Natasha Vrany, 39, has claimed that she and her cousin Belinda Newman, 62, were attacked by a hippo at a South African petting farm. According to Natasha, she was thrown around “like a rag doll” and her cousin was left clutching her own intestines. She took the time to leave a one-star review on TripAdvisor.
Natasha and Belinda from Alberton were visiting Jessica’s Place in Hoedspruit, Limpopo, on November 14, reports DailyMail. It is here that Natasha alleges the gruesome attack took place.
The nature reserve, described as “world famous” by Independent Media, is home to two hippos. Jessica, 21, and nine-year-old Richie (who allegedly made the attack) were rescued as babies. Tony and Shirley Joubert runs the reserve and referred to the hippos as child-like, having known them for almost their entire lives.
According to the Jessica’s Place website, the hippos are so tame that you can feed them and even give them back rubs.
We took a look at some other reviews on TripAdvisor:
- “You enter and are greeted by Elizabeth, she is sweet and engaging and knowledgeable about Jessica, she plays you a video about the hippo and leads you down and you feed Jessica corn and tea & this hippo is so loving and gentle, she enjoys the interaction and definitely the tea! She is a one of a kind hippo!”
- “What an amazing experience! Not just for the kids but adults too! We were welcomed and enjoyed the personal interaction with Jessica, feeding her and giving her a kiss! I would definitely recommend this experience!”
- “Enjoyed the interaction with a wild animal. Hippos kill the most people. Jessica is special. Even if you just go and listen to Jessica’s story, it is fascinating!!”
- “Absolutely incredible and amazing and a once in a lifetime opportunity! Don’t miss this! To be up close to a Hippo.. To feed and touch them is one of the best things I have ever experienced.”
Natasha told IOL that she was attacked by Richie at the premises of the Jouberts. However, Tony told Pretoria News that the attack happened outside their premises, next to the Blyde River and that Richie was definitely not the culprit.
According to Natasha, she and her cousin were sitting on the lawn with their backs away from the river when Richie came dashing out. She says that she then jumped to her feet but the hippo pushed her over and began biting her legs. Richie allegedly had both of her legs in his mouth and began flinging her around “like a rag doll.”
At this point, Natasha claims that she screamed to Tony to not let Richie drag her into the river. She says that Tony was slapping Richie and saying, ‘Seun moenie’ (Seun don’t).“
Natasha said that she was then released from the hippo’s grip when her cousin, Belinda Newman, jumped on his back. Belinda has reportedly known the Joubert’s for over 20 years.
“He opened his mouth softly, and I was able to fall out of his mouth. He then turned on Belinda, pushing her to the ground, and started ripping her stomach to pieces,” she told IOL.
At this point, despite being allegedly injured, she ran back to the house and asked Shirley (Tony’s wife) to bring a rifle. Here, she says she passed out in the kitchen. She adds that when she woke, Belinda was standing over her, holding her intestines.
Natasha said that she wanted to call the paramedics but was allegedly told by Tony that it was “just a scratch”.
“He also agreed to hand over my phone if we say the incident happened outside his property and that it was a wild hippo who had attacked us,” she said.
According to IOL, the two were operated on in a nearby hospital.
Tony Joubert maintained that the incident occurred outside his premises, and he said when he saw the “wild hippo” getting hold of Vrany, he jumped into action. He denies not allowing the women to use a phone to call paramedics.
Picture: TripAdvisor (Jessica the hippo)