Males in musth usually win fights over males that are not in musth, so musth is important in the reproductive success of males. Musth is a natural and healthy phenomenon in adult bull elephants. Bulls on the other hand rarely form herds and live a fairly solitary life. Musth, and the Challenges of Caring for Bull Elephants. In India, where the Mahouts people have elephants for labor, it’s common for the owners to chain them to prevent dangerous activity.. Only male elephants go into musth. When a bull elephant is in musth, does the interaction with care staff change? Females can detect signals to determine if a male is in musth. Unusual word, isnt’ it?! For a typical mature elephant schedule is something like: In their natural habitats, mature bull elephants tend to show these three stages properly. Musth, and the Challenges of Caring for Bull Elephants. Interactions can be extremely dangerous for both the elephant and caretaker, so extreme care must be taken. During this period bull elephants secrete a significant amount of a hormone-rich substance called temporin from their temporal glands on either side of their foreheads, which impacts their behaviour. ©Wildlife SOS, 2020. They are given nutritious green fodder and vegetables everyday along with vitamin and mineral supplements in a concentrate bolus of horse gram porridge and jaggery. Musth is a condition in bull (male) elephants characterized by a large rise in testosterone levels which causes bull elephants to get very aggressive. Making a rumbling noise through their mouth, known as  ‘. Follow us for instant access to all of our best safari & wildlife content: Frequent urination, with a steady trickle down the back of their legs. A young male may only be in musth for a few days. The 20 best malaria-free safari destinations, The 6 greatest animal migrations in Africa. That behavior parallels the annual period of heightened aggression and hormone-fueled jousting for mates in modern bull elephants. This means that females are often not able to mate whilst a male is in musth, or are able to mate whilst a male is not in musth. 4. It is generally not advisable to work with a bull elephant in free contact (i.e. This is almost always an attempt at intimidation and should be interpreted as such – those new to elephant behaviour should take this as a sign to move out of the male’s way. Bull elephants enter into musth each winter due to a number of physiological reasons. Elephant musth is a term referring to a bull elephant’s biological condition. The bulls are carefully monitored by the vets and keepers to check for any changes in behaviour that could indicate mental health or physical problems. Musth causes bull elephants to become sexually hyperactive and attempt to show their dominance over other male elephants. Physically they have secretions from their temporal glands between their eyes and ears, and often have continual trickles of urine down the backs of their legs. Did any of these facts on how bull elephants experience musth surprise you, or any relevant musth facts you think we should add? Caring for bull elephants is extremely difficult and costly, and our staff must exercise extreme caution for the safety of all involved. Because of this, these bulls are often starved, tightly bound in chains until they’re unable to move, and severely beaten. Standoffs and fights with other bull elephants. The reasons are: Female elephants don’t have musth in their lifecycle. An elephant in musth shows excessive aggression and behaves oddly, often indulging in fights with other bull elephants. The challenges of this compassionate care are increased due to long-term physical and psychological abuse these bulls suffered before their rescue and journey to Wildlife SOS. Sadly, this completely natural behaviour in male elephants makes them an added target of abuse, neglect and mistreatment in captivity. Musth also occurs in animals in captivity, which is a problem for zoos, of course. Ranger goes backwards in order to give Norman (that's the elephants name) space. Male elephants don’t experience musth until they are around 30 years old. Bulls at Wildlife SOS continue on their regular diet when they are in musth. A sticky substance called temporin is also secreted from the sides of the elephant’s head. During musth, the temporal glands swell in size, and its thought this causes acute pain to the elephant’s eyes. Many of the rescued bull elephants at Wildlife SOS, like Ramu, show signs of significant past injuries. 2. Musth is a periodic condition that affects bull elephants. In order to do this, our vets work with the bulls in what is known as “protected contact,” where a specially designed barrier separates the vet and the elephant. Musth comes from a Persian word with the same pronunciation – ‘mast’, which literally means drunk or inebriated. The Call of Pheromones - Part II Part I of the current article has covered the basic research studies on pheromones. Warning - thread Angry Bull Elephant In Musth Tramples Trainer (Slightly Graphic Aftermath) might contain content that is not suitable for all ages. Musth is an annual hormonal cycle that naturally occurs in adult male elephants. That all changes during mating season when they come into musth. All rights reserved. Musth is a condition unique to elephant bulls which entails a dramatic rise in testosterone levels within the bull’s biological system. In the musth period a bull produces 40 to 60 times more of testosterone (male sex hormone) than in the non-musth time. Our handling of bulls in musth is done with care, the latest research, medical techniques and teamwork to ensure the safety of the elephant and our staff. For some bull elephants, it reaches 140 times higher than normal. It becomes hot and its behavior changes to become aggressive and unpredictable as a result of the hormonal upsurge. High-energy, sugar-rich foods like sweet fruits are avoided while a bull is in musth. November 1, 2020 | By dw. Only males elephants over 30 years old go into musth – usually during winter – for several physiological reasons. SBI PO Mains 2016 English Question Paper Direction (1-5): In each of the following questions a short passage is given with one of the lines in the passage missing and Musth is a period among adult male elephants, (over 15-20 years old) sometimes referred to as similar to male deer's "Rot". In Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks, g… Let’s look at them now: When an elephant is about to enter musth, the testosterone levels inside its body rises significantly – up to 60 times its natural level. Musth typically lasts between 2-3 months and occurs in three stages – a 3-4 week premusth condition, a 4-5 week peak musth, and a 4-5 week post-musth condition. Trying to mate with females – whether they are sexually active or not. An elephant in musth is looking for a mate with such singularity of purpose that he hardly takes the time to eat or drink. Bulls in musth spend much more time around female herds than non-musth bulls². Bull elephants reach maturity at about 20 years. An adult bull elephant is the largest animal walking this planet, getting to 6 tons and in some cases even more. If wild bulls meet they can have mock battles to establish dominance, but once they’re in musth these battles get more serious and can even result in death. For young male elephants, musth happens over the course of a few days or weeks, while musth in older males can last for months (know how long elephants live for?). It is not uncommon for a bull elephant in musth to kill a mahout, destroy property, or even harm themselves or other elephants. Always expect the unexpected when on safari. with direct access to the elephant) if the bull is in musth because he is prone to aggression and can be easily irritated. For weeks or even months, they become aggressive, and testosterone-rich liquid dribbles from glands next to their eyes. Bull elephants go into musth for several reasons. Part II will attempt to make some sense More recent usage of musth refers to a state of enjoyment or pleasure. It’s a regular sight to see Holly, Kalpana, Karma and Zara in and around their swimming pool together! Since many of our bull elephants are rescued from terrible conditions, they require constant medical attention and are undergoing regular treatment for which the mahouts and vets need access to them even when they are in musth. Note: to turn off these warnings you need to set the 'safe mode' to OFF (on the top right) The family unit is led by a matriarch who at times also leads the kinship group. Modern-day male elephants, about once a year, enter a phase called “musth” when their thoughts turn to mating and their testosterone levels skyrocket to as much as 60 times normal. At the same time I spot elephants on the opposite side of the road and out comes a big bull elephant very clearly in musth... We came across to the EcoTraining camp in Selati to camp-sit for a couple of days over New Year. The normal safeguard is when an elephant in musth encounters a bigger bull elephant, he immediately drops out of musth as he knows his testosterone cannot compete. Musth (pronounced “must”) is an annual hormonal cycle that naturally occurs in adult male bull elephants. By clicking on CONTINUE you confirm that you are 18 years and over. The presence of such a high amount of sexual hormone inside the elephant’s body heats it up from its usual 35.9 °C. — Popular Science, "How much acid should you give an elephant? In simple words, the swelling of their glands makes a bull elephant mentally frustrated and physically agitated. More specifically, an elephant in musth shows some or all of these signs: Elephant in musth in Kruger National Park. Musth depends on three key biological events. This mistreatment can last for months, and begin again the following year, causing lasting psychological harm. Other periods are non-musth. Musth (pronounced “must”) is an annual hormonal cycle that naturally occurs in adult male bull elephants. The condition can last anywhere from a few days, to as long as several months. In this article, we’re going to explore exactly what musth is, what causes it, and what its impact is on elephants. How does Wildlife SOS change these elephant’s diets? The testosterone levels in musth elephant can be on average 60 times more than in the same elephant at other times to specific people, the testosterone levels can even reach as much as 140 times normal. Yes, many elephant owners will starve their elephants to prevent them from going into musth or reduce the natural behaviours. How are medical treatments performed on bull elephants in musth? Once established, these strong bonds make planning for living spaces and facilities much more flexible. Musth is a biological condition affecting all adult male elephants (also known as bull elephants) that occurs for 2-3 months each year. You may have heard about elephant musth before, and may even know that it relates in some way to bull elephants and mating… But there’s much more to it than that. Scientists call the yearly period musth. During this period bull elephants secrete a significant amount of a hormone-rich substance called temporin from their temporal glands on either side of their foreheads, which impacts their behaviour. On rare occasions when a bull elephant is particularly aggressive and combative but still requires medical treatment, a stainless steel medical restraint can temporarily be attached to the elephant’s ankle to limit movement. It causes heightened aggression and a surge in reproductive hormones. Their testosterone increases significantly, it has huge impacts on their behavior and they exhibit some physiological changes including draining from their temporal gland on the side of their face as well as continuous urine dribbling down their back legs. Please do join in using the comments section below! In the wild, at about 13-15 years of age bulls will leave the herd and live on their own. There are three stages of musth. Nelspruit - Stay away from an elephant bull in musth. Free access to water is extremely important, to allow the bull to cool down, stay hydrated and expend extra energy. This puts the elephant under the impression that they are tied while allowing them access to wander freely in their living space, and gives caretakers the ability to control a possible dangerous situation involving unpredictable behaviour. There is a three weeks pre-musth-condition, about one month high-musth, and one post-musth condition. You Do Not Want to Mess With the Musth. The core of elephant society is the family unit, which comprises several adult cows, their daughters of all ages and their sons of prepubertal age. Please log in again. Bull elephants, particularly those in musth (see below), sometimes drape their trunks over their tusks. Ramu’s misshapen back leg was likely broken when he was bound while in musth, then left to heal on its own. In musth, an elephant starts to behave oddly and shows aggression towards male elephants and other animals. The protected contact wall combined with target training helps our vets work with the elephants even when they are in musth, in a manner that is safe for both the vets and the elephant. If a bull elephant goes into musth, it is generally considered a sign that he is healthy. Musth or periodic condition in elephants, characterized by highly aggressive behavior and accompanied by a large rise in reproductive hormones. Musth is generally associated with the elephant mating season, but it’s a little more complex than that. During musth, middle-aged and elderly male elephants roam the savanna—spending little time eating or resting—to mate with as many females as they can. After logging in you can close it and return to this page. Sometimes, they are seen crying or digging the ground to subdue their physical pain. The login page will open in a new tab. We as guides need to be able to recognise the signs of a bull that is in musth because when an elephant enters this stage it makes him a lot more aggressive. A bull Asian elephant can weigh up to 15,000 pounds (6,810 kg), so their behavioural changes during musth can be extremely dangerous to themselves, other bulls, and even female elephants. Their temporal glands become swollen, from where a strong smelling fluid, rich of testosterone, runs down on their cheeks. Most people have heard the cliche about "a bull in a china shop," but an elephant in a basement is even more disastrous. This is done to protect both the elephant and medical staff during these challenging but necessary interactions. Normally, during this time people isolate elephants so that they don’t harm other elephants or people. Physical and behavioral changes are characterised by as much as a 100x increase in testosterone levels, highly aggressive behaviour, secretion of a hormone-rich substance called temporin from glands on either side of the elephant’s head, and a steady trickle of urine down the back legs of the elephant. And that’s your lot for the elephant musth. During this period, testosterone can increase to over 100 times normal levels. Musth is a natural and healthy phenomenon in adult bull elephants. A full grown elephant bull in musth is often an awe-inspiring sight, as he muscles his testosterone-fueled way through the mating hierarchy. Female elephants generally form tight bonds and herds, and are led by a matriarch. The condition can last anywhere from a few days, to as long as several months. Males need to be in good condition and eat an increased amount of food to be able to undergo musth. Physical and behavioral changes are characterised by as much as a 100x increase in testosterone levels, highly aggressive … Smart ranger doesn't want to provocate. As Living on Earth’s Explorer in Residence Mark Seth Lender tells us, when that happens bull elephants can become a force of nature. Is the elephant safe to be around? Group size varies between sites and at different seasons. 1. It is from these glands that a bull elephant in musth secretes a thick tar-like chemical called temporin, which leads to an increase in their aggression. For this reason, bull elephants in captivity are generally kept in solitary living spaces requiring individual pools, fencing, shelters, treatment areas, fresh water access and exercise enrichments. Such was the case of a walk I undertook … Safari guide Rhodes Bezuidenhout of Shangani Trails recounts a trip with clients to the Makuleke concession in Kruger National Park when they came face to face with a bull elephant in musth.. That’s the warning from elephant expert Dr Michelle Henley of Save the Elephants, who has advised tourists to … On each side of the male elephants’ forehead is a gland called the temporal gland. To subdue this intense pain the bull elephant shows aggression towards all other animals near him. As far as I know, this phenomenon occurs with elephant bulls only – particularly with Asian elephant bulls. It lasts for up to three months. Sometimes a light jute “drag rope” can be tied to the leg of a very aggressive bull elephant in musth to create a psychological effect of being controlled without actually being restrained. When on foot in Big Five country, sometimes circumstances dictate events no matter how many precautions one takes. In the animal world, it is specifically applied to bull elephants, where it refers to the overexcited behaviour they exhibit during their musth period. This results in a strong desire to mate. Elephant in musth gets aggressive. However, a female elephant’s sexual activity is not linked with seasons, rather she is able to mate whenever her body gets heated. Six tons of elephant coming at each other is totally terrifying Musth is a form of honest advertising of a male's sexual availability and condition. For bull elephants in captivity, musth can be particularly challenging for both elephant and caretaker. Typically, these bulls are gentle giants, who reside at the edges of the herd. Extreme care must be taken around bull elephants in musth, and interaction should be avoided unless necessary. An elephant in musth can be dangerous both to human beings and other elephants and cause widespread damage to crops and property. For captive elephants that can’t be released back into the wild, this allows them to share facilities, living spaces and food in harmony. Some cruel owners starve their bull elephants in musth to reduce their aggression. Recent Examples on the Web The researchers were ostensibly trying to incite a state called musth: a period of intense aggression in bull elephants where testosterone spikes. Bull elephant secretes from its temporal gland. The bull’s walks are limited but he continues to undergo target training and positive reinforcement training in his enclosure. How is the living space for male bull elephants different from that of female elephants? Musth is a biological condition affecting all adult male elephants (also known as bull elephants) that occurs for 2-3 months each year. Swelling of their temporal glands (between their eyes and ears). In domesticated or zoo environments musth is often very irregular in its appearance and length. It best describes the hormonal condition that all elephant bulls will experience annually, once they have … Two or more family units that have close ties was termed a 'kinship group' by Iain Douglas-Hamilton who observed African bush elephants for 4.5 years in Lake Manyara National Park. If a bull elephant goes into musth, it is generally considered a sign that he is healthy. Females live in … The higher levels of testosterone will also likely result in the bull becoming more aggressive … Musth is the Sanskrit word for intoxicated and is pronounced `moost’ but has been translated into English as `must’. Normally docile elephants have been known to become uncontrollably enraged, harming caretakers, facilities, and even other elephants, so safe management practices are critical. We went out for a short drive on the first afternoon to … Digging their tusks into the ground, to deal with the pain from their glands. Musth typically lasts between 2-3 months and occurs in three stages – a 3-4 week pre musth condition, a 4-5 week peak musth, and a 4-5 week post- musth condition. Musth – mostly misunderstood. And our staff must exercise extreme caution for the elephant and caretaker to elephant which. Swelling of their glands makes a bull elephant in musth, and testosterone-rich liquid dribbles glands! Bulls on the other hand rarely form herds and live on their regular diet when they seen. Many of the hormonal upsurge musth can be easily irritated herds and on. Even months, they become aggressive, and its behavior changes to become sexually hyperactive attempt... Comments section below the bull elephant goes into musth each winter due a. This mistreatment can last anywhere from a few days more flexible in domesticated or zoo environments musth often! Next to their eyes go into musth or periodic condition that affects elephants. 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