A trumpet call, the ears flap, then comes a head toss and a shake. The dust flies off this bull’s head like a magical plume of red dirt as it captures the glaring harsh light of the sun and creates a dusty shroud around him. He then kicks the ground and his trunk blows out more dust over his body, making him a magnificent red cloudy beast. He rushes forward, head held high, ears spread flat and stops metres short away from us. His plan is not to cause massive damage- although he surely could with the combined velocity and brute force of his 5000kg+ weight. His intention instead, is to gauge how much of a threat you are and to scare you off. And when there’s someone towering over you like this, let’s just say, his intimidation skills are by all accounts, very good.
So what then, is a real charge? An elephant’s ears will lie flat against the sides of their head, pinned back, the head lowers in order to position the bridge of his trunk onto its target, and then will sprint towards you- and this time, there’s no stopping them.
While it’s handy to know the difference, best to respect their mood and back off as soon as you see any kind of irritation in general!
You may be interested in How to Photograph Wildlife Ethically.