This is the moment a mother elephant was caught taking part in what could be a bizarre “bonding” ritual with her cute calf as she pooed on its head – but the tiny baby even came back for more. Nice.
Jens Cullmann was out alone taking photos in Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe, in October when he spotted the cow and calf from his vehicle.
The hilarious sequence shows the enormous elephant’s backside facing the camera in full view with her baby following closely behind, probably completely oblivious to what’s about to happen.
It would be an endearing scene if the professional photographer hadn’t caught the moment a hefty piece of dung descends towards the baby and lands with a splat on its little head.
Hilariously the baby doesn’t seem to mind and Jens even said the pair repeated the weird ritual a few times. Locals in Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park explained to Jens Cullman that it is a bonding ceremony that helps to strengthen the immune system of youngsters.
He said: “What I’ve heard is that when the baby get dung on it, it helps boost the baby’s immune system and maybe it’s some kind of bonding with the mother as well.”
“I got photos of the calf looking towards me and then it gets up and the mum turns around and the calf follows her and then she drops her dung on him. The photos were exciting for me, I have to admit. Friends and family I’ve shown them to think they’re hilarious. Everyone was just ‘wow wow wow’.”
But in a ʜᴇᴀʀᴛʙʀᴇᴀᴋɪɴɢ revelation, Jens said the mother elephant was “very skinny” because of a bad dry season in the park in which a lot of elephants ᴅɪᴇᴅ and other animals sᴜꜰꜰᴇʀᴇᴅ. Jens said: “In Mana Pools this year it was very dry and a lot of animals sᴜꜰꜰᴇʀᴇᴅ.