When two horned behemoths are battling it out, you'd best get out of the way. Just ask the hapless hippo who found himself playing unwilling spectator at a rhino fight. 

Tourists stumbled across this violent clash in South Africa's Kruger National Park recently, watching in shock as one of the white rhinos repeatedly gored its opponent.

The incredible footage was captured by park visitor Susan Meyer, and shared to the Kruger National Park YouTube channel. "When we entered the park it was about the first sighting for the day," she says. "We were there first and really thought the rhino was going to kill the second one."

The wounded rhino eventually got the chance to make its escape, taking refuge in a nearby waterhole. Unfortunately, his attacker followed. As the fight resumed in its new watery setting, a lone hippo found itself displaced by all the upheaval, and hotfooted it to a safer location.  

Exactly what prompted the altercation remains a mystery. White rhinos are less aggressive than their black cousins, but fights among males are not uncommon in both species, so it's possible that this was a fight over territory. Dominant bulls are known to be quite serious about protecting their turf – including any females that might be grazing within it. Usually, these confrontations stop at horn-butting and false charges.

"The whole ordeal was quite traumatic to see and I really hope that I never have to witness anything like this again. The screams of the injured rhino were a horrible sound to witness," says Meyer.


Top header image: Paolo Lucciola, Flickr