Hippo and Elephant ConfrontationThe picture sequence below was taken from the hide at Masuma Dam in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, where some dams and pans are artificially fed by pumping underground water into them.
At these dams the water becomes very muddy, mainly from elephants wallowing, so there is competition for fresh water.
At Masuma the elephants were monopolizing the furrow that feeds fresh water into the dam when an
adult hippo decided to leave the safety of the dam in search of fresh water to drink. At this point an
adoloscent elephant, full of youthful bravado, approached the drinking hippo.
Cheeky young elephant, its ears flapping and trunk outstretched, confronts adult hippo
The hippo, unfazed, merely glares at the young intruder ...
Who, realizing he's more than met his match, moves away sheepishly
This seems to trigger a hostile reaction in one of the adult elephants, which decides to intervene
The hippo, realizing the heavy artillery is approaching, takes evasive action ...
And moves away as the elephant gets nearer
Its route blocked by another (out-of-view) elephant, the hippo is forced to swing to its right, away from the water
Trapped between the irritated elephant and another on its left, the hippo is left a small gap ...
Which it quickly seizes as it heads for safety of the water
Before plunging into the muddy dam
And splashing off, out of harm's way
The satisfied elephant, having achieved its goal, watches as the hippo moves further into the dam, away from the fresh water
One may well ask whether the hippo was in any real danger from the elephants. Probably not, as hippos and elephants usually co-existent in relative harmony around water. Both have few enemies other than man, so not much scares them.
It's unlikely that a hippo, in spite of its size and formidable jaws and teeth, could do much harm to an adult elephant on land, while an elephant could conceivably gore a hippo with its tusks, as they've certainly been known to do to adult rhinos.
Camera Gear Used: Canon EOS 400D digital body; Lens: Canon 70-300 IS Zoom; Focal Length: Various; Shutter speed: 1/800; Aperture: f/5.6; ISO: 200.
© Scotch Macaskill, www.wildlife-pictures-online.com
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