Mara’s Mud Balls

Rana and Mara

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.

Photo of a slightly muddy Mara, with Rana by her side.

July 3, 2020


  1. REPLY
    Jillyp says

    That’s so cute ❤️ Mara the Mud Moulder ??

    • REPLY
      Sheila says

      oh sweet ❤️?mara, i think her new mudding technology is from so many years not having mud or just a wee bit of water in circus or zoo to use so she developed “mud balls”. ‼️ i guess she got creative in those days and still finds her technique very useful‼️its very cute but kinda not so effective for full body covering?. Do you have any pictures of the mud paddies on her??

      • Gramma Tammy says

        Sweet Mara how interesting is that really makes you wonder what they’re thinking about during these times but whatever the reason it’s all her idea and that’s just wonderful how she’s free to express her self in any way she wants without any fear! God bless each and every one of those gentle loving very expressive cute ladies ???

  2. REPLY
    Barb says

    That has to be rather unique for Mara to make mud balls. She is always a surprise waiting to happen ??

  3. REPLY
    Paula says

    Luego de tantos años… Mara está encantada de tocar, sentir, oler, y manipular el barro!
    Algo inimaginable hasta hace poco para ella ❤

  4. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman Eaton says

    I not only would love to see her in action creating her mud balls, but more so to know WHY!! Wouldn’t we all just like to get a glimpse into their thoughts. Love this special girl!

  5. REPLY
    Wim says

    She surely is a genuine mud artist. Waiting for her next artistic revelation. Nice work miss MARA. ❤️?

  6. REPLY
    Ann-Marie Jacobs-Brown says

    Or the mud balls are her moisturiser and body creams 🙂

  7. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    They are so cute together I just can’t take it! Rana & Mara like long lost friends.?

  8. REPLY
    Sherry says

    Mara and your mud balls. ? Happy times!?

  9. REPLY
    Sallie Robbins-Druian says

    These Eleys LOVE their mud spas! We have a crazy but wonderful elephant I named “Butinski” because he and his buddy, have taken over our elephant water pond. Their shear weight broke the concrete liner, but no worries, Just “leave us alone.” And No Girls Please! Of course, they are hardly as sophisticated as Mara and her mud balls . . .

  10. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    Such a character. How many years has she waited to do this. Now her true self is allowed to shine. I guess we’ll be learning more about her wonderful character as the weeks progress. Fabulous, fabulous Mara.

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