If you substituted the animals for humans, it’s the sort of scene you might see on a Friday night in Newcastle or Cardiff. These funny pictures were taken after a herd of young elephants ate a fruit that is said to make large ᴍᴀᴍᴍᴀʟs drunk when consumed in enormous amounts.
Put on your anthropomorphic glasses and it sure does look like this herd of tipsy elephants is stumbling home after a rough night at the local watering hole … er, marula tree. Indigenous to southern Africa (and parts of West Africa and Madagascar), the marula tree is known for its sweet, yellow fruit – and local lore says that same fruit becomes ‘ellie alcohol’ once its fallen to the ground and fermented.
Ross Couper, a field guide who works for luxury sᴀғᴀʀɪ outfit Singita in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, saw the elephants begin to stumble around and fall over their sɪʙʟɪɴɢs. ‘We were in amazement because the youngsters appeared to be rather intoxicated,’” he said.
These hilarious photos were taken at Singita Sabie Sands game reserve in South Africa. While it’s easy to be swayed by a story as awesome as this, scientists debunked the drunk myth back in 2005, saying that it’s “nearly impossible for elephants to become intoxicated from eating the fruit of the marula tree”.
However, the researchers also offer an alternative explanation for the seemingly intoxicated ellies. In addition to the fruit of the marulas, elephants also eat the bark, and along with it, beetle ᴘᴜᴘᴀᴇ that live inside the trees. Traditionally used by San ʜᴜɴᴛᴇʀs to ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴ their ᴀʀʀᴏᴡ tips, ᴛᴏxɪɴs from the ᴘᴜᴘᴀᴇ could be the real reason these elephants look a little wobbly.
He witnessed the animals move through the bush, feeding on the fruit strewn across the ground – the older and wiser elephants teaching the young what to eat. One of the adult cow elephants forcefully knocked the fruit down from a tree, shaking it back and forth for the young to feed on. Having consumed an immense quantity of fruit already throughout their journey, the youngsters began to act rather strangely, displaying signs of being tipsy as they stumbled around and fell over their sɪʙʟɪɴɢs.
This year saw an abundance of the fruit falling to the ground, proving an irresistible treat for the group of young elephants making their way across the South African plains. Elephants can consume up to 30kg, approximately 700 marula fruit, in one day. An adult elephant may eat more than 700 fruits in one day if they don’t eat anything else. This year’s marula fruit crop was enormous, and it soon attracted a herd of young elephants.
Do you think elephants that act like this are intoxicated. And they get drunk not from eating marula fruit. But anyway, this is a great entertainment moment, isn’t it?