Safari guide Paul Templer lost an arm and had almost 40 bite wounds after he was swallowed and violently thrashed around by a  hippo in the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe.

According to the Mirror, 50 year old Paul was paddling along the Zambezi River when everything suddenly “went dark and quiet”.

"I had no idea whatsoever what had hit me. All I knew is from my waist up I wasn’t dry but I wasn’t wet either like my legs were.

"I could feel this incredible pressure crushing down on my lower back." Paul said.

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Paul was with his colleague Evans Namasango, who drowned after he was knocked out of the canoe during the horrifying incident in March 1996.

"There was this loud thud behind me and I knew that thud. It was the sound of a hippo hitting a canoe.

"I turned to see the back of the canoe maybe three feet out of the water atop a hippo and the apprentice guide (Mr Namasango) flying out of it."

He turned around and paddled towards Mr Namasango in a desperate attempt to save him.

"I pull up alongside him, lean over to grab him and it’s almost a little too made-for-Hollywood moment with our fingers almost touching.

"Suddenly everything just went dark and quiet. I struggled to break free.

"I was sitting in (the hippo's mouth) with my arms pressed to my sides. I could feel the bristles on a hippo’s snout.

"My first response was just complete relief because I feared I was inside a croc, and in a weird way there’s some solace being in a hippo.

"The hippo half spit, half choked me out and I burst to the surface, grab a lung full of fresh air and I’m face to face with Evans.

"I started swimming away but Evans was struggling to stay afloat. When I looked at him I could see he was absolutely terrified and in the grips of panic.

"I swam back to him, then suddenly, wham, I was in the hippo’s throat again, but this time my legs were down his throat and he started thrashing me around again."

"That lasted an odd second and then I thought 'I’ve got to get out of here', but I couldn’t do anything because I’m tightly wedged in his mouth."

"He threw me up in the air and I did a half twist before I fell back into his mouth and he bit down so hard I thought he was going to bite me in half."

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But the hippo then surged to the surface and spit him out again. He was rescued by a fellow guide and kayaker, named Mack, who dragged him to rocks and tried to stem the flow of blood as Mr Templer went into shock.

The former British Army serviceman miraculously escaped the hippo's jaws and survived despite suffering gruesome injuries that resulted in his left arm being amputated.

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Paul Templer. Photo from facebook

Paul now has become a motivational speaker telling hundreds about his survival story.

He wrote a book called What’s left of me and teaches people to keep a safe distance from hippos in water.

The hippo is the world's deadliest large land mammal, killing about 500 people a year in Africa.

Paul also has since launched the Templer Foundation which helps people affected by post traumatic stress disorder and terminally ill and disabled children and their families.