Baby elephants tussling

MalaMala Game Reserve - Elephant herd

On the hoof by Matthew Tatham

Andrew Batchelor captured this incredibly sweet footage of these young elephants, which are between four and six months old. With most young animals, the act of playing is a way of developing skills for the future. Young elephant bulls spend time sparing, while their female counterparts tend to focus their efforts on learning how to be good mothers.

The males will come together until the base of their trunks engage, and then the aim of the game is to push their opponent’s head down and backwards. When they are older, they employ the use of their tusks for added leverage. Sparring is used as a means of asserting dominance over one another, as well as determining which male will mate.

And just like with humans, there is always one sibling that will continue poke and prod long after the other one has tired of the game. Very entertaining!

We sometimes put Video Thursday out to vote, so keep an eye on our Facebook page to see what’s coming next. And if you returned from MalaMala with some entertaining footage of your own, why not share it with us?

Happy almost weekend folks, enjoy!

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