To wallow is defined as to roll oneself about in a lazy, relaxed, or ungainly manner, and to take unrestrained pleasure. Excessive wallowing in our culture is generally frowned upon… unless of course you happen to be an elephant.
At some point, we have all witnessed firsthand elephants or seen images of elephants getting down and dirty in the local mud pool, and wallowing, you might even say luxuriating in the thick, clay-like red mud. Mud baths are an all-time favorite activity with elephants whether in Asia or Africa.
They romp and play and roll themselves about, knocking into each other, throwing trunkfuls of water on one another. While the communal mud bath is a great playpen for the youngsters, the adults know the importance of these adventures in mud. Elephants need to cool down and mud helps provide relief from the very hot temperatures of their native homelands in Africa and Asia and elsewhere. When coming out of a bath in a river, elephants throw mud on themselves as a layer of protection.
Then there are the free-throwing, dirt-flinging fests in which both adults and youngsters indulge. Even though these giants, the largest living land animals, look incredibly tough, they are not. Their skin, for example, is very sensitive, and they have to take measures to protect themselves. Dirt and dust not only serve as a kind of sunscreen but also as rudimentary pest repellent. Adult elephants make sure to douse the young ones in the herd with dust. When calves are sleeping, adults often stand over them to provide shade and protection from the sun.
We all know by now that elephants are smart, social, family animals. They are an exceptionally intelligent species with extraordinary intuition. To be among them in any circumstance is a rare privilege and an honor. There are a number of locations to search out wild elephants at their favorite watering holes, especially in Southern Africa such as Zimbabwe and our President’s Pick Zimbabwe’s Wild Landscapes.