THIS is the moment a hippopotamus stopped traffic in Spain after escaping from a circus.

Spotted wondering the streets of La Garrovilla, in Badajoz province, the animal was captured by Guardia Civil and has now been safely returned to its owners – a travelling circus.

Due to their aggressive behaviour hippos are widely regarded as one of the world’s most dangerous animals with an average of 2,900 people killed a year by the omnivore, in comparison to six killed by sharks.

Adult hippos average 1,500 kg (3,310 lb) and are capable of running at 30 km/h (19 mph) over short distances.