Among the concerns of baby elephants – at least one, apparently – is what to do with the long, pendulous objects dangling from their faces.
The accompanying footage, captured in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, shows a newborn elephant crossing a road with a breeding herd of larger elephants, which have long since grown accustomed to their trunks.
But the calf seems confused by the rubbery proboscis; the young pachyderm shakes it this way and that, tries to step on it, and to shoo it away.
Mario Paul of MVP Guiding, which uploaded the video on Wednesday, stated in the description: “The reason he is doing this is not known, but it could be that there might have been something in his trunk that made it itch or maybe he just didn’t understand this long thing on his face … either way it was very funny and made our day.”
The cuteness factor was not lost on viewers of the SANParks–Kruger National Park Facebook page.
“Nothing cuter than a baby ellie!!” writes one viewer.
“Looks like he got an ant up his nose,” writes another.
The ant theory is plausible. Elephant trunks – which essentially are modified noses – are highly sensitive, and even capable of detecting water underground.
They’re also dexterous, capable of picking up the smallest of twigs and leafs, and are sometimes used to pluck thorns from an elephant’s foot.
But if an elephant gets an itch up its trunk, it’s a bothersome issue, but one that’s typically resolved over time.
Kruger National Park, in northeastern South Africa, is the country’s largest game reserve and a major refuge for elephants.