The video was posted Sunday on the Reddit forum “Next F**king Level” by u/22Fingers, who wrote: “Courage: The [ability] to hide fear. It garnered over 65,000 upvotes and hundreds of comments from Redditors, many of whom believed the elephant was performing a fake charge. However, many agreed that the men had ‘nerves of steel.’
What is dummy charging?
Mock charging is a tactic that elephants use to determine if someone is a threat or not, NEWSWEEK Previously mentioned. Unlike real charges, which are usually “silent,” sham charges are somewhat theatrical, according to a study in Journal of Biodiversity and Endangered Species.
“Visual cues may include labored ear flapping, trunk tingling, acoustic sounds (may include horn), rocking one front leg back and forth, rocking from side to side, kicking dust, raising the tail, etc.,” the study authors explained.
“The agitated elephant may run a few steps toward and then away from the intruder, making loud noises, in an attempt to frighten the intruder. Failing that, he may launch a more serious attack—a mock charge culminating in an impressive display within a short distance of the intruder,” he continued. Study authors.
The elephant in the video makes many of these visual cues, leading commentators to believe that he does not want to harm the men, but simply frightens them.
In the clip, the two men – presumed to be a wildlife ranger and a visitor or tourist – slowly approach a lone elephant. When the elephant saw the men, he fluttered his ears and kicked the dust as he ran. Instead of panicking, the men stand on their grounds and stare at the elephant as it rushes towards them.
When the elephant finally reaches them, it stops, snorts and then slowly backs away. Meanwhile, the men continue to stand still.
“nerves of steel”
Many commentators praised the men’s courage and admitted that they would not achieve success in the same circumstances.
“Nerves of Steel” u / BarMysterious5914.
“I would have got myself,” u/Selunca said.
u/100smurfs1smurphette joked: “I could do that too, nothing impressive! Just give me three layers of adult diapers and tie my feet up.”
u/Justin3263 added: “I definitely couldn’t get rid of that. A bloody spider comes to me across my desk and I’m screaming like a girl and I’m cleaning the building! So that’s unreal for me!”
Of course, many assumed that the men did not try to run or fight because they “knew” that the elephant was accusing them.
“The ears are wide, so it’s almost certainly a bogus charge. I’m sure these guys know that and very likely are familiar with this particular elephant,” offered St/Melfoy.
u/Chronibitis said: “This is knowledge, not fear.”
“Nah the ranger knew the elephant wouldn’t hurt them. When the elephants want to cause harm, they put their ears back on their heads. When they want to intimidate them, they blow them as he did this,” claimed u/justaneditguy.
NEWSWEEK He contacted u/22Fingers for information on the video’s origins.
Other viral moments
Earlier this month, a video of an elephant mother asking zookeepers to help wake her sleeping calf collected more than 51,000 votes on Reddit.
A video clip of two adorable elephant calves facing off on a safari vehicle went viral in South Africa earlier this month.