One of our more frequently asked questions is, “What do the elephants do in the rain?” It’s mostly asked with concern. As humans, we instinctively seek shelter from the rain, just like cats, some dogs, and other domesticated species. Even when they are captive-born, elephants aren’t considered domestic species. The barn is available if they choose to seek shelter, but that’s not where they head when it rains.
So, what do they do when it rains? Whatever they want! They seem to have two favorite activities when it rains – swimming and playing in the dirt. Mara practically runs to the ponds when it rains. Others also enjoy splashing, swimming, and playing in the pond during storms. They also tend to head to the nearest dust pile. Dirt and rain make a great exfoliating scrub that they use to scratch all their itchy spots. They rub it all over their bodies and then rub themselves on their friends’ bodies.
Before their arrival, we were told that several of these elephants didn’t like water – that they don’t like the rain, swimming, or even bathing. That’s not something we have seen since they arrived. It doesn’t matter if it’s a light drizzle, a torrential downpour, or a thunderstorm, they are generally out playing in it, with or without their friends.
Video from several months ago of Mara and Bambi eating in the rain, filmed by our team. The second two clips are from our habitat camera.