Bossy Rhino Demands Belly Rubs From Wildlife Photog Because Of Course She Does

By Travis Greenwood

When an adult rhino weighing somewhere in the ballpark of 2500 pounds wants the stroke of a human hand, what's a wildlife photographer to do?

Photog Obliges Bossy Rhino That Demands Belly Rubs
“If a rhino wants some rubs… you better rub that rhino like your life depends on it!"
credit: garthdbaustin / Instagram

Such was the incredible predicament that South African Garth De Bruno Austin found himself in late last year when one of his frequent photo subjects approached with an unlikely rhino request that was really more of a demand: belly rubs!

According to Austin, the duo's cuddly embrace was highly unusual and built on a foundation of trust and respect that had developed over time: "What an amazing experience this was! These incredible animals humble you every time you see them."

It's also not, he stresses, anything you should try yourself.

"Please note that I have been lucky enough to film this rhino for quite a few years and because of that have built up a level of TRUST. DO NOT try and do this with a truly 'WILD' rhino as it may end up with you being dead! FYI - I did not approach this animal, it was completely her decision to let me come into her personal space and touch her."

So at ease was the adult female that she brushed up against Austin without damaging the tools of his trade: "Lucky for me she left my URSA Mini 4K camera alone!"

According to the Daily Mail, after Austin met his belly rub quota, she ambled off to nosh on some grass elsewhere.

Watch the adorable meet-cute below!