Photographer Catches African Elephant Enjoying A Good Roll In The Mud
This elephant is proving that you’re never too big to splash around in the mud as it attempts to cake its entire body. He doesn’t let his 13ft height get in the way as he rolls and plays ᴊᴏʏᴏᴜsʟʏ in the mad bath – as a photographer in Africa captured the incredible scenes in a South African game reserve on camera.
But it’s more than just fun. Elephants use the mud to cool their skin and to protect them from ᴘᴀʀᴀsɪᴛᴇs and their skin from the hot sun’s powerful UV rays. Photographer Anette Mossbacher said the elephant spent around half an hour languishing in the mud before wiping his ears and eyes with his trunk.
The 52-year-old, from Germany but living in Bergdietikon, Switzerland, spotted two ᴍᴀʟᴇ elephants heading for the mud holes in Madikwe and decided to follow them.
She said: ‘It was so much fun to watch this elephant enjoying his mud bath. When I saw him enjoying it so much, I thought if he wasn’t be so big I could join in. When it is good for the elephant it might be for us humans too. There were huge splashes nearly as high as his body. He splashed with all four of his legs, one after the other to get his tummy covered as good as possible. The elephant was making a bit of a mumbling noise but he was more busy with getting mud all over his body. The elephant looked very happy though and he even had a smile on his face, or at least we can call it that!
After he stopped, he suddenly realised that we were there watching him and he charged us for a few meters, but decided to walk over to his buddy instead, who was still enjoying his bath – sadly behind the bushes and out of sight.’
The elephant first started splashing with his legs in the water, this was probably to get more mud in the water and loosening some more ground for his mud bath. He was sinking into the mud bath, first lying down for a little while and just moving his head sideways a few times.
Elephant ears radiate heat to help keep these large animals cool, but sometimes the African heat is too much. Elephants are fond of water and enjoy showering by sucking water into their trunks and spraying it all over themselves. Afterwards, they often spray their skin with a protective coating of dust.
An elephant’s trunk is actually a long nose used for smelling, breathing, trumpeting, drinking, and also for grabbing things—especially a potential meal. The trunk alone contains about 40,000 muscles. African elephants have two fingerlike features on the end of their trunk that they can use to grab small items. (Asian elephants have just one.) Both ᴍᴀʟᴇ and feᴍᴀʟᴇ African elephants have tusks, which are continuously growing teeth. Savanna elephants have curving tusks, while the tusks of forest elephants are straight. They use these tusks to dig for food and water and strip bark from trees. ᴍᴀʟᴇs, whose tusks tend to be larger than feᴍᴀʟᴇs’, also use their tusks to ʙᴀᴛᴛʟᴇ one another.