The Elephant And The Lizard

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Swinging mid-air like a rag doll, this monitor lizard was in for a rough time when a playful elephant took a fancy to it.

The unlucky creature had been swept off the ground and was carried around for a number of days by Madhuri, an Indian elephant.

With tail firmly clamped in the animal's trunk the lizard was swung around and occasionally put back on the floor.

This is not the beginning of a beautiful friendship: Madhuri, an Indian elephant, swings a monitor lizard about by its tail at a park in India

It might have been a bumpy ride for the tiny creature - but Madhuri certainly looked delighted with her new 'toy'.

These extraordinary shots were taken by Jagdeep Rajput during a trip to Corbett National Park, in India.

The 49-year-old, from Delhi, has been taking photographs for 20 years but admitted he had never before seen such a bizarre spectacle.

He said: 'I had heard about this elephant before and looked out for her.

In a spin: Madhuri was enjoying her lunch, although the lizard may have been feeling a bit nauseous

'She's known to be quite aggressive so when I did eventually find her I approached her carefully.

'The park has a good population of lizards and Madhuri is known as an expert in catching them - she has a particular fancy for monitor lizards.

'She caught the lizard alive and carried it all the time for few days - tossing it up and even dropping it.

'Her behaviour was extraordinary and I've never seen or heard about anything so bizarre before.'

The lizard makes a break for it after several days of being carried around as Madhuri's new toy

The Indian elephant is a subspecies of the Asian elephant.

This particular species can weigh up to five tons and measure an incredible 11 feet from feet to shoulder.

Its trunk lacks bone and cartilage but does contain 100,000 muscle units, which gives the elephant an incredible dexterity and allows it to pick up very small objects.

The species is endowed with a very large brain, which allows them to record memories and experiences.

Some experts even believe the animal possesses an intuition that allows them to imagine what other elephants are feeling.

There are thought to be below 30,000 Asian elephants in existence, around half of which are found in India.

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