A mighty bull elephant

A huge bull elephant comes for a drink at a waterhole in Madikwe Game Reserve. Male elephants are generally solitary creatures, although friendships between groups of males have also been documented.
For one month of the year, bull elephants go into the condition of musth. During this time the bull produces 40 to 60 times more testosterone than usual. It makes him aggressive and unpredictable, and the best advice for other elephants and humans alike is to give the bull lots of space.
Musth is similar to what happens to Popeye when he downs a can op spinach. In musth, a male that is way down the ladder can challenge a dominant bull and win. When a bull elephant has broken tusks like this one, it may well be the result of a fight with another elephant!

Elephant in a hurry

A beautiful elephant in a hurry on its way to the waterhole. Such an impressive sight! My mother used to call me an elephant when I stamped up the stairs in our home, but in reality elephants really don’t make a lot of noise…

The elephant’s teeth

A small baby elephant crosses the road, chewing on a stick. Maybe his teeth are coming through? Actually, elephants are born with four small molars, which they will lose when they are about two years old. Unlike humans, who have milk teeth first and then change to their final set of teeth, elephants change their teeth troughout live. A long-living elephant goes through six sets of molars that replace the teeth that become worn out by chewing grasses and trees. The loss of their final set of teeth is a major cause of death among aged elephants.

Elephant family drinking

A family of elephants drinking at a waterhole in Pilanesberg National Park. I love how green everything still is! It makes seeing animals a little bit more challenging, but the sightings that you do get are usually great because they are really close.

Snack on the go

A big bull elephant having a snack on the go. Elephants are vegetarians; they eat leaves, bark, grass, roots, and even fruits. Although they eat a massive amount of food each day – up to 150 kg! – their digestive system doesn’t break it down very effectively. Elephant dung therefore still contains a lot of nutrients, which other animals make use of!
Photo taken in Pilanesberg National Park