No sooner had keepers at Whipsnade Zoo scrubbed 18-month-old Asian elephant Scott squeaky clean than he was rolling around in the sand.
But it’s normal behaviour for Scott and other elephants because the mud of sand keeps them cool and acts as a sunscreen.
Assistant curator of elephants, Lee Sambrook, said: “Every morning we wash Scott and the rest of the herd from trunk to tail, scrubbing them with shampoo and rinsing them with warm water.
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“Almost immediately after their baths they’ll cover themselves in mud or sand which sounds counterproductive, but the layer of dirt keeps them cool and acts as sunscreen – perfect for our elephants now the weather’s getting warmer.”
Lee added: “Scott’s favourite part of bath time is being sprayed with the hose and rolling in the sand. He’s extremely playful and always tries to join in when the others are being bathed, especially when it’s mum’s turn.”
Mum Azizah gave birth to pint-sized pachyderm Scott in October 2011, after a whopping 700 day pregnancy - almost two years. Not only was it the longest pregnancy ever recorded at the zoo, Scott is also the smallest elephant calf ever born at Whipsnade, weighing just 16 stone.