Eastern Cape, S Africa

DM

Youngsters are known for enjoying playing around with each other - and these baby elephants are no different.

These incredible pictures show the unusual moment when four baby elephants weighing up to 300kg each decided to pile on top of each other.

The elephants had been drinking water on the banks of the Ghwarrie Dam in Addo Elephant National Park, Eastern Cape, South Africa, as their mother cooled off.

But just like their human counterparts, the youngsters’ love of play soon turned into a right old rough and tumble - much to the annoyance of the herd’s matriarch.

After a period of them piling on top of one another, she swiftly marched over to break up the fun before the poor baby elephant at the bottom was injured.

The moment was spotted by Ayesha Cantor, 46, during a day trip. She said: ‘We had been sitting at the dam for over an hour, watching the various family groups coming in to drink and play and then moving off.

‘We had just decided to move off when I just happened to glance back for a last look and quickly called out for my husband to stop again when I saw the two youngsters seemingly deep in conversation - one more pic turned into the elephant bundle.

‘I’ve heard and seen two babies briefly playing but never four and over such a long period of time as this.

‘Just like children, they test their boundaries. Play teaches them to know their boundaries and how to behave within their family group.

‘It looked to us exactly how humans play, so playful and so fun. Amazing to see wild animals enjoying themselves in this way.’

And Mrs Cantor admitted she wouldn’t have wanted to be the elephant at the bottom of the 900kg pile, adding:

‘Having been near the bottom of a human pile-on you can be sure I was very pleased not to be that baby Ellie at the bottom of this particular one.’