They tried to tell Marius Els that a hippo couldn't be domesticated. Unfortunately for the South African farmer, they were right. The 40-year-old army major was killed by Humphrey, a 6-year-old "pet" hippo he considered one of the family, the Guardian reports. The 2,600-pound animal bit Els, who was known to ride on the hippo's back, before dragging him into the water and killing him. "Humphrey's like a son to me, he's just like a human," Els said earlier this year.
"There's a relationship between me and Humphrey and that's what some people don't understand," he added. "They think you can only have a relationship with dogs, cats and domestic animals. But I have a relationship with the most dangerous animal in Africa." Els claimed the hippo was a "gentle giant," but it had been known to cause trouble: It chased a canoeist and his grandson into a tree earlier this year, and had repeatedly broken out of its enclosure to chase golfers at a local club.