Rana is Getting Fuzzy

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.

September 5, 2020


  1. REPLY
    Kathleen Ryan says

    Thank you for sharing the stories of these Elephants. They are wonderful. Thank you for rescuing them. God Bless you All !

  2. REPLY
    Alana says

    Is that mud or is she losing the pink on her trunk to?

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      She’s still pink and spotty when she bathes herself or we bathe her, but as they would do in nature, she covers that up right away to protect her skin from the sun and bugs. 🙂

  3. REPLY
    Nancy Shaw says


  4. REPLY
    Linda L. says

    She looks so much healthier and ‘aware’ in the Sanctuary photo.. perhaps it is just the nature of when each photo was taken, but I love her look at Sanctuary! Thank you so much for looking after these lovely Eles and sharing them with us.

    • REPLY
      Wim says

      Surely it’s the healthy sanctuary environment that makes her body feel utterly happy. Rana you’re looking marvelous fuzzy or not.

  5. REPLY
    Tammy says

    Rana looks great for a senior looking at her you would never know her age! So happy the girls are doing so well and can’t wait for the new girls to get there. Its so exciting with Bambi up next and more lined up patiently waiting. You all are such awesome people thank you for all the hard work you give to these beautiful gentle giants ???

  6. REPLY
    arie says

    With or without hair, she is adorable ?❤️

  7. REPLY
    Heidi says

    She looks so different! What was the discoloration on her face?

  8. REPLY
    Sheila says

    Oh dear ❤️?rana! U r such a beauty hair head it not‼️ur spirit and demeanor r outstandingly beautiful?! I wish u were not as old as they state my dear u must live a very long time mz sweetheart❤️?❤️

  9. REPLY
    Paula says

    Hermosa y dulce Rana, 62 años y te ves tan radiante! ?
    No sabía su edad con exactitud… Cuanto respeto y admiración generan estas longevas y majestuosas criaturas!
    Adoro la forma de sus cabezas y esos cabellos que las coronan, derriten mi corazón!
    Rana te amamos mucho ❤

  10. REPLY
    Bo says

    One of the greatest things about animals is : I don’t think they judge or care about the appearance, the looks. Bad skin, wrinkles, spots, a bad hair day, don’t think they care.
    All good. They probably judge but differently.

    Rana wears the fuzzy look fabulously!

  11. REPLY
    Sallie says

    There is nothing wrong with a fuzzy wuzzy! So much more endearing . . . Especially with someone so sweet as rana . . .

  12. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    Rana is a beauty, inside and out. She looks very cute with her growing hairstyle.
    I have often wondered why some elephants have this mottled skin appearance on their faces and trunks. Rana appears to have lost this since being at ESB….so it can change with time????

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      It is usually linked to geographic homeland. There are physical features that are fairly distinct to where they were born. Rana is still pink and pigmented at the top of her trunk, but it’s generally underneath a layer of mud and dirt. As it should be. 😉 The girls do generally rinse, bathe, and clean themselves daily, but they also do what is natural, which is dust right after to protect themselves from the sun and bugs. Many captive elephants with noticeable pigment often live in enclosures that don’t offer them the ability to bathe and cover themselves in mud. It is one of the most basic needs that captive elephants are deprived of.

      • Rosie P says

        Thank you so much for this info, Kat. I now understand that this mottled appearance has nothing to do with elephants being held captive for a long time. A sad fact, a travesty, that many in captivity don’t have the basic need of mud and dirt that is so essential for ellies and their well being.
        These sensitive, intelligent creatures need/must have their freedom.

  13. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    I always loved the fuzzy hair on top of their head! She is so cute!

  14. REPLY
    Ruth Helena says

    com pelo o sem pelo
    Rana comtinua linda!!

Post a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.