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Elephant Kisses

Posted on November 10 2017

Have you ever encountered anything as perplexing as an elephant in motion? They are gigantic creatures, even compared to other large animals, yet my first thought as I saw an elephant walking up a Phuket, Thailand road was “how graceful.” Me, the hubbs, and our friends were instantly taken aback by the site and wanted to have an experience with elephants before leaving the island. We had heard of taking elephant rides, but while researching, our friend found an opportunity with Elephant Care to go care for the elephants in the rainforest instead.

Okay, so first up was a little education and feeding. We learned about the elephants’ diets and got a better understanding of just how much these huge animals ate. The answer…… a lot! They basically eat all day long.  We starting feeding an elephant named Natalia and after she was nice and full (at least for that moment), we gave her a mud bath. Now, this is not the spa experience that you’re probably thinking of. We put our hands in the mud that she was standing (and probably pooping) in and started to rub it on her skin. It cooled her body down right away…and got her to at least think about letting us hang with her for the day.

 

Next up was time for her bath. We walked over to the river and were given brushes to use to scrub off the mud. Natalia walk into the water and found a nice spot where she could sit for her bath. We walked into the river and right up to her. I have to say that at first, we were afraid. The water was deep (probably full of creatures that I would freak out about, had I known that they were there) and it was very clear that this was entire situation was only happening at all because Natalia was allowing us to get up in her personal space. As we washed her, she grew more comfortable with us (not quite BFF’s, but getting closer). I poured water in her ear to try to wash out the mud, but it wasn’t very effective. I brushed very softly in order to try to remove the dirt from the hairs in her ears. Just as I did that, she completely relaxed and closed her eyes so that we could get those cleaned up too. That was the move that sealed the deal. She looked so happy and it made us feel so good to have been able to take care of her for a little while.

 

Elephant Care was amazing and we left feeling like we’d become friends with Natalia (the elephant). I hope that the saying “an elephant never forgets is true” because Natalia made her mark on us. We’ll never forget spending that day with her. Hopefully, she’ll remember us too.

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