During the rainy season we find lots of little pools of water all over the reserve. Obviously this provides lots of water for a myriad of animals to wallow and cool down in. As humans we would probably pay lots of money for these “mud treatments” in a health spa, something our wallowing animals get completely free of charge. We had an incredible sighting of two Rhino cows enjoying this little luxury. It was amazing to see an animal of that size rolling and getting the mud all over them.
The main reasons why animals wallow is firstly to cool themselves down, and secondly to get rid of ecto parasites by layering their whole bodies with mud. After the mud has dried they would make use of “rubbing posts” to scratch all the hard to reach places. This exfoliates the skin and as the dry mud falls of, so does the parasites and ticks that got trapped.
The animals you are most likely to see engaging in this past time is Warthog, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo, to mention a few….
Just goes to show that even our animals enjoy a little luxury every now and then and who knows… maybe even care about their appearance!
Tim Verryenne (Ranger – Southern Camp)