Sinking in the mud is fun for young and old elephants. But when you’re still just a kid, trying to stand up again in all that adorable slippery when playtime trumps a mammoth effort.
Just look at this adorable baby. After fig.h.ting a losing battle to get himself back on his feet, which saw him land unnaturally in his rear, there was only one thing for it – make a trunk call to mom.
The baby’s trumpet for help was captured in these photos taken during the downpour during the rainy season at the Maasai Mara game reserve in Kenya.
The African elephant thought to be between six months or a year old, overturned and became increasingly clumped in the mud as he bumped around.
But it wasn’t long before his mother came to the rescue, moving closer so he could take shelter under her giant frame before making sure that his next attempt to get up – using his legs for support in wet conditions – was successful.
Eventually, he was upright again, and they were able to move off together – but it wasn’t long before she sat down for a relaxing bath and much-deserved rest.
Wildlife photographer Andy Rouse captured a series of captivating images while tracking migrating wildebeest.
“We saw a herd of elephants get through it pretty quickly,” he said. ‘When it’s raining, they know areas that are about to flood and are really good for mud wallowing.
“They slid right down into this wetland and loved it. They were in the wall for about 30 minutes. They love to play in the mud, and applying dirt to their skin also protects them from the sun and insect bites.
“But for young children, getting up again can be a nightmare. This process took about five minutes. He managed it after finding shelter between his mother’s legs. Her legs gave him something solid to stand up.
“It was hilarious to watch, and also a very beautiful and extraordinary experience for everyone.”
African elephants, which live up to 70 years in the wild, are slightly bigger than their Asian cousins and are the largest land animals on Earth.
Giving birth is a serious commitment for elephants. Female elephants typically give birth to one calf every two to four years after being 22 months pregnant, a pregnancy period longer than any other mammal.
So if it takes a few more minutes to get the junior out of the mud, little wonder mom will be happy to wait.