Maia and Rana’s Footwork Routines


All of our girls get regular footwork, just not necessarily frequent footwork. We look at their feet daily, and if an issue pops up, it’s immediately taken care of. But for the most part, their feet generally look really good.

Maia’s footwork is the most infrequent. She uses her feet to dig in the mud, cut grass, and she walks all over, which does most of the work for us. Combined with her hours spent in the pond each day (which keeps them soft), she only needs minimal foot trimming about every 4-6 months.

Rana’s left elbow is fused (doesn’t bend), so she walks with a bit of an uneven step. Her gait causes her front feet to wear differently. She does sometimes bend the wrist (just not the elbow), so her toenails still wear on both sides, but we need to make sure they are balanced.

Rana’s footwork happens every few months. Like Maia, she has already been trained for footwork and knows what to expect, so she tends to fall back into the routine pretty quickly. During her normal treatments (even when we aren’t doing footwork), we periodically ask her to present her feet. Trained behaviors for footwork are like riding a bike, or a dog who has learned to sit – once you know, you know, but it’s still good to practice every few weeks to make sure. ? This also allows us to visually inspect the underside of her feet to determine when work needs to be done and to keep an eye out for any potential issues.

When we first started this round of footwork, Rana did great, especially considering how lazy she was that first morning. She usually gets normal-sized food rewards when she presents her feet for inspection. That morning, she caught on fairly quickly that she was getting extra-large treats and was more than happy to play along as we did some trimming and filing.

We’ve been doing a “tune-up” every few days, and, overall, Rana is great with her quarterly footwork. Earlier this week, when she was super sleepy, she went out of her way to put her foot entirely over and through a higher bottom gate bar without being asked. Yet, five minutes later, she decided she was too sleepy to swing around to stand parallel to the fence for her tick check… Let’s just say it’s fairly obvious Rana knows which behavior earns her better treats. We still find it hilarious that she always has enough energy for the harder behaviors than the easier ones. They’re so cooperative, even when they aren’t.

April 14, 2020


  1. REPLY
    Heidi says

    I love the elephants’ sense of humor and their obvious love of treats. Thank you for taking such good care of them and spoiling them!

  2. REPLY
    Sheila says

    Oh sweet rana!U r a very smart lady! I think ur caregivers r spoiling u abit too because u r such an endearing lovely co-operatve gal! Very nice u behave so well and realize scott needs to help ur feet! Now rana u must get ur tick checks too hope u dont get any inside ur ears sweetheart! So awesome little ?maia has great feet❤️

  3. REPLY
    Kelejan says

    I know myself how regular footwork helps to keep one happy. It was the best thing I did for myself when I started to have foot work of my own, so I know the girls must feel better when they have regular footwork. I am especially interested in Lady’s feet as she had such bad feet when she came and I am sure she is already feeling heaps better for all the loving care you give her.

  4. REPLY
    Tammy says

    Hi guys, question about the type of ticks Brazil has and what type of diseases they carry? also how often are the girls tick checked? Thanks everyone!

    • REPLY
      EleComposer says

      Not sure about the types of tick in Brazil, but we can happily say that we don’t have Lyme Disease here; a very good thing. However, we do have Ehrlichia – the dogs have gotten it. We have actually tested the elephants out of curiosity even though we have enot able to find anywhere that an elephant has been diagnosed with tick-borne disease, but since we take blood we have tested them anyway – they have tested negative. As far as tick checks, we do a little bit every day. We are always looking for ticks when they come up to the fence to say hi. Every other day we do a more thorough lookover; they lean into the fence and we check behind their ears, armpits, all soft spots. Right now there aren’t a lot of ticks as we are between season, but the nymph ticks will be coming along soon.

  5. REPLY
    Sallie Robbins-Druian says

    The Pedi Sisters at their best! How very close to Human Ladies is THIS! Love every story, Thank you all, including the comments . . .

  6. REPLY
    Will Parker says

    Must be a real treat to have your personal pedicure down on their knees for you whenever you need one.

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