Some motorists in South Africa got a little closer to the wildlife than they expected this week when a wild African elephant decided to lay down on top of their VW Polo.
At Pilanesburg National Park, Armand Grobler’s two passengers were trapped inside their vehicle, terrified as the enormous animal flattened its stomach across the hood of the car, crushing it slightly but causing no major damage. According to GrindTV, all of the passengers were unhurt but very shaken up by the encounter with the elephant. Mirror claims all four windows were smashed, the chassis was broken and all four tires were blown out by the weight of the elephant.
Grobler is a 21-year-old field guide and lodge manager at Pilanesburg National Park. He took some stunning photos of the incident as the male and female passengers of the vehicle waited out the elephant’s strange attack.
“We were unsure of what to do in the situation when the elephant made contact with the car, and when the car was being crushed, we feared for the lives of the driver and passenger, but our efforts were very limited as to what we could do,” said Grobler of Armand Grobler Photography. “The all-round emotion that was within our vehicle, as we watched in horror, was that we were rushed with adrenaline yet terrified and helpless.”
Grobler went on to say that the passengers “were both in shock but happy to be alive.” Having some basic knowledge of elephants, Grobler claims to understand what the elephant was up to. Elephants often rub their bodies against rocks and other hard surface to scratch itches they can’t reach with their trunks. But the elephant’s behavior may have gone a step further than that, according to Grobler:
“The elephant was presumably on Musth, which is a time that an elephant male has an excess amount of testosterone, turning even the calmest Dumbo into a raging bull. Yet even though it was in this condition, it displayed no signs of aggression or frustration and was in a more playful mood.”
It’s hard to know exactly what the elephant was trying to do, but it didn’t appear to be trying to harm the passengers inside. But with an animal the size of an elephant, even harmless behavior can be deadly. Fortunately, only the car was injured.
For more on elephants, check out this video of an elephant interacting with a cat. The ending may surprise you.
[Images courtesy of Armand Grobler Photography]