This baby elephant had a lucky escape after a crocodile tried to bite off his trunk – only for his mother to come to the rescue.
In the real-life version of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, this calf had been splashing around the shallow end of a watering hole in the African bush as the crocodile launched out of the water and gripped his trunk.
The rest of the herd stood around in amazement, trumpeting and snorting as they fought to save the helpless baby elephant from the attack.
The tiny baby elephant defeated the reptile and stumbled backwards to fend off the challenge, leaving the panicking crocodile back in the murky water.
The incredible photos were captured with the camera of a Zimbabwean farmer and amateur photographer Francois Borman by Mana Pools in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi Valley.
Francois, 48, said: ‘I was out in the bush for a few hours waiting for some action – but this is the last thing I expected to see!
‘I usually have high expectations when I go out with my camera, and this scene is truly amazing to witness.
‘I saw a herd of tiny elephants coming down to drink – a local crocodile spotted them and spent time sizing them up, stalking the young calf playing in the shallows.
“The baby elephant was clearly looking forward to the drink because he ran straight in and fell into the shallow, muddy water, rolling around and splashing.”
He added: “It didn’t have to worry about the world, and it certainly didn’t think about the dangers that can lurk in the murky waters.
‘The calf was very young and didn’t yet know how to use the trunk for drinking – it knelt to drink water with its mouth; at a stage, it stood up and stretched the trunk into the water to try it.
“Suddenly, the crocodile leaped onto the baby elephant’s trunk, grabbing it – it was a mess.
‘The calf let out a gurgling squeak and started a fight for his life with the crocodile.
‘Time stood still as the calf struggled, and with great determination, almost immediately pulled the crocodile out of the water.
‘Other elephants rushed towards it, and the crocodile eventually let the calf go.
“I was so excited when I saw my pictures – I just knew they were special.
‘Wildlife photographers spend a lot of time waiting around, waiting and hoping for that particular sight – photos like this are the reward. “