A pink elephant goes for an afternoon swim with its mother and herd, and despite its unique color, the herd passionately cares for it.
“It was late afternoon when we headed down to the river to see what we could find. Expecting to find regulars at the water’s edge, cooling down from the day’s heat, we were pleasantly surprised to find a rather unique little creature. A pink elephant!”
Before we delve into why this elephant calf has pink skin, let’s talk about elephants and their skin. Elephants have very thick skin, which can be up to 2.5 centimeters thick in some areas. Their skin is also very tough and rough, which helps protect them from predators and the harsh African sun.
The reason for the calf’s pink skin is due to a condition called leucism. Leucism is a genetic mutation that causes a loss of pigmentation in an animal’s skin, hair, or feathers. This loss of pigmentation can result in white, pale, or patchy skin, hair, or feathers, as well as other abnormalities.
Meet the pink elephant baby!
Leucism has caused its skin to have a pinkish hue. This is because without the pigmentation, the calf’s skin is more translucent, and the blood vessels and capillaries underneath the skin are more visible, giving it a pinkish tint.
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“The little calf, despite its strange appearance, seemed to have been fitting in with the rest of the herd very well. This particular afternoon, the entire herd entered the river to play and cool down. The little elephant, in spite of its tiny size, joined in on the fun.”
While this condition is quite rare, it’s not harmful to the elephant calf. In fact, it’s believed that the pink skin may even provide some protection from the harsh African sun. Because the skin is more translucent, it allows more light to pass through, which can help regulate the calf’s body temperature.