It looks like a perfect illustration of the story of how the elephant got its trunk.
However, sadly for this youngster, this was not a scene from Kipling’s Just So Stories but a painful reality.
Under the supervision of his family, the baby elephant went to the edge of a waterhole to drink.
Unfortunately, the leafy pond was the perfect camouflage for a hungry crocodile, which clamped its teeth on the end of its surprised victim’s trunk and began a tug-of-war.
Or, as Kipling writes in The Elephant’s Child: ‘And the Baby Elephant spread all four of his little legs and pulled, pulled, pulled, and his nose kept stretching; and the Crocodile wags its tail like an oar, it pulled and pulled and pulled, and with each pull, the Baby Elephant’s nose grows longer and longer – and it in.ju.red him…’
Hearing the baby’s cry for help, the elephants immediately ran to rescue it, driving away from the crocodile by trumpeting and hitting the ground. After the at.ta.ck, the whole herd stayed with the young.
When the baby had picked up the cows together, they crossed the waterhole safely, only a few yards from where the crocodile was hiding.
These photos were taken by amateur photographer Johan Opperman at Kruger National Park in South Africa.
He said: ‘The crocodile was hoping for a nice lunch with elephants on the menu.
“From a few experts, I’ve heard that this is rare, and crocodiles don’t usually try to catch elephants.”