Clash of the Titans: Rhinos Fight for Dominance

We could see some movement in a waterhole up ahead, slightly obscured by a large bush. At first tracker Judas and I thought it was a buffalo wallowing. We drove around the side of the bush to get a closer look. Then, crashing out of the waterhole with mud spraying everywhere, giving us the fright of our lives, came two huge rhino bulls charging straight toward us. However they had no intent on doing us any harm – they just hadn’t seen us yet. The slightly larger bull was chasing the smaller one. We found ourselves caught up in the crossfire of an age-old battle between two of nature’s giants.

The two bulls eye each other out. It seems as though the dominant bull was the one on the right.

With me trying to manoeuvre the vehicle out of harm’s way and Judas directing, the rhinos heard us and then thankfully saw us and diverted, peeling off into the bush. After a brief cat-and-mouse chase they returned to the waterhole to continue the fight.

We stayed for the next hour watching this stop-start sparring match. At times it became quite brutal with the larger bull clearly having the advantage. We could see that the battle was already well underway by the obvious cuts and scratches leaking blood, mostly from the facial region and rear ends. We saw why these were the areas most badly affected areas. Face to face, a few inches apart, the rhinos would be staring each other down, breathing heavily. Then the intensity of the fight would reach a breaking point. The bulls would start making a squealing sound until it got so intense that a fight would erupt with horns clashing. As one would overpower the other, the overwhelmed rhino would turn to back away and in doing so, receive some heavy blows to the rear end.

Rhino Fight Rj 2 - The two rhinos’ heads would be fully submerged every now and again.

The two rhinos’ heads would be fully submerged every now and again.

Rhino Fight Rj 3 - Splashing violently with his horn may well have been part of a defensive ploy; creating a lot of noise and confusion to deter the other bull.

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