Rana is getting hairy! She is 62, which means she has already outlived most captive elephants in the Americas. And now her body is doing some new senior things. Rana has always been oddly smooth and wrinkle-free, with very little hair, but she is getting noticeably fuzzy. Unlike humans, who tend to grow hair in new and different places as they age, Rana seems to be growing hair in “normal” elephant body locations, like her head and back. In general, how much hair an elephant has is related to genetics, and it tends to vary region to region as well as elephant to elephant.
Older elephants frequently begin growing hair on their chin or in their ears, and both those spots are still hair-free for Rana.
We don’t know if Rana will ever grow enough hair to compete with Lady or Maia, but we are watching closely!
photos: Rana in 2018 at the hotel zoo on the left, and Rana now at sanctuary on the right.