Teenaged elephants are just like human teenagers. They swagger, have attitudes and are sometimes sent away from the rest of the herd – especially as they achieve sexual maturity. As they get older, they get into a state called “musth”, where their testosterone surges up to 60 times higher than normal, they ooze a musky secretion from their temporal glands and urinate constantly – and they develop an overwhelming urge to mate. When in musth, teenage elephants will often fight each other sometimes goring each other with their tusks. Though, teenage elephants will not attack older bulls, because they know their limits and fall out of musth very quickly.
This teenager had just been kicked out of his herd and suddenly found himself on his own. When I rolled up, he immediately saw me as a threat and tried to intimidate me by puffing himself up and making himself look taller. However, the cattle egrets on either side seemed unperturbed by his show of aggression resulting in a somewhat symmetrical composition for the image.
November 2020 in Amboseli National Park, Kenya.
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