Battle of the jaw; How a primary school teacher fought a hyena to save his life

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A primary school teacher in Kajiado was forced to bite hyena’s nose to save his life during an attack on Valentine’s Day.

John Matipei, 42, said he is thankful to God for saving his life after battling the beast for almost an hour barehanded.

He is recuperating at the Kajiado county hospital.

“It was a matter of life and death and I had no weapon with me as it attacked me while I was fetching water for my goats around 5 pm after,” he said.

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He went on; “As soon as I had entered the well, the hyena landed on my thigh. I attempted to kick it but it did not let go. When I turned around it landed on my chest and faced me directly, that is when I bit its nose,” said Matipei.

Matipei said he then jumped into the water and used mud to blind the animal before it fled leaving the teacher with both of his hands broken and part of his left thigh swallowed by the hyena.

The physician, attending to him, Dr. Odhiambo Opiyo said Matipei will stay longer in the hospital because of the injuries.His wife, Jacqueline Matipei said the beast almost killed her husband on Valentine’s Day.

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“I was looking forward to a great evening with my loving husband. I had prepared well to treat him, but that beast spoiled it all,” said Jacqueline.
Matipei teaches at Emukutan Primary School near Maili 46 in Kajiado West Sub County where he is the deputy teacher.
“We are only two teachers, the head teacher and me with 119 pupils in Class One to Six. As I am here now, my head teacher is teaching all the six classes,” said the injured teacher.

Kajiado Knut executive secretary, Elly Korinko visited Matipei at the hospital and appealed to teachers’ service commission to deploy more teachers to the school.

The hyena is a well known scavenger of Africa. The hyena cannot just be underestimated  as an animal that only feeds on leftover by other animals. The truth is, most time, they find food themselves by hunting. They have exceptionally powerful jaws. Their bite force measured at 1100 pounds per square inch (psi), which is more powerful than lions and tigers.

The spotted hyena is a social animal which lives in large groups called clans. In large groups, spotted hyenas aim for large prey like cape buffalo, wildebeest or rhino. Their bite is strong enough to crush the bones of the prey. Spotted hyenas also could eat their prey as a whole even without leaving its bones.

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