This baby elephant had a very lucky escape after a crocodile tried to bite off his trunk – only for his mum to come to the rescue.
In a real-life version of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, this calf had been splashing around in the shallow end of a watering hole in the African bush, when the crocodile launched out of the water and clamped down on his trunk.
The rest of the herd stood around in shock, trumpeting and snorting as they battled to save the helpless baby elephant from the attack.
Against the odds, the tiny baby elephant managed to beat off the reptile and stumble backwards, leaving the crestfallen crocodile to slink back into the murky water.
The incredible pictures were caught on camera by Zimbabwean farmer and keen amateur photogtapher Francois Borman, by the 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 often have great expectations when I go out with my camera, and this sighting was just truly amazing to witness.
‘I saw a small herd of elephants coming down to drink – a local crocodile spotted them and spent some time sizing them up, homing in on the small calf playing in the shallows.
‘The baby elephant had obviously been looking forward to the drink, because he ran straight in and flopped down into the shallow, muddy water, rolling and splashing about.’
He added: ‘It didn’t have a worry in the world, and it definitely wasn’t thinking about what dangers could possibly be lurking in the murky waters.
‘The calf was still very young and didn’t know how to use its trunk to drink yet – it was down on its knees drinking with its mouth, and at one stage it stood up and extended its trunk into the water to try it out.
‘Suddenly the crocodile launched itself upon the little elephant calf’s trunk, gripping on tightly – it was mayhem.
‘The little calf let out a blood-curdling scream, and started a tug of war for his life with the crocodile.
‘Time stood still as calf struggled, and with a burst of pure determination almost pulled the crocodile right out of the water.
‘The other elephants charged towards it and the crocodile eventually let the calf go.
‘I was so excited when I saw my images – I just knew they were special.
‘Wildlife photographers spend a lot of time waiting around, waiting and hoping for that special sighting – pictures like this are the reward.’