This real-life ‘Pumbaa’ appeared to try to recreate one of The Lion King’s hit songs – posing proudly with ten colourful birds on his back while they sang.
The image, which mimics scenes from the Disney classic, shows an adult warthog by a waterhole while a number of red-billed oxpeckers perched on his back.
Wildlife photographer Gary Jones, 53, snapped the image last month while on a photography tour at Zimanga Private Game Reserve, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.
Gary, from Buckley, North Wales, said: ‘Warthogs are really interesting subjects, and when this one started to get oxpeckers landing on its back, it made for a really interesting image.
‘There is a lot of time spent waiting for animals to visit the water, it can be hectic with herds coming in, or long periods.
‘We had had a long night in the hide with no sleep, but lots of visits by buffalo, and then at first light the Warthogs started to appear.
‘I felt a growing excitement as the birds started to land on [the warthog’s] back in numbers.
‘Oxpeckers will sit on certain mammals and pick off the ticks and other small parasites found on the skin in the coats of these animals.
‘It was just a fantastic experience to see them so close, but with all the oxpeckers on its back, it was just intriguing to watch the birds picking off the bugs and ticks, even going inside their ears.
‘I was thrilled to have captured a fascinating insight into the behaviour of both the warthog allowing the birds on it, as the way the birds show no fear and are completely relaxed.’
Gary spent all night in a hide with fellow photographers, just 10ft away from the waterhole, before capturing the image.
Gary said: ‘I didn’t think [the warthog looked like Pumbaa] at the time, but having shown the image to family, friends and on social media, there have been lots of comparisons made to Pumbaa.
‘I have only seen [The Lion King] once, but for many I guess they only get to see lots of these animals on TV or animated films.
‘I’m sure [the warthog] was just glad to be getting a drink. It was at the end of a long hot dry spell with little water on the reserve, so the waterhole is a lifeline for many animals.