Bundox River Lodge…elephants to the left of me.

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Although this post is about elephants, this hippo was not happy being disturbed. It had been foraging in this part of the river for a while before the breeding herd arrived to claim the stretch of water as their own. And elephants do NOT like to share...

 

 

Recently, Travel & Things undertook a Lowveld road trip that included 3 Sun Destinations™ properties. Bundox River Lodge was the final Lodge on that trip. On my final afternoon in camp, I was entertained by this breeding herd of elephants that spent time on the river bank opposite my accommodation.

 

 

 

I watched as this breeding herd crossed upstream from where I was sitting on the veranda outside my accommodation. I was hoping that they would walk down towards me, which is exactly what they proceeded to do.

Most herds of this nature consist of females, calves and young males. The bulls will later be forced out of the herd when they reach sexual maturity. This prevents interbreeding within the herd are strengthens the bloodline by mating with females in other groups.

Males play no part in raising their offspring, and once mating has occurred, the male will either return to his solitary life or the company of a bachelor group.

Within the group, both male and female elephants are capable of distinguishing between hundreds of different low-frequency infrasonic calls enabling them to communicate with and identify each other.

 

 

 

Elephants have around 150,000 muscle units in their trunk, the most sensitive organ found on any mammal. Elephants use their trunks to suck up water to drink – it can contain up to 8 litres of water. They also use their trunks as a snorkel when swimming.

The plant that this elephant ‘plucked’ from the ground is larger than a human and it was being carried as if it was a small twig. Eventually, when tired of the ‘toy’ it was tossed aside, and picked up by another member.

 

 

 

The bulls were believed to be solitary animals, becoming independent once reaching maturity. New research suggests that bulls maintain ecological knowledge for the herd, facilitating survival when searching for food and water, which also benefits the young bulls who associate with them. Bulls only return to the herd to breed or to socialize; they do not provide prenatal care to their offspring but rather play a fatherly role to younger bulls to show dominance.

 

 

 

Oops…this herd gave me almost 2 hours of entertainment, and seeing that the weather was not conducive to going out on a drive was not an option.

 

 

 

The skin of an African elephant can be up to 30 mm thick and is covered with sparse, bristled dark brown to black hair.

They use dust baths to rid themselves of parasites, but the reason for this image was the ‘look’ on the face of the elephant in the background. It looks most perplexed at what the ellie in the foreground is doing.

 

 

 

The family that drinks together, stays together?

 

 

 

Elephants are the animals with the lowest sleep times. Their average sleep was found to be only 2 hours in a 24-hour cycle.

Perhaps that is why the youngsters in this herd kept ‘falling over’ and ending up in positions like this on the soft sand.

 

 

 

Loxodonta is one of two extant genera of the family Elephantidae. The name refers to the lozenge-shaped enamel of their molar teeth. Fossil remains of Loxodonta species have been found in Africa, spanning from the Late Miocene, around 6-7 million years ago.

When you were a child and after the rain, did you splash through puddles left behind? That is what this elephant and several others were doing. Except they were making their way through the shallows rather than going through the thick vegetation on the bank.

 

 

 

If you are wondering where Disney got the idea for Dumbo, look no further.

Elephants exhibit a wide variety of behaviours, which can include aspects of some or all of the following:

Grief, learning, mimicry, art, play, a sense of humour, altruism, use of tools, compassion, cooperation, self-awareness, memory and possibly language.

All of these behaviours point to a highly intelligent species that is thought to be equal to cetaceans and primates.

 

 

 

These two young males were still tussling until just before they vanished into the vegetation.

I am uncertain if they resolved any issues, but I do know that the interactions are an important part of their learning experiences.

 

 

 

Poo, pee and drink all at the same time!

 

 

 

TOOOOOOOOOOOOOO TIRED TO CARRY ON.

 

 

 

A final drink before I go.

Some interesting facts about this species.

The African bush elephant is the largest terrestrial animal. Cows have been known to reach 2.2–2.6 m in height and weigh 2,160–3,232 kg. While bulls are 3.2–4 m tall and can weigh between 4,700–6,048 kg.

The largest recorded individual stood 3.96 metres at the shoulder and is estimated to have weighed 10,400 kg.

The tallest recorded individual stood 4.21 m at the shoulder and weighed 8,000 kg.

 

 

 

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