Summer has just arrived here in southern Africa, bringing with it an exciting flurry of life, the promise of rain and, of course, warmer temperatures. In Mozambique’s Zinave National Park, it is not uncommon for temperatures to reach the low 40 degrees Celsius in summer, which results in many of the park’s birds and animals seeking refuge during the heat of the day. For some, that might mean hanging out under a shady tree, but for others, like these white rhinos, it sometimes means a cool-off in a mud bath.
The rhino protection unit, tasked with keeping a careful eye over these recently reintroduced two-horned mammals, often spots the crash hanging out at the local waterhole, soaking for hours in the cool mud. The mud then sticks to their skin, giving them a rather unique look, but they, however, proudly strut their stuff.
Benefits of a Mud Bath
It is not uncommon to come across animals such as buffalo, rhino or warthog wallowing in some mud. This is because the added layer of moisture helps to keep them cool during the warm summer months. Apart from this, mud baths also have some other major benefits.
Having a layer of mud on their skin helps to prevent sunburn. Yes, you read that right; animals can get sunburnt too! Once the mud has dried, it hardens and acts as a parasite-removing treatment. Rhinos will rub the mud off against a tree or termite mound to help scratch the hard-to-reach places. Rhinos tend to reuse these same ‘rubbing posts’ as they are referred to, and so there will often be a polished branch or tree visible near their favourite watering hole.
Settling In Just Fine
Peace Parks Foundation and partners recently introduced a founder population of both black and white rhinos to Zinave National Park, which you can find out more about here, and it’s clear to see that they are settling into their new home just fine!