One wonderful morning while ranger Joné was out on a game drive with her guests they were met by a herd of elephants moving up the road towards the open plains. Most roads on Kariega Game Reserve are just wide enough for one vehicle and ranger Jo scanned the bush to find a small space to pull off. The herd was coming up the narrow road directly towards the vehicle and she had to find a way to let the majestic creatures pass. One of the rules in the bush is that as long as you respect the animals and their personal space, they will (mostly) respect yours.
As the elephants started coming past one by one some of the older females decided to have a dust bath. The elephants were so close that everyone in the vehicle got a dust bath too. You can even hear the pieces of soil falling onto the front of the vehicle. This was a great experience and the guests almost felt part of the herd!
Interesting Facts about Elephant Skin
- Elephants skin is generally around 4 cm (1.6 inches) thick and thinnest behind the ears.
- An elephant's stomach area needs extra support to hold the weight of their organs. The animals have a fibroelastic-like sheet of muscles that span their stomach area.
- The thick but sparse hair on an elephant's body helps it to keep cool.
- Elephants also take dust baths and mud baths to cool down their bodies.
- To cool down even more, elephants will spray mud or water behind their ears. This allows the circulating blood to cool down faster as an elephant can pump all it's blood through it's ears every 20 minutes.
- The skin colour of an elephant will change depending on the colour of the mud and sand used on their bodies.
- Elephant skin has no sweat glands.