Elephants are known for their intelligence and grace, but like humans, they take time to outgrow their youthful clumsiness.
While newborn elephants can stand and walk within hours of being born—a crucial ability for nursing—they require significantly more time to master the use of their trunks.
These versatile appendages on their faces serve multiple purposes, but it can take almost a year before young elephants genuinely grasp how to utilize them effectively.
Watch the video at the end.
The featured image, captured at Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe, shows an elephant calf awkwardly bending down to drink water using its mouth directly.
Typically, elephants siphon water through their trunks and squirt it into their mouths, which helps them avoid this vulnerable position. However, this young elephant still learns and resorts to the only method it knows.
The KOTA Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about African elephants, explains that newborn elephants initially lack control over their trunks, causing them to flop around as they experiment with different techniques.
In a video from South Africa’s Kruger National Park, a baby elephant attempts to mimic the drinking habits of adult elephants.
After valiantly trying to use its trunk, the calf eventually gives up and adopts the technique shown in the photo above.
By the time they reach one year of age, elephants usually master the trunk-drinking method. As adults, their trunks can siphon up to 10 gallons of water per minute and hold as much as two gallons at once.
Watch the video below: