Saturday, November 6, 2010

Baby elephant lucky escape from a crocodile

It looks like the perfect illustration for the tale of how the elephant got its trunk.

Sadly for this youngster, however, this was no scene from Kipling’s Just So Stories but all-too-painful reality.

Under the watchful eye of its family, the baby elephant had gone to the edge of an African waterhole for a drink.

Unfortunately, the leafy pond was perfect camouflage for a hungry crocodile, which clamped its teeth on to the end of its surprised victim’s trunk and began a tug-of-war.

Or, as Kipling writes in The Elephant’s Child: ‘And the Elephant’s Child spread all his little four legs and pulled, and pulled, and pulled, and his nose kept on stretching; and the Crocodile threshed his tail like an oar, and he pulled, and pulled, and pulled, and at each pull the Elephant’s Child’s nose grew longer and longer – and it hurt him...’

Hearing the baby’s calls of distress, the herd of elephants immediately went to its rescue, scaring off the crocodile by trumpeting and stamping the ground. After the attack the herd stayed with the youngster.

When the baby had recovered the herd crossed the waterhole together in safety, only yards from where the crocodile had been hiding.

These pictures were taken by amateur photographer Johan Opperman in the Kruger National Park in South Africa.

He said: ‘The crocodile was hoping for a nice lunch with elephant on the menu.

‘From a couple of experts, I’ve heard that this is very rare, and that crocodiles do not normally try to catch elephants.’

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