Toward the end of last week, we had a cold snap. It doesn’t get cold here frequently – and just to be clear, when we say cold, we mean 60*F (16*C).
As usual, when it is chilly here, the humans mind it significantly more than the elephants. It’s been hot here recently, and the sun has been intense. We all – four-legged & two-legged – appreciated the break from the heat, but it was still a significant change in temperature.
The elephants’ behaviors shift with the weather. In the cooler temperatures, they do what comes naturally to them, which is to seek shelter in the thicker trees at night when the sun goes down and the temperatures fall.
Elephants store their heat internally using a process called heterothermy. They build up excess heat during the day and slowly release it as their bodies cool. Due to the recent temperatures, the elephants had plenty of heat to release from their bodies, and none of them looked cold at any point.
When Kat went to feed dinner, she saw Mara with her ears back, and it looked like she wasn’t necessarily enjoying the chilly breeze. Kat knows the property well, so she led Mara (and Rana) to a little cove area that blocks the wind and fed them there, by Hidden Pasture.
Maia went across the creek in Yard 5. Since she began spending more time near Rana and Mara, Maia hadn’t been in that area. We aren’t sure if it’s a coincidence, and she just prefers that area when it’s cooler, or if she hadn’t wanted to be quite that far away from Rana & Mara.
Lady spent the cold snap in an area near a pequi tree in Yard 4. Pequi is a type of local fruit that the macaws love to eat, but the elephants do not seem to enjoy it. The pasture that Lady was in is a sweet spot with nice grass and little trees.
Everybody found nice little nooks to spend time in while avoiding the cold.
Photo of Lady in dense trees.