Trunk vs. Jaws: Unbelievable Encounter as Elephant Confronts Crocodile During Thirsty Drink in South African Waters

A giant crocodile appeared to have bitten off more than it could chew when it clamped its jaws around the trunk of an elephant.

These incredible photographs captured the moment the four meter reptile was lifted almost clear out of the water as the panicked bull elephant attempted to free himself from its jaws.

The large mammal had been enjoying an afternoon bath with the rest of the herd at a watering hole in the Sabi Sands game reserve in South Africa.

That’s got to hurt! A crocodile is almost lifted clean out of the water after it clamps its jaws round a bull elephant’s trunk

But as it tried to leave the water, an enormous crocodile latched onto the animal’s trunk with its sharp jaws.

Tourists saw the terrified elephant rear up on its hind legs and trumpet loudly in fear and pain as it tried to free its trunk.

The hungry crocodile was even dragged out of the water and into the air as the two animals tussled but it stubbornly refused to let go.

Eventually the bull struck the reptile with his knee and stabbed with his tusks to escape its jaws before making a very quick get away.

The elephant had been walking back up the bank after an afternoon swim at the watering hole when the enormous crocodile latched on

Panicking, the elephant tries to pull his trunk out of its jaws but the crocodile refuses to let go at Sabi Sands Game Reserve, in South Africa

Ashley Lewis, a 31-year-old fitness marketer, from Michigan US, caught the fierce fight on camera during a trip to the game reserve in December.

Ashley said: ‘We had been sitting in our truck on the river bank. Suddenly, about 300 yards upstream we heard loud and frantic trumpeting from an older bull elephant.

‘It was initially hard to make out why, but when he arched his trunk and reared up on his hind legs, it quickly became clear that a crocodile had latched on to his trunk.

‘The elephant reared up and down, taking the croc with him as if he was waving around a toy.

‘Eventually, when the croc wouldn’t loosen his grip, the elephant slammed him on the ground and put his knee, and the full weight of his body, on to the croc and then jabbed it with his tusks.

Trumpeting in pain and fear, the bull elephant yanks back it’s trunk and the four-metre crocodile comes with it

Eventually, the elephant is able to free himself and makes a quick getaway trampling over the crocodile which also survived

‘This finally got the croc to relent and the elephant ran up the hill of the bank faster than I thought possible for an animal that big.

‘I was in awe. It was hard to say anything other than this is insane.

‘I’ve never seen anything like it, and it appeared that neither had our guide, tracker or any of the staff and Lion Sands – it was pretty unique.

‘I remember our guide yelling, ‘cameras! cameras!’ as if this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, he was not wrong.’

Although the elephant sustained injuries to his trunk, rangers expect him to make a full recovery. The crocodile may have suffered more serious wounds.