How to stay cool in the African sunshine – if you’re an elephant


A herd of elephants pats their skin with a thick layer of mud and dust – the same way we apply sunscreen.

And with the scorching African heat shining down on them and a lack of rainfall, these elephants at Etosha National Park in Namibia wasted no time covering themselves.

The ‘dust bath’ is part of elephants’ daily routine after their morning bath. The thick mud helps keep their body temperature down and acts as a parasite deterrent.

An elephant tosses a trunk full of dirt onto its head, to help cool off under the baking hot African sun

The ‘dust bath’ is part of a daily routine that elephants practice after a morning bathe

A cloud of dust forms around the elephant, as it uses its trunk to scoop of the rain-deprived soil

Photographer Peter Delaney found elephants leaving a waterhole nearby and then captured them applying their all-natural suncream.

Mr. Delaney, from Avoca in County Wicklow, Ireland, watched the elephants after they bathed and drank their morning water at a waterhole.

The 47-year-old wanted to ‘create unique photos and capture the essence of my subject.’

And it’s been an ‘uncomfortable week,’ waiting for the perfect opportunity to photograph iconic animals.

Photographer Peter Delaney tracked the elephants after they spent the morning bathing at a waterhole

He said: ‘But on my last day, all the elements needed for these images came together.

‘The image of a four-meter tall, four-tonne elephant lifting its trunk full of red Kalahari dust and in a liquid motion sprayed on its forehead is my favorite. ”

Grassland predominates in the national park, where elephants roam alongside ostriches, giraffes, antelopes, and lions.

Usually lightly red, the pale yellow grass shows how arid the soil has been outside seasonal rain.