Footage Reveals The One Animal Steve Irwin Refused To Wrangle
When you jump on crocodiles for a living, the word fear is probably not one with which you are particularly well acquainted. Certainly, Steve Irwin could never be described as a wimp.
Across his long career of caring for and conserving some of Australia's most dangerous animals, the Crocodile Hunter was undaunted by almost every creature that came across his path, but some old footage has shown the one beast that made even Steve crikey his pants: the humble hippo.
The video, from the appropriately named Steve's Most Dangerous Adventures, dates back to 2001 and shows Irwin watching on from a canoe as two male hippos have a square go in the water. The dominant male, a 20 year old bull hippo, goes for a subordinate before being distracted by the encroaching Australian, who decides that it's about time to scarper.
Credit: Steve's Most Dangerous Adventure/Animal Planet
Steve was right to be worried. Hippos might be ungainly, but they are known as one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. They are ranked as the most deadly of all the large mammals on the continent, killing 500 people per year, well more than lions, wolves and elephants combined.
Hippos are incredibly large, weighing over 1500 kilos on average, and are much faster than their ungainly physique would suggest, possessing rare mobility both in and out of water. Male hippos generally eat a vegetarian diet but are incredibly combative with each other as well as being territorial and protective of their cows, as female hippos are known, which can lead them to attack humans who stray too close to them.
Hippos still pale in comparison, however, to the over 700,000 killed by mosquitoes and the near 500,000 killed by - lest we forget - other humans. The majority of animal-related deaths in Africa are not caused by large, aggressive mammals such as the hippo but by small, biting insects such as tsetse flies and assassin bugs.
Steve himself was famously killed by a much more benign animal, the stingray, while filming in 2006. His legacy lives on at Australia Zoo on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, where he was based for much of his career and through his wife Terri and children and Bob - who already has his own TV spot on the Australia Zoo YouTube channel - and Bindi, an actress and presenter.
Featured Image Credit: PA