Babar in the rain

When it rains, we shelter in our houses, or least under our umbrellas, and some animals and birds hide under trees, overhangs or whatever they can find.  But it’s hard for a full-sized elephant to hide under anything, so they just get on with it. And in the rainy season it can be not only wet, but also cold: I wore a T-shirt, thick shirt, sweatshirt, down vest, down jacket, and raincoat, all at once.

For an elephant, that thick skin has to suffice:

Very wet elephantsBut at least the rains mean good long grass to eat:

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And when the sun comes out, even the baby perks up:

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despite the fact that his ears are still a bit wet:

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To leaven the extreme cuteness of this posting, I feel I should include at least one scientific fact:

In hot dry Namibia, where rain is rare and much to be desired, elephants have been shown to move towards rainstorms that are still 150 miles away. No-one knows quite how they detect them from such huge distances.

The Lofty Ostrich

The ostrich roams the great Sahara.
Its mouth is wide, its neck is narra.
It has such long and lofty legs,
I’m glad it sits to lay its eggs.   (by Ogden Nash)

In the 1920’s in Kenya ostriches were farmed for their plumes, and my grandfather made a not-very-successful stab at this on his farm, hidden in the trees behind the small red roofed house,

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and now derelict,

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inhabited only by a family with goats:

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But wild ostriches flourish in the Maasai Mara. Their scientific name is Struthio camelus, and they do indeed hold their head and neck rather like a camel does. They are the world’s largest bird, standing up to 9 feet tall, and weighing up to 350 lbs.

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When you drive past in the Land Rover, they take evasive action by running along ahead of and beside you at up to 43mph, using their wings as rudders to change direction:

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and wiggling their bottoms in a sort of dance as they go:

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Their legs are extremely powerful, and a kick can kill a man or indeed a lion. This photo shows both the thigh muscles, and the feathers:

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And no, they do not stick their heads in the sand!

 

 

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