This is the moment a leopard came too close to a herd of elephants – and got a soaking for its troubles.
The big cat tries her luck with a herd of 15 elephants by stalking the herd and sipping from the same waterhole.
But one of the herd spotted the leopard, decided it was too bold, and sprayed a stream of water in its direction to chase it away.
The moment was captured by Mark Müller, 46, at the Kalkeuwel waterhole in Etosha National Park, Namibia, as he watched elephants play.
The Swiss photographer said: ‘They were splashing, spraying water on their backs, and being quite noisy.’
But other animals around, including giraffes and zebras, clearly sensed the danger and moved away.
Mr. Müller said: ‘Suddenly I spotted a leopard walking into the open area around the waterhole.
‘The leopard was calm and didn’t show any signs of fear, just walking among the elephants and some giraffes to the waterhole, crouched down, and started pouring water on it.
‘The first elephants must have been as surprised as I was at the cat’s careless attitude, despite the proximity of much larger elephants.’
The elephants began to surround the leopard to intimidate.
It started to walk away but stopped between some of the herd and a giraffe.
And that’s when an elephant decided to teach the smaller creature a lesson.
“What I didn’t notice at the time was that one of the elephants must have sucked up a trunk full of water,” Mr. Müller said.
The elephant sprayed water on the leopard, standing no more than five meters away with a flash. ”
The impromptu shower sent the leopard running through the bushes and left Mr. Müller, who uses a Nikon F4 camera, reeling from his good fortune.
He said: ‘I don’t think I breathed since the leopard started walking among the elephants to the waterhole.
‘The shower was so sudden, and I was fortunate to capture it – the footage could have lasted two seconds.
‘I knew right away that I had witnessed something extraordinary.
“Observing leopards in the wild is elusive enough, but this was one-of-a-kind.”