Antelope Takes Down Cyclist

10/17/2011

The latest animal-related video to go viral shows a poor guy competing in a cycling race in South Africa get completely owned by a red hartebeest, a kind of antelope. 

Evan Van Der Spuy was racing along when out of the corner of his right eye he saw the angry male hartebeest barreling towards him.  There was not much he could do as the 400-pound animal leaped through the air and smashed into him.

The attack was most likely territorial in nature.  Male hartebeests stake out a territory and defend it against other male hartebeests and any perceived threats.  Apparently Evan fell into the latter category in the mind of this particular hartebeest.  Had Evan been on the lookout for hartebeest dung piles, which the males use to demarcated the edges of their territory, he might have avoided getting smashed.

(As an aside, the name "hartebeest" sounds pretty odd in and of itself. The original spelling was hertebeest and was given to this antelope species by Dutch settlers in Africa who thought the beast, or "beest" as they spelled it, looked like a deer, which in Dutch is called a "hert.")

Although Evan was briefly knocked unconscious, thankfully neither he nor the hartebeest suffered any real harm.  Check out the action in the video below, it's pretty amazing.

 

 Here's a close up look of a male red hartebeest (courtesy of Kleinz1 on Flickr.)

Hartebeest Kleinz1 FLICKR

 Here's more on dangerous animal encounters:

QUIZ: Surviving a Lion Attack

FACTS: Why Animals Attack

VIDEO: Top 10 Most Shocking Animal Attacks

SERIES: After the Attack with Dave Salmoni


David Mizejewski is a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. His goal is to inspire others to appreciate the wonders of nature. Meet David >
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