Cocaine Hippos – Pablo Escobar’s Pets were as Dangerous as Him

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/ published 4 years ago

Cocaine Hippos – Pablo Escobar’s Pets were as Dangerous as Him

At the height of his power, Escobar was making more than $400 million per week, and he built a large hacienda to show off his wealth. There, he had a zoo with exotic animals

Pablo Escobar is known as one of the most dangerous crime lord of all times. The Columbian drug lord build an empire to the point he was making more than $400 million per week. And when you have as much money as Pablo, you can do whatever you like. For Escobar, that meant showing his wealth to others.

Quick Hippo Facts

- The hippo, native to Africa, has an average length of 15 feet and weight of 7,000 pounds

- The hippo is the third largest land mammal on the continent of Africa

- Hippos have a lifespan of 50 years

- They spend most of their day under water in groups, as they are excellent swimmers. During the night, they search for food

- Even though they look friendly, hippos are considered one of the most aggressive animals on the planet

- More than 3,000 people die every year as a result of a hippo attack

- They can be found in 29 African countries

How Escobar found love for hippos?

Escobar was born and raised in Medellin. However, when he became rich, he moved away from the city. He bought 7.7 square miles of land 110 miles away from Medellin. There, he built his residence known as the Hacienda Napoles.


The residence had some amenities that satisfied his extravagant taste and needs, like an airstrip to fly his product, and a helipad to accommodate his guests.  He also had a bullring made, where he held bull fights, concerts for his friends, and much more.

The nature of the residence is breathtaking. The former drug lord had 14 manmade lakes made, and he also establishes his own private zoo. There, he brought in the first four hippos. They were smuggled from the United States, and the hacienda proved to be an excellent habitat. Hippos had all the water and grass they needed, plus they had the hot weather they were used to.

The animals were taken care of while Escobar was alive. He wanted to use them as a “show-off” of his wealth. After all, not many people can say they have hippos in their own private zoo. Buses with children arrived at the property on a daily basis to visit his zoo, strengthening his reputation as a modern Robin Hood.

War on Escobar

Everything changed when the state of Colombia declared war on Pablo Escobar. He fled the hacienda, and became a fugitive. The zoo animals were left to starve. The Colombian government seized control of the property after his death.

And while most of the animals were sent to zoos, the hippos stayed in Colombia. Authorities were not willing to take the risk and struggle of moving the dangerous and huge animals. So they left them be.

Soon after the hippos broke the fence, and started to reproduce. From four hippos, soon after, there were around 40 hippos living in Colombia. Currently, 26 of them are still residing in the territory of the Hacienda.

At the beginning, there were reports of the animals doing damage on farms and private properties. Once a hippo entered a city, which terrified people.

Soon, the story of Escobar’s hippos became known around the globe. The government took control of the property, and turned it into a theme park, with water park and a zoo built. Many exotic animals were brought in, but no new hippos.



As for the hippos, and how dangerous they were, National Geographic made a documentary in 2010, titled “Cocaine Hippos”.

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