As the world’s largest land mammals, elephants are capable of stunning feats of self defense. And they can be downright destructive when something stands in their way—even if that something turns out to be a charging rhinoceros as big as a diesel truck. Video evidence of one such encounter surfaced recently on Twitter, and it doesn’t end well for the rhino. You can watch the epic showdown for yourself below.
‘Clash Of The Titans’ pic.twitter.com/Ztjm97H8wR
— Susanta Nanda (@susantananda3) June 8, 2023
It’s unclear from the footage wether the rhino or the elephant initiated the altercation, but neither critter seems keen on backing down at the outset. At one point, the rhino charges in fast, thrusting its horn upward toward the towering elephant. Then the elephant bum-rushes the rhino, and it hits the ground hard. Excited onlookers can be heard chattering in the background.
While the exact date of the encounter is unclear, the video started to pick up steam on June 7 after India-based Twitter user @susantananda3 shared it with the caption “Clash of the Titans.” The wildly popular Instagram account @natureismetal re-shared it on July 3, and it’s since amassed more than 213,000 likes.
“The elephant, cleverly calculating a way to end the clash, leverages its superior size and pins the smaller rhino,” the @natureismetal Instagram post reads. “During this maneuver, the elephant appears to gore the rhino with its tusk.”
Given the angle of the video, it’s hard to say whether the elephant skewered the rhino with just one or both of its massive tusks. But when it backs off, the rhino immediately sprints for safety, leaving the formidable elephant behind with what appears to be a blood-stained trunk. It’s not clear how the rhino faired after sustaining what must have been massive internal bleeding.
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According to the World Wildlife Federation, there are between 20,000 and 25,000 elephants in India and about 4,000 one-horned rhinos. Since species are herbivorous grazers, they rarely come into direct physical contact in the wild.