A crocodile lurks under the nose of a young elephant; photo from Caters News Agency used by permission
A young elephant innocently walked up to a watering hole to get a drink of water, not knowing of the danger lurking right under its nose until it was too late. As the pachyderm dipped its trunk into the water, a crocodile leaped up from out of the water and latched on to the elephant’s trunk.
Wildlife photographer Ian Salisbury, who is also a general manager of a safari lodge at the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, captured the amazing wildlife moment in a series of photographs.
Ouch! The crocodile latched on to the elephant’s trunk; photo from Caters News Agency used by permission
“You know what they say about sticking your nose in where it is not wanted … well, this elephant found that out the hard way this afternoon,” Salisbury posted on his Facebook page Oct. 29.
A guest at the lodge reported seeing a similar attack earlier in the day so Salisbury returned to the scene in hopes of photographing another encounter.
“The action was so quick—a couple of seconds—and fortunately I had the camera pointing in the right direction,” Salisbury told the U.K. Daily Mail. “Having spent 30 years in the African bush, I realize how lucky I was to catch the scene.”
Elephant whips its trunk to dislodge the crocodile; photo from Caters News Agency used by permission
The elephant whipped its trunk out of the crocodile’s jaws. Salisbury said it sustained a few scratches, but no real damage was done.
“For those of you who wanted to know what happened next. … Well, the elephant just trumpeted, blew its nose, and fled into the bush … maybe a little wiser?” Salisbury said on Facebook.
Elephant trumpets before fleeing into the bush; photo from Caters News Agency used by permission
The incident prompted comparisons to the children’s story by Rudyard Kipling. “The Elephant’s Child” depicts how the elephant got its trunk: by a crocodile stretching it out by pulling on it.
Salisbury said on Facebook that the elephant was “probably trumpeting in a slightly higher key” after the incident, adding, “Maybe in the future he will think twice about which bars he hangs out in?”