Posted by barb on Jan 13, 2012 in Around DC, Pictures |

Remember that Gin-GRR-bread contest that I won? The prize was a behind-the-scenes tour of the Elephant Barn at the National Zoo.

Last Saturday I got to cash in my prize. Sweetie even came out from MN for the tour! I also brought Andrew, JD, Laurie and their kids, Lorna, Stef and Doug. We had to get to the zoo early, but Marie, the elephant manager and our host, met us and brought us up to the Mezzanine.

Our elephant barn host - one of the elephant keepers, Marie

When we arrived, Kandula was getting his bath.
Kandula gets a bath!Footprints

The ladies, Shanthi and Ambika, were eating in another stall. They also were throwing hay onto their backs – apparently back-hay is very tasty:
Back straw is the bestBack scratches

Marie answered many of our questions. The kids wanted to ask about the elephant poo – how much do they poo in a day? Turns out, each time they poo, it weighs as much as a 7-year-old boy!

Next up for a bath was Ambika – Marie had to leave us, as she was in charge of bathing Ambika. So, Becky came up to answer our questions and supervise us.

That's a big scrub-brush!

After her bath, Ambika went to the “sandbox” stall, and started flinging sand on her still-wet back. Turns out this is good for their skin, because as the sand dries and falls off, it helps to exfoliate their skin.

Flinging sandFlinging sand

We stayed in the barn for an hour and a half! It sure didn’t seem like it. After the tour, we walked around much of the rest of the zoo. We even checked out the elephants again – we just hadn’t gotten enough! Oh, and the keepers were out in the yard, and recognized our group…I’m sure that was a good thing, and not because we were terribly annoying 🙂

Elephant reflection

The rest of my pictures from the tour are here: Elephant Barn Tour on Flickr.


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