On a blistering summers day with temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius, even the animals take strain. Most animals will seek shade, moisture and or mud to assist in cooling their bodies down and to get some form of protection from irritating insects.
on one such scorcher of a day, the Gondwana Elephant herd moved to the nearest mud wallow, in this case it happened to be an old quarry pit, and spent a good deal of time splashing around and covering their bodies in nice cool water and mud. The mud helps cool their bodies off, but in part acts as a sunscreen and also as insect protection. Horsefly and other insect activities increase on hot and humid days and with the extreme levels on this day the insects were out in full force.
This particular pit is in an area that is very rich in iron, an element that changes the colour of soil dependent on the oxygen that binds with the iron. And so seeking refuge from the heat in this dam turned a previously grey coloured elephant into a red elephant , covered in mud from head to toe. A most comical sight to see.
By PG Coetzee