The African Elephants Enjoying A Good Roll In The Mud

Elephants may look like they are having a lot of fun ʀᴏʟʟɪɴɢ around in the mud, they probably are, but it also serves a critical purpose for them. As they have minimal hair and sweat glands, they find it difficult to cool off under the harsh African sun. The mud not only cools them down and provides a protective layer on their ʙᴏᴅʏ to shield them from insect ʙɪᴛᴇs and the sun. Their skin looks very tough, but it is very sᴇɴsɪᴛɪᴠᴇ, and can get sunburnt!

Elephants prepare the mud for their baths in two ways. One is to kick their foot in the water to stir up the mud and mix it with the water; the other is to churn the mud with their tusks or trunk up from the bottom when bathing elephants will either roll around in the mud or spray themselves with it using their trunk.

This elephant is showing that you’re never too big to splash around in the muddy water as it tries to cover itself entirely. He doesn’t let the size of his 13ft height stop him from ʀᴏʟʟɪɴɢ and playing happily in the mud – as a photographer in South Africa captured the ɪɴᴄʀᴇᴅɪʙʟᴇ scene in a game reserve on camera.

The adult bull used his full weight to create huge splashes almost as big as himself in a bid to completely cover itself. But it’s more important than just having fun. Elephants cool themselves by ʀᴏʟʟɪɴɢ in the mud and protecting themselves from ᴘᴀʀᴀsɪᴛᴇs and the sun’s UV rays.

Photographer Anette Mossbach said the elephant spent around a half hour ʟᴀɴɢᴜɪsʜɪɴɢ in the muddy water before wiping its ears and eyes with its trunk. The 52-year-old German man who lives in Bergdietikön, Switzerland, saw two male elephants heading for a mud hole in Madikwe and followed them. She said: ‘It was so much fun to watch this elephant enjoying his mud bath’.

When I saw him enjoying it, I thought if he weren’t so big, I could enjoy it too. If it’s suitable for an elephant, it might be good for us too. There were huge splashes nearly reaching his ʙᴏᴅʏ. He splashed with his four legs, one after another, to get his belly covered as best as he could. “The elephant was making a mumbling noise but was busy with getting mud all over himself.The elephant looked really happy though, and he even had a big smile. Or at least we can call that one a smile.”

After he stopped, he suddenly realized that we were there watching, and he charged us for some meters but then decided to walk over to another friend who was still enjoying his swim – sadly behind the bushes where we couldn’t see him. ‘The elephant first started splashing with his legs in the water, this was probably to get more mud in the water and loosen 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’.

‘Then he started lifting his two front legs to roll nearly over to the other side and back – the back needed to be covered too, of course’.‘He was sinking into the mud bath, first lying down for a little while and just moving his head sideways a few times’. ‘After this, he just ‘sat’ in the mud and seemed to enjoy it, he played a bit with his trunk in the mud then stood up again and clean the mud from his ears and eyes with his trunk’.

It’s more than just fun – elephants use the mud to cool their skin and protect them from ᴘᴀʀᴀsɪᴛᴇs and their skin from the hot sun’s UV rays. ‘There were about five mud holes in this area, which are used by elephants and rhinos’. ‘When standing he had another go with all four legs splashing more mud onto his ʙᴏᴅʏ’. ‘After he stopped, he suddenly realized 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’.

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