In the Cincinnati area these past two days of rain have been miserable for us humans, but if we were elephants, we'd be having a blast.
There are many reasons pachyderms enjoy rain, not just because a good cool shower feels good, but because mud combines two things elephants love best: water and dirt!
Elephants need mud to cool down. They can't sweat, so they rely on dirt and water to keep their body temperature under control, especially during the dry seasons in Africa.
Mud also helps protect their skin. Even though elephant skin is thick and wrinkly, it's sensitive. Mud and dirt can help keep insects off elephants. It also serves as a sort of sunscreen for the harsh UV rays. The youngsters at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust are given mud baths and are covered in sunscreen to avoid sunburn.
But mostly, to an elephant, mud is fun! Babies especially enjoy rolling around in the mud and throwing it at each other. If you don't believe me, check out this video!
So while we humans may be bemoaning the rain here in Cincinnati, I'll bet you our zoo elephants are having a grand time getting as dirty as possible.
Kerry Skiff is a conservation advocate and recent journalism graduate of Northern Kentucky University. She follows the ivory trade around the world, and uses her voice to educate Americans about their role in animal conservation.