Men Stand Their Ground Against Charging Elephant in Terrifying Video

Terrifying footage of the moment two men stood their ground against a charging elephant has gone viral on social media.

The video was posted on Sunday in Reddit's "Next F**king Level" forum by u/22Fingers, who wrote: "Courage: The [ability] to hide fear." It has garnered over 65,000 upvotes and hundreds of comments from Redditors, many of whom believe the elephant was performing a mock charge. Still, many agreed the men had "nerves of steel."

What Is Mock Charging?

Mock charging is a tactic elephants use to determine whether or not someone is a threat, Newsweek previously reported. Unlike real charges, which are typically "silent," mock charges are somewhat theatrical, according to a study in the Journal of Biodiversity and Endangered Species.

"Visual cues may include strenuous ear-flapping, twiddling of the trunk, vocal sounds (may include trumpet), swinging of one of the forelegs to and fro, rocking from side to side, kicking dust, tail raising and etc.," the study's authors explained.

Charging elephant
Terrifying footage of the moment two men stood their ground against a charging elephant has gone viral on social media. USO/istock

"An agitated elephant may run a few paces toward and then away from the intruder, making trumpeting sounds, in an attempt to scare the intruder. If this fails it may launch a more serious attack—a mock charge culminating in an impressive display within a short distance from the intruder," the study's authors continued.

The elephant in the video makes several of these visual cues, leading commenters to believe it didn't want to harm the men, but simply scare them off.

The Charge

In the clip, the two men—presumably a wildlife ranger and a visitor or tourist—slowly approach a lone elephant. Upon seeing the men, the elephant charges, flapping its ears and kicking up dust as it runs. Rather than panic, the men simply stand their ground and stare down the elephant as it dashes toward them.

When the elephant finally reaches them, it stops, makes a grunting noise and then slowly backs away. The men, meanwhile, continue to stand perfectly still.

'Nerves of Steel'

Many commenters commended the men's courage and admitted they wouldn't fare as well under the same circumstances.

"Nerves of steel," u/BarMysterious5914.

"I'd have s**t myself," u/Selunca said.

u/100smurfs1smurphette joked: "I can do it also, nothing impressive! Just gimme three layers of adult diapers and bind my feet."

u/Justin3263 added: "Definitely couldn't pull that off. A bloody spider coming at me across my desk and I'm shrieking like a girl and clearing the building! So this is unreal to me!"

Of course, many theorized that the men didn't try to run or fight because they "knew" the elephant was mock charging.

"The ears are out wide, so it's almost certainly a mock charge. I'm certain these guys know that and they're very likely to be familiar with that particular elephant," u/Milfoy offered.

"That's knowledge, not fear," u/Chronibitis said.

"Nah the ranger knew the elephant wasn't going to harm them. When elephants want to cause harm they put their ears back against their head. When they want to intimidate, they puff them out like this one did," u/justaneditguy claimed.

Newsweek has reached out to u/22Fingers for information on the video's origins.

Other Viral Moments

Earlier this month, a video of a mother elephant asking zookeepers to help wake her sleeping calf amassed over 51,000 upvotes on Reddit.

And a video showing two adorable elephant calves confronting a safari vehicle in South Africa also went viral earlier this month.