Startled vacationers made a little more than they bargained for when a cheeky elephant nearly toppled their jeep.
The curious animal poked its head inside the car window in search of food but got in its trunk and tusks caught – completely blocking the car from moving.
As the panicked driver tried to speed away, frightened passengers stopped to take selfies, and a man jumped off the side of the jeep to escape the trunk.
The terrifying close call was heard by Russian wildlife photographer Sergey Savvi, 37, on Safari in Sri Lanka’s Yala National Park with his wife, Julia.
He said: ‘It was horrifying and amazing at the same time.
‘The elephant was screaming like crazy, creating dust clouds with his feet and shaking the quiet jeep easily as it was not a heavy vehicle full of people.
“For a moment, I thought the elephant was going to overturn the jeep!”
Mr. Savvi stopped to take a photo of the bull, the largest elephant he had ever seen in the safari park.
He said: ‘He looked calm and friendly, just eating grass and leaves near the road. Then it most likely saw some food inside the jeep.
“The driver should have moved the jeep away immediately because he saw the elephant was exciting, but he didn’t. All the people inside kept taking pictures and taking selfies.
‘When the elephant got its head inside the driver’s cabin, it was too late to move – the jeep was blocked by its head and tusks.
‘After a few seconds, the elephant turned its attention to the passenger compartment. Now it looks very angry. ”
The jeep eventually escaped, and the ‘screaming and crying’ occupants, a group of locals from Sri Lanka, were not in.ju.red.
Mr. Savvi, a former chief financial officer at a publishing house in St Petersburg, Russia, then bumped into several people in the jeep.
He said: ‘During a lunch stop when most of the jeeps stopped in an area where people could get out and rest, I spoke to a man inside the damaged jeep with his family.
“He said all were well, everyone calmed down a bit after the shocking event, and they even smiled when I showed them my pictures of their ‘elephant adventures.'”
This elephant is an Asian elephant, the largest mammal on the continent.
Males average 9 feet tall and can weigh up to 5 tons.
The Sri Lankan elephant is an endangered species, with an estimated population of just 3,000.
Elephants are protected under Sri Lankan law, and ki.ll.ing an elephant is punishable by de.a.th.