Male elephant splashes bird with water to show off his dominance
During a safari in Kruger National Park, we came across a small herd of elephants. They were slowly making their way through the shallow muddy water of a river crossing. The last elephant to cross was a young bull. In the middle of the crossing was a large bird standing. Young male elephants in their teen years are typically very cheeky and always ready to show off their size. Even if it means picking on something a hundred times smaller than you.
The young bull was halfway through the river when he decided to stop next to the bird, called a grey heron, standing in the water minding its own business. The young male elephant gave the bird one look and without hesitation, used his trunk to splash the bird with water in an attempt to scare it away. Like a real teenage boy, the young male elephant wanted to show this bird who is boss. The cheeky elephant was swinging his trunk repeatedly in the direction of the bird in an attempt to intimidate it, while he let go of a few loud trumpets to add to his show. The best part of it all was the reaction of the bird during the whole interaction, not looking bothered at all by this laughable behavior.
Amazingly the bird never showed any real fear, even though it was totally out sized by the testosterone driven young male elephant. The heron just kept moving away a short distance every time the elephant splashed water towards it. Eventually the elephant decided the message was clear and slowly continued through the muddy crossing. It was such a funny experience to watch this cheeky young male elephant going about picking on a bird that is a hundred times smaller than him. This was a great example of the typical behavior seen among male elephants in their teen years, feeling confident and ready to take on anything, something most teenage boys can relate to.