Two elephants casually sit down on a rock to enjoy a quick butt scratch
During a recent safari in the Kruger National Park we came across a small herd of elephants standing around at a watering hole. It was early afternoon and the heat was relentless. The majority of the elephant herd was drinking water while some members of the herd used the opportunity to enjoy a mud bath at the same time. After quenching their thirst on a hot day, elephants love splashing themselves with mud. The layers of mud on their skin help the elephants to cool down their bodies. At the same time the mud helps the elephants to get rid of insects and parasites stuck to their rough skins. When the elephants were done at the watering hole, they slowly started walking away. This was when the funny behavior of two elephants caught our attention. The elephant herd made their way past a long stretch of flat rock just below the watering hole. Two specific elephants in the herd amazingly identified these rocks as a great place to stop and relief themselves with a quick butt scratch. First it was an adult female elephant that grabbed the opportunity to get rid of an itch in the hard to reach places of her body. The elephant cow casually sat down on the rock and started scratching her bum vigorously, moving her backside from side to side. It was hilarious to watch, and we found this behavior very fascinating at the same time. While the female got rid of her itch in such a comical manner, we noticed about at the same time, there was a young male elephant that followed the example of the female and got into the action himself. We could not believe that we were watching two elephants scratching their bums in this awkward but funny looking manner. After covering themselves in mud, elephants will normally stand or lean against a tree trunk, scratching off the hard-baked mud which encrusted all the insects and parasites on their skins. To see the largest land mammals on earth actually sitting down to scratch their bums is not something you see everyday on safari. It was definitely a sight to remember and the highlight of our safari.