Elephant Chases a Man on a Bicycle Down a Forest Road to Clear the Way for Its Family

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Written by Sharon Parry

Updated: November 15, 2023

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© ElephantErik/Shutterstock.com

This incredible footage was captured on the Chalsha Nagrakata road in West Bengal India. It shows the senior member of an Asian elephant herd checking the road safety situation before she allows her family to cross. When she spots the cyclist, she is not too pleased about it and promptly ushers him out of the way with a mock charge. With the cyclist dealt with, she faces up two cars to make sure that they are stopping. Once the on-coming traffic has complied, her family emerges from the undergrowth and safely crosses the road. See the full footage below of how a mama elephant expertly protects her family.

Where Do Indian Elephants Normally Live?

The current population of Indian elephants live on the Indian subcontinent, continental Southeast Asia, and some Asian islands. This means that you can spot them in countries such as India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. They are also found in Asian countries such as China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka. Today, they occupy just 15 percent of their historic range. India contains 60 percent of the existing Asian elephant population.

When it comes to habitat, these guys like to live in tropical and subtropical broadleaf forests. However, they move around according to the seasons. During the dry months, you are more likely to find them near rivers. As a species, they require more shade than African elephants.

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Asian elephants spend the dry season near rivers.

©iStock.com/Nilanka Sampath

Is It Normal for Elephants to Live in Groups?

Asian elephants are a highly social species with complex interactions and relationships. They live in groups called herds which contain between eight and 12 individuals. The herd is led by a matriarch who is normally the eldest female of the group. As you can see in this clip, she is in charge. At the same time, all of the females equally share in the care of the young. Male calves leave the herd when they are teenagers. The females, however, stay with a herd for life.

Is It Normal for Elephants to Mock Charge?

Mock charges are one of the elephant’s methods of communication. It can be a sign of aggression along with spreading their ears, and an abrupt headshake which makes their ears flap around. Elephants have also been seeing throwing objects in the direction of their opponent!

Elephants are not known for being very fast movers. Their normal walking speed is no more than four mph. When they charge however, they can reach speeds of 15 mph so it makes sense to get out of their way!

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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