Taronga’s Asian Elephants awoke to a special treat yesterday morning, as their keepers had put fresh mud in the wallow, and the cooler weather and afternoon showers brought the perfect opportunity to test it out.
Keepers ran a hose, but the elephants needed no persuasion to dive in and try out the revamped wallow, and were soon churning through the mire, rolling and clambering over each other and stretching out in bliss as they tried to submerge their bodies beneath the mud.
First in were the three calves, charging shoulder to shoulder through the mud, kicking and splashing and sliding on their knees. The paused now and then to get a mouthful of water from the hose-spray before plunging back in to the wallow.
Mud wallowing is a fun way for the elephants to socialise and strengthen their relationships, but it’s also an important part of their self-care. Elephants don’t have sweat glands in their skin, so a mud wallow helps them regulate body temperature by cooling them down and preventing too much moisture loss to evaporation. Wallowing in mud also protects their sensitive skin against sunburn and insect bites.
All good reasons for a wallow, so expect to see a lot of muddy elephants this summer!
By Lorraine, Media Relations Assistant