Nature has provided us with plenty of alpha male face-offs, but this footage of a male rhino and a male elephant going head-to-head is one of the best. You can almost see testosterone as two giant male egos clashing in the hot African sun. The video was captured by Joe Gregory while on safari. Obviously, this particular location is very remote and only accessible by boat, so we were all honored to see such special footage of the animals that live there.
The video opens when a large male white rhino approaches a herd of elephants. Rhinos have poor eyesight, so this could be a real bug. He stopped trying to appear casual, but was spotted by a young bull elephant, which was clearly up for proof! Elephants are known to be peaceful animals and are usually left alone. However, they respond to threats and begin to demonstrate their dominance through displays of strength and aggression. With their huge heads, broad bodies and sharp horns, rhinos can be quite intimidating. But they’re also usually calm, unless they’re scared.
In the clip, the young bull elephant adopts a typical dominant body language posture, with his head raised and his tusks held high, making it easy for opponents to see. He also employs the classic behavior of bobbing the trunk and shaking his head.
But the best part is how he uses the branches as weapons! At first, it was held aloft on the bridge of his tree trunk, then landed at the rhino’s feet in the “grab my coat” pose, a position humans use before a Saturday night bar fight!
But things get better than that. The rhino thought he had had enough of all this and charged the elephant with its deadly horns. Rhino horns are made of tightly woven keratin and can grow to over 20 inches. If the horns snap off, they can grow back, but this takes years. Rhino horns are deadly weapons with the potential for serious consequences, even on elephants.
Maybe the elephant knew this rhino’s horn could cause serious damage? He decided to play smart and used the trunk to pick up the cane. He threw it on the rhino’s head, barely touching his face. This proved to be a very successful tactic, with the rhino taking a few steps back before the video ended with an unsettling confrontation with its opponent about 10 feet away. These two fearsome animals seem to have reached a point of mutual respect, and we can only hope they’re both on the road safely.
Want to see more amazing elephant shots? Check these out:
Woman by pool accidentally visited by elephant
Watch Elephants maim and throw a full-sized buffalo like it’s nothing
This bold elephant inadvertently stole sugar cane straight from the truck!
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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