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Swimming lessons

The last couple of days, it has been very hot, and the elephants could not stay out of the water. We were able to watch them swim every day, and watching 50 elephants play in the water, is a fantastic sighting. Elephants love water and love swimming! The young adults jumped in first and immediately started with a game of wrestling and tug of war.  The babies were a bit hesitant, and this matriarch needed to encourage them a bit for their daily swimming lesson.

Elephants are great swimmers

Overall, elephants are great swimmers and can submerge entirely. They can swim quite far if they have to, and some experts even suggests that the Asian Elephants once swam from Southern India to Sri Lanka where they later settled.  They use all four legs to paddle and use their trunk as a snorkel.

The trunk has a number of functions including using it as a hose to pour water in their mouths for drinking. The trunk also serves as a nose, a hand, an extra foot, and a signalling device.  One of the most important functions of course is to gather food.  The trunk is very strong with thousands of muscles and they are capable of breaking big branches off the trees while feeding. The elephant’s tusks are also used for feeding, and just like us being left or right handed, elephants do have a dominant side.  There are usually one tusk that is shorter or with a pronounced notch. This is the tusk mostly used for breaking branches and thus the dominant side.

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