges this incident as an Urban Legend. I think this is one for the Mythbusters to solve!
Posted by Captain Platypus  on  Thu Feb 24, 2005  at  08:06 AM
about mythbusters - it would be nice episode - imagine, little version of "Buster" jumps from catapult. Hippo spits it. Then "Buster" is replaced by little more delicious pig. And hippo swallow it.
Posted by Loxx  on  Thu Feb 24, 2005  at  08:32 AM
FYI on Mythbusters,
Apparently the Hippo eat Dwarf idea has already been pitched to them. I haven't seen them do much with animals though, and this one would be extremely difficult to recreate!
Posted by Captain Platypus  on  Thu Feb 24, 2005  at  09:32 AM
"... I haven't seen them do much with animals though, and this one would be extremely difficult to recreate!"

Yeah, and if the hippo choked on the dwarf, you could have offing an endangered species (depending on what kind of hippo was used) on your conscience.

... It probably wouldn't be too good for the little person, either.
Posted by Big Gary C  on  Thu Feb 24, 2005  at  11:16 AM
If the Mythbusters do recrate this myth they'll most likly make a jello mold shaped like a little person.
Posted by Dany  on  Thu Feb 24, 2005  at  12:33 PM
A jello mold wouldn't be a good test. It's much easier to swallow a blob of jello than it is to swallow a live human or animal the same size, what with all the bones, skin, fingernails, etc., you'd be trying to get down.
Posted by Big Gary C  on  Thu Feb 24, 2005  at  05:12 PM
What about catapulting 80 lbs of ground beef shaped into the form of a small man through the air, and seeing if a hippo will swallow it? The trick will be to avoid getting the hippo too angry from repeatedly hitting it with the meat. Hippos can get violent when angry.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Thu Feb 24, 2005  at  05:22 PM
This is fake. I told my grandmother about it and she said that hippos don't eat meat.
Posted by Dany  on  Thu Feb 24, 2005  at  06:16 PM

Read the story! It, or no one else, said the hippo ATE any meat. Swallow, gag reflex, yawning...

Joe, Thanks for the link.

Char???, Sorry forgot to look at spelling. I promise not to ressurect that thread if you help kill the Natash / X-ray vision thread. That argument has WORN THIN.

Posted by Mark-N-Isa  on  Thu Feb 24, 2005  at  07:09 PM
Hippos do eat meat. Check out Gerald Durrell's "The Stationary Ark" for an account of Hercules the hippo's appetite for tapirs.
Posted by Ledasmom  on  Thu Feb 24, 2005  at  08:26 PM
summing up a possibility:

discovery channel
1 dwarf
1 hippo

and let
Posted by Unfairly Balanced  on  Fri Feb 25, 2005  at  06:21 AM
Doesn't a gag reflex *stop* one from swallowing?
Posted by paul in prague  on  Fri Feb 25, 2005  at  06:24 AM
The only way we can truly prove or disprove this myth is to take a road trip to Thailand and find one of the 1000 (7,000 in some accounts) eye witnesses.

Who's with me?

And who's paying, because I can't!
Posted by Captain Platypus  on  Fri Feb 25, 2005  at  07:11 AM
Did the Snopes article say where the incident they reported on happened? If they didn't mention where, it could have happened in Northern Thailand since the Thai people enjoyed foriegn acts when I was stationed there thirty years ago and I doubt that has changed much. However, Pattaya is in Southern Thailand, they probably wouldn't have a first-hand report, just something off the wire. So it might be the Snopes report reprinted. Or maybe, the Pattaya Mail changed the report and located it in Thailand where their readers could be more interested in the story. Nah, journalists would never doctor a story like that.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Sat Feb 26, 2005  at  09:35 AM
The snopes article didn't really analyze the hippo-eats-dwarf tale. It was just included in a long list of odd stories reported by newspapers. Their version had it as an Austrian circus, as reported by the Manchester Evening News. There was no date for the article given. But everything I can find on the internet about this seems to source the Thai version of the story.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Sat Feb 26, 2005  at  10:30 AM
Hippos also put out fires.
Posted by Super Genius  on  Tue Mar 01, 2005  at  02:56 PM
Dooohhh, I meant Rhino not hippo!!!!!
Posted by Super Genius  on  Wed Mar 02, 2005  at  03:21 PM
I am sort of confused. On one side, if the Hippo had swallowed the dwarf, he probably could have escaped from the hippo's gut in time. On the other, much stranger things have happened, like ligers, or mega-tsunami's...
Posted by Marcello E. Miranda  on  Sat Aug 06, 2005  at  06:56 PM
Who's ever been to a circus with a hippo in? What does a hippo do in a circus - magic?
Posted by Flare  on  Fri Nov 18, 2005  at  03:12 AM
It eats dwarves, I'm guessing.
Posted by TheGreatUnwashed  on  Fri Feb 17, 2006  at  02:41 PM
You are Fred MacCauley and I claim the
Posted by percy strange  on  Sat Feb 18, 2006  at  06:05 AM
"Police said the trampoline has been sent for forensic analysis"

Yeah, right.
Posted by Leszek Swirski  on  Sun Feb 19, 2006  at  01:16 PM
This reminds me of the novel written about 1984 called "Dwarf Rapes Nun, Flees in UFO" about a sleepy midwestern paper that gets bought out by a Rupert Murdoch type. The new editor is a crazed Brit who is on a search for the Ultimate Tabloid Headline.
Posted by Tom  on  Fri Mar 03, 2006  at  07:50 AM
I am pleased to confirm that this story is indeed true and that I am actually the midget in question. The only error in the tale is the omission of the fact that I did in fact survive the incident after being secreted from the hippos rectum following a intensive 3-day ordeal which involved being digested alive.

Thankfully as a child I was taught how to hold my breath for days at a time by an elderly Tibetan monk by the name of Keith, I believe it was this training that saved my life whilst inside the hippo.

I hope this clears things up.
Posted by bruvafromauvamuva  on  Wed May 17, 2006  at  08:44 AM
Good to hear your news and to find that, despite your apparent inattention during my lectures, you were actually paying attention and have consequently benefitted.

"Recognize that all words are part false and part true, limited by our imperfect understanding. But strive always for honesty within yourself."
Master Keith
Posted by percy_strange  on  Thu May 18, 2006  at  03:56 PM
So, here's where it all began!
Posted by SoxSweepAgain  on  Fri Jul 07, 2006  at  01:19 PM
false false false!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by i dont know  on  Fri Sep 08, 2006  at  09:21 AM
wow i cant beileve that a hippo can really a dwarf its so not possiable i swear 🐍 lol its just not impossible for it to happen well at least i think not
Posted by dj.reap  on  Tue Sep 12, 2006  at  09:19 AM
It doesn't seem impossible to me. Hippos have a HUGE mouth. They can open their mouth so much that a 4 feet tall child could fit inside their mouth. Now imagine a dwarf...

Their mouth is like a giant cave, it's truly colossal. A dwarf is so small that could easily fit inside their mouth and be swallowed by them.

Maybe hippos don't eat people, but I'm sure they would be able to eat a dwarf.
Posted by Bernardo Santos  on  Fri Sep 29, 2006  at  07:27 AM
WOW!!! how crazy is that, thats amazing. Poor dwarf.
Posted by Edward Mann  on  Sun Oct 15, 2006  at  12:42 PM
yeah yeah yeah,,,,
who would believe this shite?
luke is disgusted to learn the truth of the bullshit lol hahahahahahahaha
Posted by me,myself and i  on  Mon Mar 19, 2007  at  05:32 AM
Holy Atlantic Ocean!!!!! That must of been my long lost cousin! He disappeared after taking his pet hippo on a walk. Well at least we know what happened to him now. Rest his small soul!! :(
Posted by Jacoibia Manaiea  on  Tue Apr 03, 2007  at  12:08 PM
'The vets said it was the first time the hefty vegetarian had ever eaten a circus performer.'

What a stupid thing to say.
I don't even have a response to that, rediculous comment.
I have to say, it's unfortunate both the hippo and dwarf died, but I did giggle. Does this make me a terrible person?
Posted by Kathryn  on  Wed Apr 18, 2007  at  09:55 AM
Why are hippos even in circuses? I mean they don't have any circus talent at all!

But, you never know what people do these days. I mean it could happen, a hippo's mouth is pretty big!!! I highly doubt it but, you never really know!!
Posted by Cookie15  on  Thu Apr 19, 2007  at  03:48 PM
Kathryn and Cookie 15,

There's a clue in the title of the website:


Posted by percy_strange  on  Sat May 12, 2007  at  09:13 PM
people are dumb "how do you swallow a dwarf?!?!?!" stupid. hippos are huge. there mouths could EASY swallow a dwarf. even a normal sized human. and yes, you can jump sideways from trampolines, you just have to not be handicapped, stupids. it could totally be true, but probably is not
Posted by Alexei  on  Mon May 21, 2007  at  07:14 PM
For nine and a half years I raised hippos for fun and profit (I found there is more money in alligators though and switched) and I can assure you that a full grown hippo of either sex can swallow a dwarf. Anything that eats 200 kilos of grass everyday, as a hippo does, has no problem with something weighing 35 kilos.
Posted by Gospacho Holsteen  on  Thu May 24, 2007  at  08:49 PM
You people are idiots...
Posted by Nathan  on  Fri Jun 22, 2007  at  02:24 PM
this is funny lol my mate is only 4ft i think im going to buy me a hippo! cmon all u midgets i got a hippo and im not afraid to use her ive also got a trampoline to bounce off into a hippos mouth lol
Posted by gary  on  Thu Jul 12, 2007  at  04:25 AM
Nope Hippo can swallow a man whole, as they can dislocate their jaw.

But for the dwarf to fall directly into hippo mouth and have it swalloed is much harder as hippo would have to be prepared and the landing must be perfect.
Posted by zinny999  on  Sun Oct 07, 2007  at  08:42 PM
I believe the stupid dwarf got gagged down, hippos kill more people in Africa than all the other animals COMBINED, even cheetahs, lions, and alligators.
Posted by Homer  on  Tue Oct 16, 2007  at  08:25 PM
I am from Mars
Posted by Homer  on  Tue Oct 16, 2007  at  08:26 PM
this is retarted!!
Posted by SALLY ANDERSON  on  Tue Dec 18, 2007  at  01:17 PM
Anyway, to prove this come along to thailand.
Posted by thailandprof  on  Sun Feb 10, 2008  at  06:38 AM
Watch out at discovery,
Posted by pattaya  on  Tue May 13, 2008  at  08:57 PM
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