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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Warship of the desert: He's definitely got the hump! Rhino meets an angry camel – and makes a run for it

When a camel gets the hump with you, it doesn't matter how big and powerful you are – as this mighty rhinoceros discovered to its cost.

Having strayed into the wrong territory, the two-ton beast fled in the face of an angry charge from the Bactrian camel at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire. Visitor Paul Redmond, 48, took their picture as they veered past his car before disappearing over the brow of a hill.

Mr Redmond, a defence project manager from Alveston, Bristol, said: ‘Whatever it was the rhino did, the camel really didn’t like it.'

There it goes! A camel is chased by a rhino at Longleat Safari Park, in Wiltshire

In a fight between a camel and a rhino, who would win? The obvious answer is the rhino of course.

After all, it has a large horn and armour plating whereas a camel is a rather ungainly beast possessing little in the way of weaponry.

But these amazing photographs taken by a visitor at the Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire show that logic can sometimes be turned on its head.

Paul Redmond, 48, who took the photographs through the window of his car, said the camel got the hump after the rhino walked towards it, straying into its personal space.

The camel, who had been sitting down, hauled itself to its hooves and launched itself at the rhino.

That was where the laws of nature took an unexpected turn.

Instead of withstanding the onslaught of the floppy two-humped camel with its thick skin - up to 2in thick - before goring it with its horn as you would expect, the rhino simply turned tail and fled.

Having vanquished the immediate threat from the rhino, one would perhaps think the camel would settle down again to chew the cud.

But no, the ship of the desert was soon in full sail, chasing the rhino in a blur of thundering footfalls and flying clods of earth for fully 200 metres before disappearing from Mr Redmond’s view over the brow of a hill.

What happened after that is anyone’s guess, but it didn’t look likely to end in a draw and a polite shake of the hoof.

Mr Redmond, a defence project manager, who was at the safari park with wife Debs, 42, and 17-year old daughter Jess, said the family were initially perturbed when the chase began as the two animals appeared to be heading towards their car.

Picturesque: A 4x4 drives through Longleat Safari Park, where the camel chased a rhinoceros at speed

But they veered off course before getting near and continued the chase before disappearing into the distance.

Mr Redmond, of Alveston, Bristol, said: ‘I saw the rhino walking over to the camel and if it could speak, it looked like the rhino said something nasty which really enraged the camel.

‘Before the rhino came over the camel was calmly sitting on the ground. Whatever it was the rhino did, the camel really didn’t like it.

‘When the chase first started they seemed to be heading towards the car. We were initially a bit concerned but they veered off long before it became a danger to us.

The closest they got to us was about 20 metres I would say.

‘They were really hoofing it past us at full pelt and they disappeared eventually around the side of the hill.

‘To be honest we were laughing about it a bit because what was a camel going to do to a rhino when it catches it? All it has got is two humps and some wobbly bits.’

‘I would say the camel chased the rhino for about 200 metres before we lost sight of them,’ added Mr Redmond.



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