Traditionally, when an elephant “plays” in a mud wallow, they lie down, squish around, and pick up mud with their trunk to throw it on their bodies. It’s messy, but it works, and it covers much of their body in a nice coating of mud. They seem to enjoy both the process and the result.
Mara seems to have an additional use for the mud in the wallows and ponds. She makes little mud balls and squashes them into her body. She puts a lot of effort into it. She picks at the mud with her trunk and manipulates it for anywhere from thirty seconds to a minute or two. Once it is in satisfactory formation, she will apply it to her body, pressing it in so it sticks. Sometimes she repeats the process multiple times. It’s not something she always does, but we have spotted her doing it a handful of times. She may just be expressing her creativity.
July 3, 2020