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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.
Categories: Animals, Death
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 23, 2005
Comments (61)
More from the Hoax Museum Archives:
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. 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
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